by Ryan Tate, Director
All property insurance programs are different: that, we know. But whether we’re talking about States, Risk Pools, or smaller public entities like counties, municipalities or school districts, it’s fair to say that they all have common problems when it comes to managing and perpetuating their property data. As insurers and reinsurers require these entities to collect more and more data, having access to a robust property software application becomes increasingly important. In this blog post, we’ll discuss some common problems groups face when managing property data and how a robust software program can help solve them.
The Challenge: Lack of Data Integrity
I spent the first 11 years of my career as a building appraiser and it was common for a customer’s problems to inevitably become my own. Being tasked with providing accurate replacement values for an entire property portfolio is a big responsibility, so it’s important to have a complete understanding of a customer’s Statement of Values (SOV) prior to beginning fieldwork. Some common issues that appraisers face usually revolve around data integrity — or in a lot of cases, the lack thereof. It’s not uncommon to find buildings missing from the SOV, or buildings that are on the SOV that should have been disposed of. These types of data errors often lead to buildings without coverage that should be insured or paying insurance premiums on buildings that are no longer owned. I once visited a city with the intention of appraising approximately 20 buildings that were listed on the client SOV. By the time I completed the appraisal, I had appraised over 100 buildings, most of which were water towers, pump stations and other water utility-related structures. The data integrity had been that far off.
The Solution: An On-Site Appraisal and Software with SOV Accountability
In my anecdote above, a thorough appraisal by an on-site appraiser went a long way toward helping rectify missing data in my customer’s SOV. The second part of the solution, however, is importing and managing that refreshed data into a robust property management software solution so your SOV remains current. Your software should retain a history of all data updates, allowing you to pinpoint which data elements have changed over time and ensure accountability. It should also allow you to track and update all of the important COPE and secondary COPE details needed to help predict risk across those properties more accurately. This helps secure the right amount of coverage for all the property you have. And your system’s automated reporting can help relay that updated Statement of Values quickly and easily through built-in reporting.
In the case of the city we discussed above, they fortunately hadn’t experienced significant uninsured losses prior to their appraisal. The risk manager was able to breathe a sigh of relief knowing that, even though he was looking at an increase in insurance premiums, all city structures were now properly insured, reducing the chance of major losses down the line. With that new information uploaded into a robust property risk management system, the SOV becomes right-sized and making updates as new information comes along becomes an easier, more streamlined process.
The Challenge: A Cumbersome Renewal Process
Property renewals, on the other hand, are a whole different monster and usually require significant assistance from the insureds. In the case of a risk pool, some might have upwards of 500 members, so trying to extract the most up-to-date property data from all of them can be a gargantuan effort. Putting streamlined processes in place for data updates can help expedite the renewal process. And having a complete auditable history of the changes made, whether they’re made by the pool or its members, can help ensure you’re taking the most accurate information possible to market.
A couple of years ago, I had a risk pool customer explain how she would contact members, either through a call or on-site visits, to review and update each SOV. This took a substantial amount of her time. So how was this avoided going forward?
The Solution: Smooth, Automated Renewal Workflow Processes
In the case of the risk pool representative mentioned above, the time she spent following up with risk pool member renewals changed dramatically once the pool purchased a risk management software application. Her time spent went from three months down to two months, consuming fewer hours each week, and allowing her to focus on other job-related tasks.
So how does this work?
A streamlined property renewal workflow process using a software application can be as easy as 1-2-3…
- Create and assign a task to each pool member or state agency in the system with a deadline to submit. An example of this might be simply: “Please review ‘Anytown USA’ SOV and make necessary updates.”
- When the pool member or agency completes the task within the system, the system logs an auditable history of changes for each changed data point and the user submits the updated SOV to the administrator. No Excel download is necessary here. When the updates are done, the task is marked “Complete” and the updated SOV is sent back to the administrator.
- If the updates have not yet been completed, the administrator sends out a reminder (or multiple reminders throughout the process) to do so, while emphasizing that the existing information in the system will be taken to market, whether or not the task is completed by the assigned deadline. This shifts the responsibility to the risk pool member for any outdated data sent for renewal, and the reminders are logged in the system. When the SOV review deadline arrives, the administrator goes to market for renewal with the data as it exists.
The system increases accountability, reduces the constant back-and-forth, increases data accuracy, and saves time for both risk pool administrators and their members.
The Challenge: Time-Consuming Property Data Reporting
While yearly property renewals can be a hefty task, most of the time property data management only involves the occasional update. What functionality users typically do need regularly is the ability to generate reports on their existing data.
If your organization is not currently using a software application for data management, chances are Excel spreadsheets are your method of choice. Spreadsheets will always have their place, of course, but let’s not pretend that they don’t leave a lot to be desired when it comes to the complexities of property data management.
What if you wanted to run a report that only includes specific data, omitting columns A through BC of your spreadsheet? That requires extra time and some serious manual editing. So how can you quickly produce a report with only the information you want — and not have to recreate the wheel each time you want this report again in the future?
The Solution: Time-Savings with Canned and Custom Reporting
When you have a robust property application, you can not only run reports featuring just the specific data you want to see. You can generate it in the exact order you need, in the format you need, while running the calculations and aggregates that help you better understand what you’re looking at.
While you’re at it, this system should allow you to create charts and diagrams, save it all in the system and then share it with the other users on the platform. And to top it all off, you should never have to worry about creating that report again, since a robust system should automatically update your reports when the data fields in your system are updated.
The right system will let you say goodbye to time-consuming editing and re-editing of report data. Instead, it should help make your data work for you, quickly and professionally.
Automation, Administration and Accountability
So whether you’re interested in saving time on routine administrative functions, mitigating risk, streamlining tasks or increasing accountability, a robust risk management software system can help you transform the way your organization operates.
To learn more about Centurisk’s AMP Property Risk Management software solution — or to learn more about our property appraisal services — email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to learn more about your organization’s needs and discuss what solution might be right for you.
About the Author
Ryan Tate resides in Pittsburgh, PA with his wife Kelly and two children, Raegan, 12, and Maddix, 8. When he’s not acting as regional director for Centurisk, he spends most of his free time coaching baseball, softball, basketball and soccer.