The Fifth Season
As underwriters, we’re currently experiencing a fifth season in the year. It’s called renewal season, and it comes a little earlier every year. This year, it started in late July and will go through New Year’s Eve. Since most lines of insurance are oriented toward having the majority of their business with January effective dates, the bulk of RFPs arrive during peak season, which runs between August 15 and the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. For HM Insurance Group, about 60 percent of all the business we write has January 1 effective dates.
What are the signs of renewal season? Well, between July 15 and September 30, our underwriting team (consisting of 36 underwriters in production and 16 more people supporting the underwriting process) received about 4,700 requests for proposal. And we will receive several thousand more before season’s end, all of which must be completed thoughtfully – and on time – to meet the standards we have in place.
Our brokers, TPAs, consultants and partners have their own sales and renewal processes. They prefer that their business is done a certain way, with certain options and timing that works for them and their clients. Our whole team is engaged in providing them with what they need in a timely manner, while thoughtfully assuming risk for HM. This is a challenging time, but our people rise to the challenge. (You wouldn’t be involved in this line of work if you’re not up to it.)
Another way I can tell it’s renewal season is when I arrived at my desk at 7 a.m., I could see in my IMs how long my colleagues had been online – last night’s winners (?) were working at midnight and 1 a.m., entering quotes into our rating software so underwriters could work on them today and ensuring quotes with requested due dates of today were completed. This isn’t something I’ve demanded. They did so because they wanted to – because they are committed to achieving their goals, playing their part for the team and providing the best to our clients.
The other night, I was texting and emailing with our underwriting directors during the Penguins game and realized it’s a little scary that we’re working on the same things in the office and then watching the same things when we get home. I guess we’re just in the same mindset, which helps, since they were lining up quotes that needed exceptions to our guidelines so they could be delivered in the morning.
At this point in renewal season, it’s getting to be a grind. We try to do things to help keep our people engaged and motivated. Most people have been going hard for six to eight weeks, and there’s another six tough weeks to go. But while the occasional pizza lunch for those working in the office is certainly welcome, the vast majority of our people enjoy coming to work and working hard, and they energize themselves by solving problems and creating underwriting solutions that work for our clients and HM.
This process isn’t perfect. We will, unfortunately, despite our best efforts, occasionally miss a quote deadline or provide a client with a quote option they didn’t request. That said, our whole team is fully engaged in doing the best work we can for our clients and our company. I’m very proud of the team we’ve assembled here at HM. We’re working hard to deliver for our clients.
I’m hopeful that this renewal season will be productive and prosperous for our partners, producers and TPAs. We’re doing our best to hold up our end of the bargain. Please reach out to me directly, or to our sales team, if there’s something we can do to deliver a better solution for you or your clients.