JERSEY CITY, N.J., June 18, 2014 — Verisk Insurance Solutions – Commercial Property is using its insurance expertise and workforce to help enhance commercial property insurers’ underwriting, risk control, contact verification, and other functions through its new PhoneAssist program. Verisk Insurance Solutions – Commercial Property is a unit of Verisk Analytics (Nasdaq:VRSK).
“Many core underwriting functions are essential but nevertheless time-consuming and expensive for insurers,” said Glen Brooks, vice president of Verisk Insurance Solutions – Commercial Property. “We designed a way to relieve our customers of some of the more burdensome aspects of underwriting while helping to improve their efficiency. PhoneAssist embodies the fundamental nature of the work as well as the reality of performing what is, quite frankly, a somewhat tedious function — making hundreds, if not thousands, of phone calls to verify risk mitigation factors.”
Verisk introduced its PhoneAssist service in response to industry requests for assistance in performing follow-up calls to insureds on recommended remediation, conducting low-cost phone surveys for certain businesses, and overseeing presurvey contact verification to help ensure efficient field operations, among other services.
“Our experience shows that as much as 40 percent of the contact information supplied by insureds is incorrect or incomplete,” said Rick Vance, director of Verisk Insurance Solutions National Processing Center, which is implementing the PhoneAssist program. “Chasing down that information is critical for field surveys, but many insurers would rather have their staff performing other work. That’s where we step in to help.”
An on-site field survey isn’t always necessary for every insured. For some businesses — such as a home-based landscaper or general contractor working out of a truck — the PhoneAssist service can be used to conduct low-cost phone surveys to gather underwriting and loss control information, which may ultimately save time and money and improve the speed with which new business can go on the books.
When an insurer conducts an on-site survey and makes recommendations for mitigating risks at the property, there’s typically no follow-up to determine if the property owner performed the suggested remediation. Deprived of that knowledge, insurers might either decline to insure the property — losing business — or issue coverage that potentially results in unanticipated losses.
Through PhoneAssist, Verisk’s staff contacts property owners by phone or mail to confirm actions taken; determine a specific plan for taking action, including a time frame; or to confirm that no action has been taken and why. A final report helps the insurer underwrite properties with the risk profiles acceptable to it.
“We’ve already had some unusual assignments,” added Vance. “Recently, we were asked to contact all hotels insured by one carrier to verify the make, model, and serial number of every guest room door lock, which presented concerns of potential risk. The insurer didn’t want to take staff away from their regular jobs but knew they needed an evaluation of the possible problem — so we conducted the inquiry. Through PhoneAssist, we provided the insurer with the information they needed to help them confirm the extent of risk in their portfolio and address related issues with their insureds, while saving them significant time and expense.”
PhoneAssist operates out of Verisk Commercial Property’s National Processing Center in Marlton, New Jersey, and includes more than 120 highly trained insurance professionals.
About Verisk Insurance Solutions – Commercial Property
A unit of Verisk Analytics (Nasdaq:VRSK), Verisk Insurance Solutions – Commercial Property is a leading provider of risk assessment services, comprehensive data, and decision analytics that help leaders in property/casualty insurance, commercial real estate, and community hazard mitigation define, measure, and manage risk and maximize competitive advantage. Drawing upon vast experience in data management, predictive modeling, and risk assessment solutions, Verisk Insurance Solutions includes the industry-leading brands of ISO, AIR Worldwide, and Xactware. In the United States and around the world, Verisk Analytics helps customers protect people, property, and financial assets. For more information, visit www.verisk.com/cp.