Industry Trends | Read Time: 5 minutes

The Future of Commercial Lines Submissions: Part 2

December 30, 2019

Thad Bauer. By: Thad Bauer

Following our previous blog post where we began our discussion around Commercial Lines submissions, let’s continue with a look at the second half of the process; starting with quoting and submission.

Step 3: Quoting and Submission

Whatever nuances exist between the duo, quoting and submission for all sizes of business rely on our previously mentioned steps: data capture and market identification. For the next step, the lions’ share of small commercial lines business, agents submit via each insurer portal; literally rekeying information they’ve previously captured (or using the portal as the capture tool in step 1 but then locked in on one option).

For mid-market, it’s an email-driven world laden with inefficiencies, back and forth time-delayed conversations (rife with miscommunication), out of office autoreplies, unknown contacts, missing information, etc. There are some solutions available for a “real-time” bridge to insurers but limited adoption by most to date.

Overall, quoting and submission is full of difficulties, including:

  • Inconsistent formats for insurers
  • Lack of security
  • No transparency in the process
  • Significant back and forth communication

The entire thread showing a full view of the submission process is not archived together, making referencing later difficult, to say the least.

How are the emotional states of those involved through this step? The selected insurer may be feeling good, due to having new business, but agents aren’t in a positive mood here due to the time involved. The customer is enjoying the process less and less; they’re more likely to drop or look at other options the longer it takes.

A Solution

Solving this problem requires getting smart with how we handle submissions. Our proposed solution is to provide a conduit for capturing and archiving the entire process – from data capture to bound business – then linking to policy servicing via download. This submission solution would handle both rating for small commercial as well as more complex submissions for mid to large commercial in nonstandard formats.

If we expand on threaded conversation tracking, we arrive at our next step, submission tracking.

Step 4: Submission Tracking

It’s the Wild West here. There are no rules as to the proper way to communicate back and forth, and you’re forced into a new adventure with varying formats, methods and approaches between each agent, insurer and even each underwriter. Details will be missed, and opportunities will be lost.

The submission process – complex in nature due to its iterative, back-and-forth nature – puts agents and insureds in a black hole of sorts where transparency varies by insurers but is often lacking.

There could be some agency-facing solutions from a software perspective, for managing and tracking agency submissions, but we need to connect the submission management process with insurers as well to keep all parties informed.

This step is an emotional valley – the unknown makes everyone unhappy here – so there’s clear room for improvement.

A Solution

What we’re building towards here is an industry-wide solution for submission tracking and status which can be made available to any insurer, any agency and any management system. As an industry, now is the time to focus collaboration in this space around CL submission. The process needs transparency and for communication to be easy between agents and insurers.

Imagine if your submissions were clearly accessible, organized and consistent across all agencies – at the same time preserving agencies’ ability to use the management system or data capture tool they prefer. That would be powerful!

Step 5: Bind/Policy Issuance

We can start wrapping up our journey now. It feels like a journey doesn’t it; full of highs and lows? In the final step, the customer has made it to the end of the process and now receives a bound policy.

Unfortunately, there’s still some pain in the process from a workflow perspective. There’s still the delivery of policy documents and information to agents and insureds required. That can take the form of email, download via agent/insurer portal or physical mailing. Also remaining is the matter of populating the agency system with policy data, supporting documents and funneling information to the insured.

Emotions are back to a happy state after a tumultuous process, though, positive feelings may just reflect that everyone is happy the process is concluding.

A Solution

Luckily, we’ve been solving that workflow pain for years with IVANS download. Documents pass from insurers, through IVANS, directly into agency management systems where, with workflows set up, agents can then automatically push documents to customer portals or configure automated workflows based on what they receive.


We don’t want to stand still though, so for the future state of CL submissions, we see the potential to allow “instant” download in response to a policy-binding API call. In “full cycle” IVANS CL deployments, the eDocs download process would simply occur as part of the binding the business. One more step that we can remove to simplify and automate this process for the benefit of all.

Our vision for the future is from anywhere to anywhere, with speed, efficiency and emotional bliss.

Discover how IVANS Policy Download and eDocs can help your business grow in the future.

Thad Bauer.

Thad Bauer

Thad Bauer, former Vice President and General Manager, led Ivans' Services and Support functions. He has 25 years of property and casualty experience and has played a key role in furthering the adoption of ACORD standards to exchange data within the industry to improve efficiencies. Prior to his current role at Ivans, Thad was president and co-founder of NxTech, a leading provider of agency-MGA-carrier interface and data integration solutions. Prior to NxTech, he spent nine years with BWC Systems and Ivans, Inc. and has worked with more than 350 insurance carriers throughout North America.