Skip directly to search

Skip directly to content


Insurance Insights: Intelligent Underwriting Workbench


Insurance Insights | Gareth Miller |
30 March 2021

From our conversations with Insurance leaders, several topics have emerged as key focus areas for 2021 and beyond. In this series, some of our experts will provide insights on how to adapt, accelerate, and innovate in Insurance by tackling the areas of Open Insurance, Data Exploitation, Cloud Migration, Customer Retention & Cross-Selling, Intelligent Underwriting Workbench, and Low Code. In part 5, Gareth Miller explains the benefits of using an underwriting workbench and how to implement it successfully.

When asked to describe what underwriting looks like, those of us who work in the City of London will describe people hurrying around Lloyd’s of London carrying large bound folders of Commercial and Speciality paperwork. However, to borrow from Bob Dylan, the times they are a-changing and digitalisation is the new imperative.

It is easy to point to COVID-19 as the trigger which revealed paper-based underwriting to be untenable in a globally connected world. This would be unfair on those who had already instigated programmes aimed at removing paper from the process before the pandemic hit. The Underwriting Workbench is an increasingly sophisticated manifestation of this change, for which all Chief Underwriters should be lobbying.


An Underwriting Workbench is a digital control panel and collaboration tool that offers a one-stop shop which streamlines processes, distributes work, accesses digitalised documents or emails, and brings in data streams and analysis. The best of them interact with underlying systems to present an integrated “single pane of glass”, which gives the user an integrated experience across multiple devices. As well as allowing underwriters to better manage their own books of business and workload, the workbench can encourage greater collaboration across teams. The upshot is that a well-implemented workbench can be the catalyst for improved individual and team productivity – manifested in increased profitability.


Integration with existing systems. Built well, the workbench will integrate with legacy systems and offer future optionality. Whereas previously, an underwriter might have needed to switch between screens to retrieve and analyse even the most basic information, a workbench presents that in a user-friendly way. Within a few clicks or taps, an underwriter can bring up relevant information about a case, broker, or client, including active flags on missing information. They can navigate deeper into these views as their needs dictate. And they will be able to start this on an office laptop, continue on their mobile phone or tablet via an app on the train on the way home, and seamlessly pick it up on the laptop again.

Data and analytics. Leveraging internal and external data sources is par for the course for the more tech-enabled insurers. A good workbench will, of course, ingest internal data and present it in a digestible format. However, a great workbench will add external data sources, will incorporate AI-enabled analytics, and may allow tailored interrogation via business intelligence tools. The data used is not just restricted to quotes or existing business and claims experience. It can extend into compliance information such as KYC and, most excitingly, live sources which proactively inform the underwriter of potential risk factors or even upcoming claims events.

Automated workflow. An early workflow application is proactively flagging missing information, but this can be extended to the likes of preventing overshooting underwriting limits, i.e. the maximum liability apportioned to the underwriter or that an insurer is willing to assume from its underwriting activities in total. An underwriter approaching these limits will have options such as rationalising outstanding quotes or passing the business elsewhere in the team. Further possibilities include prompts for proactive contact about upcoming renewals, in turn reducing declines due to missing information or changes in limits or ratings. When connected to auto-renewal and auto-decline tools, which use automation and straight-through-processing after a quote request, the workbench can alert the underwriter to the status of these more straightforward cases.

Monitoring and team management. Offering different features and access rights has huge implications for real-time team workflow management. Head Underwriters can look across their whole team and book of business to assess performance versus appetite, understand how long it takes to quote-and-bind, including factors such as incomplete information, and interrogate information about brokers. By incorporating controls as set out by corporate policies, the workbench creates and stores risk, regulatory, and compliance data. Being digital, it can also provide timestamps for audit purposes; an unobtrusive device that provides further assurance in a regulated environment.


In our experience, prior to implementing a workbench, it is vital to be clear on the reasons for the adoption. A key consideration is whether the workbench is the fulcrum around which change revolves, or the cover that wraps around end users to cushion them against underlying change. Whilst there will be a multitude of priorities, we believe they can be allocated to three primary drivers which, in turn, dictate what and how the workbench delivers:

  • More profitable underwriting
  • Increasing efficiency
  • Increasing distribution

These are not mutually exclusive, of course, but Head Underwriters and CIOs will need to work out the optimal combination of benefits, such as deploying enhanced analytics, leveraging scarce specialist skills, and improving service to brokers and customers.

Once the business case is clear, the design and implementation steps come to the fore:

  1. Identify and engage with the users early in the design phase and map out the relevant journeys. Consider how the workbench can change these interactions and processes – do not assume that they need to follow the same flow as today – and which training or socialisation may be needed.
  2. Use data analysis and user surveys to identify data or information available for the workbench to ingest and present. Such data may be unique to the insurer. This is an opportunity to create new information flows and to codify informal arrangements, for example, manual spreadsheets that have crept in as a result of data process shortcomings or user frustrations.
  3. Harness the power of the data revolution. Whilst insurers can call on external data sources today, the degree to which this is done effectively and dynamically varies. A workbench can be built to call on real-time external data directly from multiple sources and allow the manipulation of that data within the tool.
  4. Establish how the workbench can integrate with processes and workflows – existing or future ones. To reach its full potential, the integration must be seamless. Adding layers or awkward detours to user journeys and workflows is unlikely to improve efficiency or help specialists to focus on where they are needed most.
  5. Identify the architecture that will support the workbench. This needs to be done in step with any user journeys, workflows, and processes which the workbench will replace, augment, or interact with. As well as considering cloud versus on-premises, insurers need to understand the state of their legacy architecture across which the workbench sits – as well as any plans for upgrades. APIs offer a solution, but in some situations, one cannot assume that legacy components will be API-ready. To harness external data, the same question needs to be asked of external sources, of course.

Underwriting Workbenches are a well-established construct, and the current convergence of technology and business drivers opens up possibilities to evolve your capabilities exponentially. Insurers need to be careful, though, not to rush in and be tempted by all the “bells and whistles”. In order to capitalise on these opportunities, underwriters and CIOs need to stay focused on their specific key drivers, seamless integration, and an engaging user experience.

In the future, we can expect Underwriting Workbenches to become increasingly central to the workflow within insurance companies. As the sophistication and reach of automation and digitalisation increase, the workbench will provide a nexus for working on, monitoring, and controlling a greater proportion of an insurers’ book. With evolving technology, activities that sit outside the workbench today, such as pricing engines, could be performed within its parameters. Well-designed workbenches will allow underwriters to capitalise more efficiently and effectively on the potential offered by improved data analytics, access IoT technology, and plug into initiatives such as Lloyd’s of London’s Blueprint Two (a technology-enabled insurance marketplace). Integration with these and other dynamic data sources, both internal and external, will allow not only better-priced risk but also more proactive risk management.


Gareth Miller

Principal Consultant, Financial Services

Gareth has 20 years’ experience in a range of Financial Services roles including as an industry consultant and a stint at the regulator. During that time, he realised that he enjoys helping solve complex problems through technology, rather than simply highlighting them. Since joining Endava, he is well-positioned to help clients manage competing priorities and achieve their objectives. To take his mind off all this complexity he enjoys exploring the countryside with his family, or solo on his mountain bike. He also home-brews a decent beer.


Related Articles

  • 06 April 2021

    Insurance Insights: Low Code

  • 30 March 2021

    Insurance Insights: Intelligent Underwriting Workbench

  • 16 March 2021

    Insurance Insights: Customer Retention & Cross-Selling

  • 09 March 2021

    Insurance Insights: Cloud Migration

  • 23 February 2021

    Insurance Insights: Data Exploitation


From This Author

  • 16 February 2021

    Insurance Insights: Open Insurance

  • 02 June 2020

    Creating a Resilient Advantage

Most Popular Articles

Current Challenges in the Transportation & Logistics Industry

Transportation & Logistics Insights | Brian Estep | 22 March 2022

Current Challenges in the Transportation & Logistics Industry

AI Art in Game Production – an XDS 2022 Table Discussion

AI | Thomas Bedenk | 27 September 2022

AI Art in Game Production – an XDS 2022 Table Discussion

Payments Data Monetisation is Key to Driving Sustainable Growth

Payments | Annmarie Mahabir | 20 September 2022

Payments Data Monetisation is Key to Driving Sustainable Growth

4 Buy Now Pay Later Trends Set to Disrupt the Industry

Payments | Annmarie Mahabir | 22 February 2022

4 Buy Now Pay Later Trends Set to Disrupt the Industry

The New Ways of Issuing Cards

Payments | Peter Theunis | 19 July 2022

The New Ways of Issuing Cards

Buy Now Pay Later: Will Regulation Burst the Bubble?

Payments | Annmarie Mahabir | 01 February 2022

Buy Now Pay Later: Will Regulation Burst the Bubble?

Buy or Build? A Game-Changing Question in Insurance

Next Gen Insights | Robert Anderson | 12 January 2022

Buy or Build? A Game-Changing Question in Insurance

Top Challenges in Warehouse and Distribution Centers

Transportation & Logistics Insights | Brian Estep | 01 March 2022

Top Challenges in Warehouse and Distribution Centers

The Metaverse Evolution and Learning from the Games Industry

Next Gen Insights | Thomas Bedenk | 30 March 2022

The Metaverse Evolution and Learning from the Games Industry



  • 27 September 2022

    AI Art in Game Production – an XDS 2022 Table Discussion

  • 20 September 2022

    Payments Data Monetisation is Key to Driving Sustainable Growth

  • 13 September 2022

    Navigating the Healthcare Ecosystem

  • 30 August 2022

    hey y’all! I’m Ashley Grant

  • 23 August 2022

    5 Ways to Fix Your Data Spine in Banking

  • 16 August 2022

    De-risking Digitalisation

  • 09 August 2022

    hi, I’m Brian Estep

  • 02 August 2022

    hey! I’m Lia Rollman

  • 19 July 2022

    The New Ways of Issuing Cards

  • 12 July 2022

    Scores on the Door: Rating Autonomous Vehicles

  • 06 July 2022

    Data-Driven Impact: Don’t Settle for Less

  • 06 July 2022

    We’re in Nottingham – a Q&A on Endava’s New Delivery Centre in the UK

  • 05 July 2022

    hey, I’m Chris Hart

  • 28 June 2022

    Platforms: a Blessing or a Curse?

  • 23 June 2022

    A Payments View on Marketplaces – How to Be(come) Successful

  • 21 June 2022

    Intelligent Commercial Underwriting

  • 14 June 2022

    The Future of Supply Chain: What’s Next?

  • 31 May 2022

    The Future of Autonomous Vehicles in T&L

  • 26 May 2022

    hello! I’m Hannah McCarthy

  • 24 May 2022

    Going Native: Why Cloud-Native Services are Essential

  • 19 May 2022

    How to Tackle Legacy – Breaking Down Walls Between Change and Run

  • 17 May 2022

    Advantages of a Yard Management System

  • 12 May 2022

    Are Phones About to Become the New POS Terminals?

  • 10 May 2022

    The Digital Economy is an Upgrade of Smart Cities and Communities

  • 05 May 2022

    hello! I’m Sumita Davé

  • 03 May 2022

    Physical Automation in the T&L Industry

  • 28 April 2022

    zdravo! I’m Andrej Kotar

  • 26 April 2022

    Open Banking in the US

  • 20 April 2022

    hello! I’m Paul Maguire

  • 19 April 2022

    Digital Automation in the T&L Industry

  • 12 April 2022

    How Do Banks Embrace Embedded Finance – Have the Fintechs Already Won?

  • 06 April 2022

    ESG Data Architecture is a Business Imperative – How to Get Started

  • 05 April 2022

    hi! I am Roy Murphy

  • 05 April 2022

    Modernizing the Shipping and Cargo Process

  • 30 March 2022

    The Metaverse Evolution and Learning from the Games Industry

  • 29 March 2022

    Do Androids Dream of Trading Electric Sheep for Digital Wood? An Introduction to Automated Game Design

  • 23 March 2022

    Real-Time Payments in Australia – Why Corporates Should Get on Board

  • 22 March 2022

    Current Challenges in the Transportation & Logistics Industry

  • 16 March 2022

    bok! I’m Sanja Cvetkovic

  • 15 March 2022

    Rapidly Transforming: Healthtech Trends in 2022

  • 08 March 2022

    How to Digitize Warehouses and Distribution Centers

  • 01 March 2022

    Top Challenges in Warehouse and Distribution Centers

  • 28 February 2022

    Tackling CIB Legacy at its Core

  • 23 February 2022

    salut! I am Isabela Buhai

  • 22 February 2022

    4 Buy Now Pay Later Trends Set to Disrupt the Industry

  • 15 February 2022

    salut! I’m Natalia Ciobanu

  • 14 February 2022

    Product-Led Innovation – a Q&A with Joe Dunleavy

  • 01 February 2022

    Buy Now Pay Later: Will Regulation Burst the Bubble?

  • 31 January 2022

    Innovation Will Spur Ireland’s Race to the Top

  • 28 January 2022

    The Value of Digital and Automation in the Product Returns Process

  • 26 January 2022

    Virtually Disrupted? Keeping Pace with Accelerating Customer Expectations

  • 19 January 2022

    The 3 Big Ps in Modern Insurance: Personalisation, Prediction and Prevention

  • 18 January 2022

    An Introduction to Mobility as a Service in the US

  • 12 January 2022

    Buy or Build? A Game-Changing Question in Insurance

  • 12 January 2022

    hello! I’m Paul Willoughby

  • 11 January 2022

    Payment Service Providers 2.0

  • $name

We are listening

How would you rate your experience with Endava so far?

We would appreciate talking to you about your feedback. Could you share with us your contact details?