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Expert Insight: June 2021

June 2021

Kim Wilcox NAILBA Innovative Underwriters

Why is the case manager role instrumental to a successful BGA?

“The case manager role is a pivotal position within a successful BGA because those individuals are key to retention. The case management team makes certain that the business that was brought in, gets pushed through at the carrier level, and placed as expeditiously as possible. The quicker a BGA can process business, the more likely an agent is to use that BGA again. In addition, case management is vital to continuing the relationship building process with agents to encourage continued production.”

What are most important skills or traits of a successful case manager?

“It’s my belief that a successful case manager would demonstrate initiative, professionalism, and relationship skills. I think someone inexperienced can be taught how to follow procedures for processing, but being successful would require characteristics that are ingrained and can’t be taught.”

How has the pandemic impacted the role of the case manager?

Case management evolved so rapidly during the pandemic. There had been a surge in technology advances and accelerated underwriting platforms, and new business areas had to learn to be able to adapt quickly to the many changes coming at them daily to ensure business continued. Case managers had to be patient and understanding as agents, who do not traditionally adapt well to change, were forced to learn new ways to submit and pay for business. Every day seemed like it brought a new change or challenge. Having a team that can adapt was crucial in surviving the pandemic.

How has the continued increase of automation impacted the case manager role?

I think automation has helped case managers be able to process business faster and more efficiently. That efficiency allows the new business team to work on not only more cases, but frees them to work on building better relationships with agents.

What do you see as the most significant challenge case managers face?

I think the most significant challenge facing case managers today is making certain that they continue to add value in a world which relies on technology more and more each day. That can be through professional growth, like a designation, or through becoming knowledgeable about the various changes within our industry, such as regulations.

How can experienced case managers stay up to speed with an ever-evolving industry, regulatory changes, etc?

Education is key. Carriers really assist the BGA staff with regulatory and industry changes. An experienced, and inexperienced, case manager could become more effective by paying attention to those communications. In addition, NAILBA offers a new designation for case managers, which has been a wonderful educational opportunity. It the first program of its kind, that I know of, to offer case managers the ability to improve their skills.

How are some key ways case managers can work to streamline the underwriting and approval process?

The ability to understand technology and how carriers use it in their processing, can really help move cases along the underwriting path. The goal is to get the business in and paid for as fast as possible, with as little interruption to agent, client, or BGA. The more the case management team can help the sales team drive business using technology to their advantage, can really be the difference.

Kim Wilcox is the Director of Service and Underwriting at Innovative Underwriters, a brokerage general agency located in Philadelphia. Kim has been in the insurance industry for over 20 years, starting out at a mutual company, where she obtained her life and health license. Her career in brokerage started in 2000, when she first came to Innovative Underwriters in the marketing/sales area. Kim earned her LUTCF designation in 2012, and holds a Series 6. In her spare time, Kim enjoys spending time with her kids and new granddaughter. She is also a classically trained violinist performing locally with an orchestra and 2 rock bands. Kim also enjoys spending time on her boat, at the Jersey shore with her husband, Tim, also an insurance agent.