- Our Commercial Operations team supports National Programs’ companies in various ways: through a customer service center, underwriting support, policy processing and more.
- We believe in promoting from within. Several of our underwriters, business development specialists and Internal Operations review team started in customer service.
- The results speak for themselves: satisfied customers and an easier workload for underwriters, so that they can focus on writing more business.
Over the past few months, we’ve highlighted various types of assistance and support offered by National Programs’ Shared Services teams, providing insight as to how they help our companies grow. Today we’re digging deeper into how our Commercial Operations team supports growth of our companies. If you’re finding that you need greater back-end support for your existing products or those you hope to launch soon, give us a call. We have highly experienced teams that can offer your company support, from legal and financial, to marketing, data analytics, new product development and more.
We met recently with Lisa Stahl, COO, Commercial Division and Julie Willmore, vice president, Commercial Operations to learn more about our Call Center services.
What types of services do your teams provide?
Our Commercial Operations team supports growth in so many different ways! We’re actually comprised of four different teams: Customer Service (CSRs), Underwriting Support, Surplus Lines and Policy Processing. Here’s a breakdown on each one.
The CSRs provide service for five different programs. This team of 11 answer phone calls from both policyholders and producers (their agents), with questions on status, billing, audit or to make a payment, from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST.
As anyone who’s ever worked in a call center knows, no one ever calls to tell us, “Good job!” Instead, they call with questions or problems. It’s only at the end of the conversation, when we’ve resolved their issue, do they say, “Good job, thanks!”
Our CSRs in our Commercial Operations team support growth by focusing on resolution: Finding solutions to the customer’s issue. They handle the majority of incoming phone calls that our underwriters might otherwise receive, so that our underwriters are freed up to spend more time on booking more premium. By providing an excellent customer experience, we help profit centers retain customers, which improves their top line and bottom line.
They manage billing questions, audit questions, status on policies, commission questions, reinstatements and cancellations. “Why did my bill change?” “Can I change my due date?” Primarily they receive questions related to a customer’s statement and status.
We believe in promoting from within. Several of our underwriters, business development specialists, Internal Operations review team and more started in customer service. Our CSRs learn a multitude of guidelines and work in many different systems. The rules and guidelines they must remember can be complex. This intense training provides them with the knowledge of
- How a submission gets to the hands of an underwriter.
- What happens to a policy when an insured doesn’t comply with a final audit.
- Rules and legal notice requirements for various states.
They also put into practice the importance of building relationships with producers as they answer phone calls and emails.
This team handles filings, taxes and fees for 14 profit centers and companies within National Programs. They receive policy transactions from the profit centers and submit them to the applicable surplus lines associations for each state where these 14 profit centers and companies write non-admitted business. They also handle taxes, fees and reporting for the surplus lines business.
This group triages the accounts for our underwriting team for two profit centers. They work up the submissions that come through the door, including data entry of loss information as well as gathering any additional information needed before the account goes to an underwriter.
Our policy processing team handles policy issuance on new business, renewals, endorsements…anything related to the policy, after it’s been bound. Some of the requirements that are part of an account must be reviewed by an underwriter. Once the underwriter gives us a green light to process, this team completes the transaction in our system.
This group in our Commercial Operations team supports growth by creating efficiencies: Removing tasks from the underwriters’ plate and handling the tasks either through a phone call or email, again, freeing them to spend time on larger or more complex accounts.
Can you share any success stories as to how your Commercial Operations team supports growth?
We regularly receive kudos about the service our teams provide and how they went the extra mile to resolve an issue. Here’s a great example:
In workers compensation, every account has a mandatory final audit. Sometimes the insured doesn’t comply with the audit, so we create what’s called a “nonproductive estimated audit.” Often, this audit will increase the payroll figures, so that there is no premium returned to the insured; many times the estimated audit will create additional premium owed to us. If they had complied with the audit, then we’d have the true payroll figures for each class code on the policy.
So, they or their agent typically call us and say, “Why did I get this bill?” Our CSRs explain that our teams attempted to conduct a final audit but the insured never responded to our third party audit vendor. Therefore, we had to estimate the audit which generated a bill, which is an estimation based off what they reported throughout the year. Our CSRs explain that if they’ll reach out to the auditor, comply with the audit and provide the necessary documentation, we can then process the audit based off of actual figures. When the insured or their agent (our producer) is offered this new option, then usually it ends well.
Another example is when a policy is cancelled due to nonpayment, yet they say they sent in the check. We immediately ask them to see if their check cleared, and explain that they can pay online instead of mailing us a check and then waiting for it to post. Because sometimes we don’t receive their check – it’s lost in the mail.
When the CSRs guide them in how to make a payment online and advise on the reinstatement guidelines, this usually ends with a happy customer. We receive compliments from customers thanking our service team for going above and beyond.
Said one satisfied producer very recently, “I just got off the phone with one of your CSRs. I had an issue with my account. She gave me A+ service, which gave me peace of mind that it would be fixed in a timely manner. She followed up religiously until the problem was resolved. We work with a lot of carriers, and this is the best experience I have ever had!”