One of the biggest challenges the underwriting industry continuously faces is the need to manage fluctuating workload volumes caused by unexpected leaves and absences (vacation, maternity, illness, resignation and retirement), year-end volumes, sales campaigns, new product launches and peak periods that interrupt the existing flow of business.

The Business Case: An Innovative Solution to Augment Fluctuating Case Volumes

As a forward-thinking and innovative company, Industrial Alliance was looking for a flexible approach to augment anticipated and unplanned fluctuations in workload demands for their underwriting team. While Industrial Alliance was using LOGiQ³’s underwriting services to handle sudden increases in work volume, they were proactively seeking a reliable, yet flexible solution that they could utilize consistently at anytime.

The Must-Haves: Quality Underwriting and Resource Flexibility

Industrial Alliance required an underwriting solution that would:

1. Provide access to high quality underwriters, allowing them to continue delivering excellent service and customer experience 
2. Offer flexibility to dial up or down according to the business in need of processing

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About Industrial Alliance Insurance and Financial Services Inc

Founded in 1892, iA Financial Group offers a comprehensive range of life and health insurance products, savings and retirement plans (RRSP, TFSA, etc.), mutual and segregated funds, securities, auto and home insurance, mortgages and car loans as well as a host of other financial products and services.
 
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The Solution: On-demand Subscription-based Model

Understanding Industrial Alliance’s commitment to high quality underwriting and need for on-demand resources, LOGiQ³ proposed the Underwriting Subscription Model. The model provides Industrial Alliance with a skilled pool of underwriters that are trained on their business, allowing them to tap into underwriting support at any time – daily, weekly or monthly. Ultimately, this model allows them to supplement and extend their resources to handle expected and unforeseen business fluctuations, while sustaining their excellent customer service standards.

Industrial Alliance Quote

“The ability to increase or decrease Underwriters as required across the country is an Underwriting Manager’s dream.”

-Jane Marto F.L.M.I, Chief Underwriter, Industrial Alliance Financial Group

The Implementation: Philosophy, Technical and Systems

 

Stage 1: Getting to know the client

While LOGiQ³ had previously supported Industrial Alliance with underwriting services, LOGiQ³ would now be operating as an extension of their team through the Underwriting Subscription Model. Therefore, this phase of implementation involved an in-depth understanding of the client’s products, philosophy, guidelines, procedures, metrics, SLAs and any other key onboarding information. This phase was critical for determining productivity expectations so that the output of LOGiQ³’s underwriters were consistent to that of Industrial Alliance.

Stage 2: Technical training

In addition to understanding Industrial Alliance’s philosophies and guidelines, LOGiQ³’s underwriters were also trained on their tools and technology. This took place on-site in the client’s environment, allowing LOGiQ³’s underwriters to gain a full appreciation of Industrial Alliance’s systems and how to utilize them effectively once off-site.

Stage 3: Full integration

Finally, once the training was complete, the client provided access to their underwriting systems, including laptops and email addresses, so that LOGiQ³’s underwriters could seamlessly function as a remote extension of Industrial Alliance’s own internal team. The in-depth training (both technical and non-technical) is essential to the Underwriting Subscription Model. The Subscription Model includes one week of on-site training at the client’s office to ensure that LOGiQ³’s underwriters are well-adapted to the client's processes and technology. This eliminates the need to re-train underwriters when extra resources are needed.

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“One team in particular had been lagging for quite a few months due to retirements and not being able to hire new staff. However, they were brought up to the same level as the rest of the teams, thanks to a blitz by the LOGiQ³ underwriters.”

-Jane Marto F.L.M.I, Chief Underwriter, Industrial Alliance Financial Group

The Results:

Seamless remote extension of the client

Since implementing the Underwriting Subscription Model, Industrial Alliance has been able to benefit from extra resources without added management responsibilities. While Industrial Alliance has gained a remote team, there are no additional supervision obligations required. Instead, the daily workflow, time service and metrics are managed and closely monitored by LOGiQ³’s Director of Underwriting, Darlene McFadden. She communicates regularly with Industrial Alliance’s Chief Underwriter to ensure SLAs are met and suitable resources are available.

Deliver excellent customer service and experience

With access to a pool of highly qualified underwriters that are trained on their business, Industrial Alliance doesn’t have to compromise on the quality, time service and productivity delivered to their clients.

Reduce the need to re-train or hire new underwriters

  • Instead of having to hire and train new underwriters during peak volumes of business, Industrial Alliance can access the pool of LOGiQ³ underwriters who are trained on their systems, policies and procedures. The average time required for LOGiQ³’s underwriters to be fully trained in the client’s environment is within one month of contract execution.
  • With the pool of resources available, Industrial Alliance’s teams are always up-to-date and team leaders don’t have to worry about absenteeism since  they know they will be covered.
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“LOGiQ³ is easy to work with. They always have an underwriter to step in to help at short notice and they provide excellent service and understanding of our philosophy”

-Jane Marto F.L.M.I, Chief Underwriter, Industrial Alliance Financial Group

Proactively manage fluctuating volumes of work

The open line of communication between LOGiQ³ and Industrial Alliance allows for effective redistribution of work within the LOGiQ³ team of underwriters. Industrial Alliance can increase or decrease the number of resources when there are sudden peaks or dips in caseload volume. If an underwriter receives a complex case (ex. large APS file), LOGiQ³ initiates the redistribution of work to align with the appropriate LOGiQ³ underwriter. This ensures that all the client’s work still gets completed and eliminates the need to require internal underwriters to work overtime. 

Keep remote underwriters in the loop

Industrial Alliance actively keeps LOGiQ³ underwriters in the loop by sharing any system, guidelines or philosophy updates with LOGiQ³'s Director of Underwriting, who then disseminates the information to LOGiQ³ underwriters. Having Darlene McFadden as a ‘one stop contact’ gives Industrial Alliance the confidence that the right information will reach the underwriters working on their business and their remote resources are operating the same way as their internal team.

What’s Next?

Industrial Alliance initially signed up for a test period to utilize the LOGiQ³ Underwriting Subscription Model. Upon experiencing the value and flexibility of accessing extra resources and the ease of doing business with LOGiQ³ , they have extended the contract on their subscription period. 

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“There would be days when we were falling behind in production because of an increase in New Business due to agent contests, underwriters on holiday etc.. Working with LOGiQ³, we no longer had to ask the underwriters to work extra time to catch up on the backlog. All we had to do was ask LOGiQ³ for 1, 2 or 3 underwriters for the coming week.”

-Jane Marto F.L.M.I, Chief Underwriter, Industrial Alliance Financial Group

Best Practices Checklist for Successful On-demand Underwriting Subscription-based Model

Objectives for underwriting on-demand will vary depending on the client's needs and internal operations. Here is a best practice checklist to achieve a successful strategic partnership:

  • Develop clear guidelines on the cases that are retained by the client and the cases that are handled by LOGiQ³.
  • Ensure the technical teams from both parties are in communication well in advance of the go-live date to safeguard against technical barriers prior to the transition period. 
  • Set up clear SLAs (service level agreements) and confirm that all parties understand the service and timeline expectations. Both parties need to sign off on the processes prior to the start of the project to foster a successful partnership. 
  • Define communication, support and escalation processes. A direct line of communication is critical to resolve issues and provide necessary updates, so that LOGiQ³ can provide the client with feedback and reporting in a timely and constructive manner. 
  • The client needs to provide LOGiQ³ with the training and documents required to do their job well and share their culture, philosophies, and relevant goals and objectives. 
  • Be committed to building a strong relationship based on trust and open communication.
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