A Silver Bullet for the Bordereau Process
An Unexpected Challenge
Late in 2019, a colleague and I flew to Langley, BC to gather technical requirements from Mutual Fire Insurance of British Columbia (MFIBC), a Property & Casualty insurer looking to digitize and automate farm coverage. It was supposed to be a routine trip, phase zero of a typical collabor8 engagement. Yet when we sat down for our initial discovery, the team at MFIBC opened the door to a deeper conversation about their other pain points – specifically, how they receive business from their Managing General Agents (MGAs).
Like other specialty carriers, MFIBC spends a considerable amount of time screening bordereau submissions. Although this business is highly attractive, the distribution model is also hugely inefficient. Consider the process: a full-time staff member receives an MGA’s bulk transaction file once per month, normally by email, downloads the spreadsheet to their computer and then manually reviews the data. If errors are found, they contact the MGA for fixes, furthering delaying the intake process.
This tedious routine eats into profit margins over time, especially as the complexity of the MGA programs grow in size. I remember one person saying the staff were spending most of their time as “human macros,” and that checking individual entries meant it could take multiple days to process a single MGA bordereau submission.
"We saw quite clearly that automation was the missing ingredient in the market"
At the same time, the carrier is potentially exposed to unwanted risks during this transitory phase. Remember, MGAs have the authority to bind policies on behalf of the insurer, prior to the carrier accepting a record of the risk. This means that insurers are blindly committed to cover the contract even while the bordereau submission is being processed.
With these considerations in mind, we returned to Toronto several days later to brainstorm. Could we help insurers automate their bordereau programs? Could we do it within the existing workflow? And, even if all was possible, was it worth the effort? After a month of mulling over design concepts, we finally arrived at a solution that was right not just for the client, but all specialty P&C insurers across Canada.
An Enduring Solution
Hubio has a tightly focused product suite, so we wanted to ensure this problem was sufficiently important before starting development. Our research showed that many members in the P&C community faced similar challenges around the bordereau process, even if they had cobbled together an internal stop-gap measure. We saw quite clearly that automation was the missing ingredient in the market. Given this technology gap, our goal was to deliver quick productivity gains by building a light, cost-effective software tailored exclusively for commercial insurance companies with an MGA distribution model.
To that end, we spent the next five weeks elbow deep in development, crafting individual workflow rules to replace each step in the bordereau process. For example, where someone would have manually checked the validity of customer addresses, we instead configured a rule that calls on the Google API for instant verification. These seemingly small innovations not only saved time and resources, but also curbed the possibility of human error and unwanted risk exposure.
Ultimately, we delivered our communic8 Bordereau solution within three months of the initial ask. The speedy implementation was only possible because of our evolution to a Software-as-a-Service provider, which we believe makes our clients (and us) nimbler and more agile. As an example, one of the major advantages is that users only need a web browser to use the software. They can access the Bordereau materials safely and securely from anywhere, satisfying their PII compliance rules while removing the burden of traditional IT infrastructure.
"communic8 Bordereau speaks two languages: insurance carrier and MGA"
Going digital also gave MFIBC the flexibility to encourage the kind of business they want, by adjusting the rules based on their program agreements with different MGAs. For instance, if the carrier prefers not to write business in a particular postal code, they can ensure applications with those anomalies are flagged and returned immediately to the MGA. This level of customization is particularly useful to companies that are looking to validate incoming submissions at scale.
At the same time, it’s important for MGAs to continue working within their native technology. If they had to suddenly familiarize themselves with a new process, the relationship may suffer. As a result, we ensured communic8 Bordereau speaks two languages: insurance carrier and MGA. It translates between the two, allowing insurers to work freely with multiple firms, all of whom have slightly different formats for their submissions. The kicker: There’s absolutely no training required for anyone, given that our software simply layers over the original transaction file.
When we rolled out the solution in early 2020, the client was pleased at the speed and quality of execution. What they received was a plug-and-play solution that allowed them to instantly cut time and resources dedicated to the bordereau intake process – and it was trackable. Clients often fail to recognize that going digital opens up a whole universe of data, and these analytics can be used to further save work-hours, trim costs and optimize their business for the road ahead.