When It Comes to Service, the Little Things Make a Big Difference

By Mo Tooker
Our industry continues to evolve at a rapid pace. Technology and innovation have created opportunities to enhance service and customer experience like never before. But in an era that’s driven to do more – to be better and faster – it’s critical not to let the little things fall by the wayside.

Speed Means Nothing Without Accuracy

The Hartford has taken the time year over year to interview and conduct research with our distribution partners in a variety of ways – surveys, focus groups, in depth interviews – to help us ensure we’re actively listening to where we’re doing well and where we have opportunities to improve. Across the board, our agents/brokers told us that errors in quotes and policies are an industry-wide issue.
We’ve taken that topic to heart and worked hard to improve not only the time it takes to issue quotes but also the processes and technology we can use to improve quality. We’re piloting a new quality review with some of our agency partners for quotes and issued policies to help them reduce the time and costs they’re spending to conduct their own reviews between the submission, quoting, binding and issuing processes. Our approach uses a combination of technology automation that allows our underwriters and account managers to clearly note even the slightest changes from the initial quote to submission and every update thereafter. The goal is to reduce errors and provide a higher quality output that takes work off the desks of our agents/brokers and makes it easier for them to get what they need for their clients with the highest degree of quality.

Responsiveness Is More Than a Courtesy

Beyond just the speed at which we conduct normal business operations are the seemingly simple tasks that make or break relationships. We’ve worked hard to simplify and streamline the day to day activities for our underwriters so they can focus their time on what matters most – partnering with our distribution partners to underwrite solutions that offer the right protection. Responding to questions, returning calls in a timely manner, and making the time to dialogue with our agents/brokers on the specialized expertise needed for certain accounts aren’t nice-to-have activities. They’re critical pieces in the process of creating the best outcomes for clients.
Taking that a step further though, we know our partners want to win. And we want to win together. We both want the best solutions, the right level of protection and best-in-class service for clients. Delivering on all of that starts with partnering on the right accounts. At The Hartford, we’re using data to help pinpoint the accounts where we believe we can win together, offering the right coverages and helping to create the best solutions for mid- to large-sized and specialty businesses. Our investments across third party data, predictive analytics, automated qualification, and an intuitive CRM experience for our underwriters continually increases our confidence when we tell an agent we want to pursue an opportunity.

Technology, Data & Analytics Must Work Together

With the speed of enhancements and opportunities that exist in our industry, the difference between those who succeed or fail is all about having the right resources, skillsets and scale to invest in innovation. This is a fascinating time where we can make choices on what really matters. A lot of effort has been placed on the more advanced technologies, but we can’t forget the basics. Data and analytics, whether home grown or from third parties, can work together to supplement processes and help make us more efficient. And as we gather more data, we can predict more about the potential for losses and where clients can invest to create safer environments for workers and customers, avoiding costly losses and litigation.
The Hartford’s claims team is putting data to use every day. We know that making better use of data and insights leads to better outcomes. We’re transforming how we use data, using root-cause analysis to identify all the factors that can impact a claim, whether biological, psychological, or social. We’ve analyzed and understand the direct insurance and non-insurance costs of having employees out of work, and we know that every day sooner we get employees back to work safely is money that our insureds save. So we’re committed to getting injured workers back to work safely but faster than the national average.
Avoiding claims in the first place is obviously even more ideal. We can help with that by using claims data and trends to inform opportunities to reduce losses. If there’s a trend in a certain location of a building where slip and falls occur, our risk engineering team can recommend solutions to help eliminate that risk. If our data is showing the same type of injuries occurring in a manufacturing setting, we can offer options to improve processes and create a safer environment.

Above All Else, Execution Matters

Providing exceptional service, whether to agents/brokers or customers, is the best way for a carrier to differentiate. While many are focused on high impact innovation or technology, sometimes getting the simple stuff right is even more challenging. I’m proud that our team at The Hartford cares about the little things just as much as the big ones and we’re driven to keep improving both. Consistency, responsiveness, sharing knowledge and expertise – it all matters. Building partnerships across underwriting, risk engineering, claims, service and our agents/brokers – that’s what differentiates and creates the best experiences for clients.

About the Author

Mo Tooker is head of Middle & Large Commercial for The Hartford.