Reclaiming time: How to streamline insurance underwriting with intelligent document processing

May 23, 2022 by Automation Hero

Underwriting is one of the most complex insurance processes. Here’s how intelligent automation makes it simple

With premiums already at record highs, insurance companies are under incredible pressure to increase profit, but they may not be able to achieve this through higher revenue. The best strategy is to control costs through improved efficiency and bring order to unruly systems and processes. Out of all the phases of policy initiation and management, underwriting is the most challenging to streamline because of its central role in mitigating risk, and the complex tasks involved in doing it effectively.

Risk aversion is one of the core principles of insurance. As a result, many companies stick with safe but slow and outdated legacy systems that involve time-consuming manual labor, rather than risk trying to implement a better solution that doesn’t deliver as promised. These systems often create disconnected customer databases that make underwriting processes even more challenging.

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Even worse, slow insurance application processes can cause customers to jump ship and switch to newer, technology-first insurers that provide ultra-fast approval times. The solution insurance providers need is automation technology powered by artificial intelligence to augment their processes and remain competitive. 

Intelligent document processing (IDP) is a new generation of automation technology that leverages AI to execute enterprise workflows more quickly. It’s what enables new “insure-tech” companies to process documents at high speeds. And legacy and traditional insurance providers don’t have to be left out of the digital revolution.

What is intelligent document processing (IDP)?

Intelligent document processing (IDP) has emerged as a critical part of an intelligent automation strategy. IDP technology was born out of the need for organizations to accurately extract data from documents. In essence, IDP leverages artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing (NLP) to effectively handle and oversee document-centric business processes.

Through the adoption of IDP, insurance companies can optimize heritage document processes involving large volumes of documents to reduce manual effort, enhance precision, and reach their digital transformation goals.

A notable advantage of IDP is its seamless integration capability with other automation tools like robotic process automation (RPA). This compatibility with existing technologies enables companies to enhance their current automation strategies, leading to improved overall efficiency and expanded operational scope.

Optical character recognition (OCR)

Another advantage of IDP for insurers is its compatibility with OCR (optical character recognition). OCR is the technology that can read text within documents the same way humans do. However, unlike humans, OCR can recognize characters, numbers, letters, and words — in any font or language.

As you might expect, the most significant impact of OCR is on manual data entry tasks. OCR speeds up this essential business process and makes it convenient to turn words from scanned PDFs or images into text that can be edited or copied without manual retyping.

Even with the limitations of legacy OCR technology, it can help organizations streamline the digitalization of unstructured documents. According to performance benchmarks, Automation Hero’s patent-pending Context-aware OCR is 68% more accurate than ABBY’s Flexicapture and delivers 281% greater accuracy in terms of handwriting recognition.

The benefits of intelligent document processing in insurance underwriting

Research by Deloitte found that 74% of insurance companies expect to increase spending on AI in 2023, and almost as many plan to further invest in data analytics, cloud storage, and mobile technology. This smart investment allows companies to change their bottom lines. These are some of the benefits of intelligent document processing in insurance underwriting:

Improved risk assessment and pricing

Any company that collects data has more opportunities to use AI than ever before. This explosion of data has given underwriters more information to consider while creating policies, but they need AI to effectively use it all. Underwriters can pull information from virtually any database in their system without the need to go hunting through files. All they have to do is request data through the platform. With organized information at their fingertips, they can develop more comprehensive and accurate risk profiles and price premiums accordingly.

Faster approval times

Convenient access to data also dramatically improves processing times. Without AI, workers expend much energy on wasteful tasks involved in calculations, research, and other aspects of decision making. With AI, underwriters can quickly complete their risk assessment checklists, and efficiently reach conclusions, reducing approval times to a fraction of the manual process.

Deeply customized offerings

Intelligent document processing in insurance lets underwriters work with incredibly granular customer data. This empowers providers to create products that fit every kind of need or risk profile to minimize rejections. And since so much work in the underwriting process is done automatically, insurers can offer these custom products without slowing down processing times or increasing operating costs.

Make a bigger impact with end-to-end intelligent automation

AI-powered platforms enable incredible speed and accuracy for underwriting, but its capabilities can benefit every aspect of an insurance company. Users should look for platforms that specialize in document processing to solve problems in customer service, application review, claims processing, and even cross-selling.

Through intelligent document processing platforms like Automation Hero’s Hero Platform_, users can leverage AI to quickly process common customer requests, with functions that can detect the intent of emails and route them to the correct departments, extract data, organize attachments, and more. Intelligent document processing platforms also serve as a kind of connective fabric between all the CRM, ERP, accounting, database, and point solutions used across departments, helping underwriters access more information from disparate sources more quickly and with greater accuracy.

Underwriting has long been one of the most challenging parts of the insurance industry, but AI can dramatically streamline processing times and improve profit. As tech-first insurers become more popular, and legacy companies automate to keep up with them, intelligent automation will become the norm.

In fact, companies are already using platforms like Automation Hero, a versatile enterprise automation platform that leverages AI to streamline every document process — including underwriting. Explore the possibilities yourself with a free product demo.

Unlock the intelligence in your documents with our AI-driven automation today

Learn how we helped Markerstudy reduce its claims processing time by 40%. Additionally, learn how we reduced total claim processing time by 80% for another multinational insurance partner — cutting down manual tasks from 10 minutes to just two minutes per claim.