Creating Frictionless Workflows for Surplus Lines

Creating Frictionless Workflows for Surplus Lines

Surplus lines are fairly complicated. We have different states with different tax rates. We have different tax types and different policy types as well. So how do we create frictionless workflows in the surplus lines business?

In this article, we discuss three ways to build effective workflows.

1: Improve Communication

Poor communication is a typical bottleneck that agencies experience. Surplus lines require the collective work of several people at your agency. Effective communication is essential for coordinating everyone’s efforts. Start by evaluating your communication channels:

   -What are your current communication methods?

   -Are there any gaps in your communication as an agency?

   -How can you improve your communication across teams?

Frictionless workflows need everyone to be on the same page. Clear channels of communication make it possible for your processes to flow.

2: Identify Inefficiencies

As you evaluate your current workflows, strive to identify inefficiencies in your processes. You can do this by answering the following questions:

    -Do we have to do it this way?

    -Why do we do it this way?

    -Do I understand all the moving parts of our agencies?

    -Do I have access to other options?

    -What is each person’s role in our agency?

Answering these questions helps you better understand the processes you are currently doing. With that context, you can decide if they need improvement or not.

3: Build Workflows

Once you’ve established clear communication methods and identified inefficiencies, it’s time to build your workflows. Creating better workflows in your agency requires five things:


Organization: Having clear organization is an important aspect of frictionless workflows. Your organization systems need to be shared by all members of your agency. Having one organization process for your entire agency keeps everything streamlined. Additionally, all of your data needs to be organized in one central location. This can be done in spreadsheets or by using surplus lines management software.


Skills: Another key to building workflows is utilizing employees with valuable skill sets. In the surplus lines industry, spreadsheets are heavily relied on. Training or hiring employees with spreadsheet skills will benefit your workflow processes. Some of these skills include expertise in functions (ie: VLOOKUP, CONCATENATE, SUMIF), building out Macros, and creating pivot tables. Utilizing individuals with these skills can help you design efficient workflows.


Automation: Surplus lines are quite complex. However, there are several ways automation can create simplified workflows in your agency. Technology solutions can help you automate invoices, reminders, or uploading your files to the state in batches. Automation is a great way to minimize errors and save your agency time and money.



Training and Evaluation: For your workflows to run smoothly, your agency needs to standardize your processes. Next, train your employees on those standards. Then, frequently evaluate how your employees measure up to those standards. Without standards and without proper training and evaluation, your employees don’t know what you expect from them. This makes it difficult to determine the quality of your work and if you can keep up with your current workload.



Surplus lines are complex, but your agency can use workflows to keep everything running smoothly.  Your workflows help you stay compliant and avoid missed deadlines and penalties. Creating frictionless workflows can take some time. But once these processes are in place, your team is better equipped to manage your workload and produce quality work. 

InsCipher is an insurtech company providing software and services that are revolutionizing inefficient insurance processes. Save your agency time and money by automating surplus lines compliance, filing, and reporting. Want to learn more? Request a free demo today

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