Case study - Markel uses Cytora and achieves +100% productivity uplift to fuel growth

Markel partnered with Cytora to evolve their underwriting processes into digital risk flows and accelerate growth.

Striving for productivity gains 

Markel is a leading specialty insurer whose commitment to market-leading expertise and service, sustainable pricing and multi-channel delivery is behind its success. The company has been consistently recognised as delivering excellent service (most recently through the Feefo Platinum Trusted Service Award in 2023) and one of only 4 UK insurers with a positive broker NPS score (according to BIBA research).

The desire for continuous improvement and a deep analysis of existing processes helped Markel understand that further growth and continuous customer service improvement could be achieved by driving efficiency in the underwriting processes. Historically these required a number of processing steps, which limited their ability to further accelerate GWP growth without adding additional expense.

To accelerate this strategy Markel partnered with Cytora to evolve their underwriting processes into digital risk flows. Cytora uses AI-supported workflows to automate pre-underwriting activities and perform the upfront evaluation of underwriting tasks. Markel had identified the following underwriting process limitations:

● Skilled talent deployed on routine activities. Before Cytora, the most senior underwriter in each team had to triage every incoming submission, assessing their fit against Markel’s appetite and either declining them themselves or routing them to the appropriate underwriter. This presented a significant opportunity cost, preventing those skilled resources from working on the most complex risks or managing broker relationships. Declining submissions that fall out of appetite, for example, was taking too long, impacting customer experience.

● Underwriters spent 30%+ of their time on low-skill/low-value tasks. Once an underwriter received a submission, they had to still re-key the risk data into different systems (e.g. CRM, PAS) and manually pull third-party data, taking away the focus from value-generating activities

● Capacity spent on out-of-appetite risks that don’t result in quotes. Time spent on non-quotable risks slowed down the turnaround time for quotable risks, and impacted underwriter productivity

To address those challenges and execute the set strategy Markel partnered with Cytora to:

● Transform their underwriting process into digital with flows, leveraging AI to automate pre-underwriting activities, perform an upfront evaluation of risks, and eliminate rekeying of data

● Decouple the link between growth and expense base, focusing specialist underwriting capacity on decision-ready risks with a high propensity to quote and bind

● Deepen broker relationships by providing the best quality of service through best-in-class turnaround times

The plan

Markel had a clear vision of the goals they wanted to achieve and together with Cytora they created a desired target state for their target underwriting process where:

● Underwriters do not spend time on low-value activities

● Risks are digitised upfront and augmented with additional data sources, bringing together all data required for risk evaluation

● Risks are triaged and routed to the right specialist underwriter

● Expert underwriters receive decision-ready risks within minutes

With this target process Markel aimed at the following:

● Providing faster responses to brokers

● Quoting and binding a higher volume of risks with the same expert underwriting team

● Automatically populating downstream systems including CRM

To achieve these results Markel deployed Cytora’s Platform that collects broker submissions, enriches the risk with external data sources, prioritises the risk in the context of Markel's underwriting and distribution strategies, presents decision-ready risks to underwriters and streamlines the flow of data into downstream systems.

The Results

The close alignment between the teams resulted in impressive business outcomes:

● an uplift of 113% in productivity (GWP/FTE) in their underwriting teams

● a reduction in SLA quote turnaround time for strategic partners from 24hrs to 2hrs

● internal recognition to the initiative’s champion at Markel’s Annual Shareholder event

Historically, the team including myself would have spent a large amount of time managing workflow. Since we began working with Cytora, workflow is now in one user-friendly platform in a business prioritised order, giving underwriters more time to underwrite the right risks and allowing me to focus on growth opportunities.” Gary Walker, Head of Broker Connect, Markel UK

Neil Galjaard, Managing Director: “At Markel, we are committed to giving brokers and clients enhanced service levels and Cytora has been a foundational partner helping us to effectively grow our scale and enable our underwriters to provide enhanced service to customers and brokers. We are now deepening our partnership with Cytora to build on the success we have achieved to date and are excited about creating further value for our brokers and clients in this next phase

Talk to us about implementing digital risk flows, increase productivity and drive growth in your organisation: https://www.cytora.com/about-us/contact-us