Accurate, Smooth Renewals Require A Modern, Tech-Driven Solution
Unfortunately, collecting and managing this information has been a painful and time consuming process. The problem is caused by the large volume of exposures, multiple exposure types, numerous individuals providing this information, and a small team to consolidate them.
Historically, risk managers had little more than a patchwork of spreadsheets for gathering and disseminating important exposure data. When you add in the fact that those spreadsheets must be individually customized, sent out by email, collected in a timely manner and consolidated prior to forwarding to the carrier, it's clear the traditional method is difficult and challenging.
In order to solve this, some businesses choose to outsource the collection of their loss exposures but this tends to be an expensive alternative. Even the majority of these outsourced vendors still use the inefficient spreadsheet-based method.
Growing in popularity are new cost effective technology solutions. According to Joel Plofsky, Product Owner of the exposure collection tool at CS STARS, today's risk managers can use sophisticated web-based tools to take much of the time and pain out of this process. "Today, most risk management departments are working with scarce resources," Plofsky said. "So any tool that helps them work smarter, faster and more efficient has value."
In order to help risk managers, CS STARS offers a cloud-based exposure collection tool to easily administer and automate every step of the process. According to Plofsky, it provides integrated workflow tools to help streamline collection efforts, assign and communicate exposure requirements to collectors and track their progress.
"We designed this tool to increase accuracy," he said, noting that it offers options for copying prior year values, threshold alerts, documentation requirements, spreadsheet exports, and integrated reference content.
Plofsky added that while the concept of online values collection has been around for a while, CS STARS designed its solution from the ground up after gaining valuable feedback from risk managers.
"The key was offering a solution that takes the time and the pain out of the process," Plofsky said. "It is very simple. Emails go out to collectors with a link to the fill out the exposures. Then collectors fill out a very easy to use survey style questionnaire. Best of all, it's accessible from any computer with an Internet connection and browser."
This tool is integrated with the CS STARS' platform that ties exposure information to other risk management data, Plofsky said. For example, exposure data can be leveraged to run allocations, map property values against catastrophic events, and produce loss ratio reports. The advanced business intelligence reporting capabilities also offer real-time insight and support for delivering information that satisfies insurer reporting requirements. Furthermore risk managers can use reporting to analyze loss exposures to identify possible new loss prevention and loss reduction areas.
Phil Wotton, operations manager of insurable risk at BAE Systems, the global defence, aerospace and security company, explained that BAE Systems is using the CS STARS offering to collect exposure data -- such as headcount, payroll and asset values -- in support of its annual renewal of insurance policies at two different points of the year. In all, he said, more than 300 data items are captured in multiple currencies across 15 insurance coverages for its businesses worldwide.
"The reporting capabilities of the system are providing the outputs we need to analyze the changes in risk, understand the risk portfolio and present data in a format that can be included in market submissions," Wotton said.
Previously, BAE Systems used a different software product for renewal data collection, so its business contacts have been used to this process for some years. Wotton said, however, that BAE Systems deployed the CS STARS application as a vehicle to improve the data collection process and learn from previous frustrations.
"Users find the tool intuitive and easy to enter data," he said. "Training sessions have been as short as 15 minutes via teleconference."
Most importantly, he explained, the exploitation of the reporting capabilities also has enabled BAE Systems to present data back to the business to highlight irregularities and consequently drive up data quality.The CS STARS product has also enabled the company to integrate four separate systems into one, which removes the challenge of maintaining an ever-changing company hierarchy across multiple databases and trying to join differing data sets together.
Collecting data in a single integrated tool enables us to incorporate other processes, such as premium allocations, geographical risk mapping, auto alerts and notifications and dashboards," he said.
In addition, claim handling becomes easier as there is only one hierarchy of locations to control and this self-manages through the values collection process with businesses adding new properties and deactivating sites BAE Systems no longer occupies.
"The dashboard and reporting capabilities are strong and visually appealing, enabling complex reporting leading to more rapid analysis and improved data quality," he said. "Accurate data is essential to our renewal process and ensuring adequate risk mitigation measures are in place."
Finally, the ability to use sophisticated reporting tools and convert the data into insights or information, which tells the risk profile story to the underwriters, is critical to building insurer confidence and ensuring the risk is well understood and priced accordingly.
"With an organization the size of ours, it would be close to impossible to pull together data without using a tool such as STARS," Wotton said. "The stakeholder experience would be poor and the error rate high through the use of hundreds of spreadsheets in many different formats."
And that is right at the heart of why CS STARS created this solution, said Plofsky.
"Without a single, easy to use source, clients would lose the ability to understand risk through dashboards, geographical mapping and reporting," he said. "Our idea was to facilitate the entire risk management continuum, enabling risk management professionals to be innovative and proactive in assessing their exposures while protecting their people, assets and the bottom line."
(The above piece is part of our continuing Perspectives series designed to highlight key products and services to our readers. This paid-for Perspective was written and edited by Risk & Insurance®
on behalf of our marketing partner. Additional Perspectives can be found on our Web site at www.riskandinsurance.com/.)
March 1, 2013
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