Published on: 
October 18, 2023

Generative AI Makes Underwriting Joyful (Yes, Really)

5 min read

Over the past year, the world has had the opportunity to experiment with new LLM-powered generative AI platforms and discover how they might overcome longstanding business challenges. At Sixfold, saw the potential—and necessity—of applying gen AI in insurance underwriting.

Today, too many underwriters are overwhelmed with high-volume (but not necessarily high-value) tasks. They’re charged with collecting and synthesizing complex data from disparate sources, while subsequently acting as the key coordination points with agents and brokers.

Underwriters have exponentially more responsibilities but have been given only incrementally improved tools (at best). As a result, companies are hitting the inevitable limits of manual processes.

An automated underwriting system to free the underwriters

According to some recent data, underwriters spend almost half of their work lives on administrative activities. This reduced capacity leads to lost business and inevitably places downward pressure on Gross Written Premiums (GWPs).

We started Sixfold because we saw the opportunity for gen AI to free underwriters from that growing administrative weight. Think about it: what would you accomplish if you suddenly had 40% of your work-life back? Even better: what if the tasks you no longer had to do were the ones you liked least? All that excess administrative work is… work.

The role of underwriter has long since moved past just risk selection and pricing. As McKinsey frames it: modern underwriting requires “a comprehensive set of capabilities across hard and soft skills, qualitative judgments about future industry performance.” Machines handle numberwork and repetitive tasks better anyway, so let them have it and free humans to generate value using their subjective, uniquely human skill sets.

Underwriting should be a creative, multifaceted, and dare I say, even… joyful endeavor. I believe play a key role in this regard by empowering underwriters to focus on what they love most: making deals and closing business.

Generative AI, your new underwriting assistant

With gen AI, every underwriter can have their own virtual team of researchers and administrative assistants who know exactly what information the “boss” needs.

Guided by decades of collective industry experience, our platform collects and synthesizes data from third-party and proprietary sources, spots patterns, and summarizes risk in the insurer’s UW format—all using clear natural language.

Sixfold uses generative AI to present synthesized data using clear language.

The platform ingests and models each company's unique risk appetite, so it can surface relevant information and accelerate UW decisioning. Sixfold highlights application inconsistencies for additional underwriter review—for example, if a case falls within a potentially higher risk category, the platform pinpoints the precise data points that require closer evaluation.

The platform provides comprehensive business summaries and classification recommendations.

With Sixfold, companies are accelerating submission-to-quote cycles by as much as 43%, clearing backlogged queues, and massively increasing GWP per underwriter. As for the underwriters themselves, they’re embracing the platform once they see the opportunity to move faster, be more productive, and make more money.

AI can’t replace underwriters, but it can amplify their potential

Across industries, there’s anxiety around potential disruptions gen AI will have on the labor market. I don’t see it that way. I view this technology as continuing the long technological tradition of freeing humans from mundane work.

Word processing software, for example, didn’t replace editors and writers—it allowed them to work faster while leaving the icky carbon paper, whiteout, and typewriter ink behind. All the while, the number of writers, editors, and communication workers continues to grow. Similarly, accounting software didn’t remove accountants, it just removed the need for accountants to be calculators and as a result, they could be more creative and specialized. Indeed, there’s currently a nationwide shortage of accountants. Moreover, as the latest data shows, they’re earning more than ever.

I see gen AI having a similar impact on insurance by emphasizing the creative and specialized side of the underwriting role, which can make them more satisfied, productive, and successful. Better yet, more successful underwriters have knock-on benefits down the value chain to agents and brokers (who get yes/no answers quicker) and the organization as a whole (through greatly improved GWP).

I believe there’s never been a better, or more joyful time to be an underwriter.

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Alex Schmelkin
Co-founder & CEO, Sixfold