Why You Need Trained Insurance Professionals for COI Review
The Acord 25 form is a dense insurance document. Between having to review a COI for policy numbers and limits, effective dates, and expiration dates for the core four policies, you’re already looking at over 30 fields for potential non-compliance. This doesn’t begin to take into account extended coverages, Additional Insureds, Certificate Holders, or a variety of endorsements.
The forty members of the auditing team at Jones are experts in identifying mistakes and gaps on COIs. Since the company was founded we’ve reviewed over 1.5 million COIs and maintained a 99.5% accuracy rate. So, how do we train our auditors? We’ll dive into the process that helps us produce elite document auditors, and share some quizzes and exercises so you compare your skills in COI review against theirs. But first, here’s a high level summary of the selection and training process:
- Candidates take initial aptitude tests
- Selected candidates undergo a three month residency program, in which 30-50% of the cohort is dropped per week
- Auditors selected to join the team ramp up under the close supervision of team leaders
- After several months auditors become full members of the team and are entrusted with document review without supervision
Initial Selection of New Jones Auditors
The selection process to become a Jones COI auditor is thorough and demanding. Candidates are first required to take a variety of written and verbal assessments that test their attention to detail, critical thinking, pattern recognition, and other cognitive skills. Some of these assessments introduce potential Jones auditors to tricky insurance concepts and test their ability to quickly put new information into practice. Other assessments are focused on critical thinking and general aptitude.
For every 113 individuals initially tested and interviewed only one candidate ends up becoming a member of the team. That’s less than 1 percent. Our attrition rate is also exceptionally low (3 percent), with only one departure of a tenured auditor since Jones was founded. This level of consistency means minimal business interruption due to turnover, and allows our auditors to develop long-term familiarity with customers’ unique requirements for insurance review.
Note: interested in exploring how Jones can help you automate your compliance management end-to-end and de-risk your building? Talk to our team of experts today!
Building COI Review Skills in Our Extended Residency Program
Rather than make immediate hires based off of initial screening, the candidates who pass the first rounds of interviews and testing are then placed into a three-month residency program. It’s a process designed to seek out top performers who exhibit an aptitude for COI review. The first month of residency has our candidates immersed in a bootcamp of simulated audits where they‘re taught how to review COIs for compliance.
Potential auditors are evaluated not only by their ability to accurately review COIs but also by how efficiently they can process high volumes of documents without delays. Performance goals are evaluated on a weekly basis, and those who fall short of either accuracy or speed targets are incrementally filtered out of the program. Jones dismisses 30 to 50 percent of candidates each week. As a result, only the best and most consistent performers move forward. Think you can audit a COI like a Jones insurance expert?
POP QUIZ #1: Does the following section of a COI meet the requirements stated on the Jones platform?
What do you think?
The answer is that the document indicates partial compliance, but full compliance cannot be confirmed without additional review. Here’s how Jessica Lopes, Senior Auditing Operations Manager, would instruct a trainee to review this document:
“First I’d instruct an auditor to check if insured name matches the contract, and if the COI is signed. Then they move on to auditing the extracted requirements.
COI lists a valid General Liability policy, that has the required limit for Each Occurrence. The Waiver of Subrogation requirement is met as a result of the checkbox in the SUBR WVD column that shows they have one in their CGL policy.
However, the other requirements were not met on this section of the COI, so our auditors would have review the Description of Operations box and attached endorsements to identify if the coverage is present or not.
Beyond COI Review: Extracting Requirements from Leases and Checking Endorsements
During their training to become elite COI reviewers prospective members of the Jones will learn to review documents beyond just COIs. They’ll additionally learn how to extract insurance requirements from leases, which helps the Jones team build the requirement sets that future COIs are reviewed against. This complicated process involves sifting through large amount of legal jargon in long lease documents. Think you can handle a complicated lease extraction?
POP QUIZ #2: What is the single combined limit in the following lease? What content should NOT be extracted?
Have your answer ready?
You should’ve reached the conclusion that the limits are $1M for bodily injury and another $1M for property damage separately, together evidencing a combined single limit of $2M. Here’s Jessica explaining how Jones members are trained to extract requirements:
“The lease gives the tenant the option to evidence $1M for bodily injury and another $1M for property damage separately, or to evidence a combined single limit of $2M. We instruct our trainees to extract the combined single limit because that’s how CGL limits are typically evidenced.
We also instruct our trainees to ignore some CGL requirements that would be present in the policy forms. Why? These requirements are almost never evidenced on a COI. If we instruct our team to try to enforce them most vendors and tenants would be not compliant after review. These items should not be tracked on a COI, as typical ACORD forms don’t even have the structured boxes required for them to be evidenced.”
Our breadth of expertise makes us more than just a bunch of box checkers. Our insurance experts work to develop a more comprehensive understanding of insurance concepts to more effectively insulate customer organizations from risk.
Onboarding and Continuous Evaluation
Once past the first month, candidates move on to handling real-world accounts. They start with less complex assignments for customers with simpler requirements, gradually scaling to more challenging tasks over the following two months. None of their work during this period is delivered to customers unchecked. A dedicated QA team reviews all audits conducted by residents and provides feedback. While our reviewers are trained to read verbiage and make informed decisions based on their insurance knowledge, a system is in place to escalate edge cases to subject-matter experts and our licensed attorneys in cases of doubt or ambiguity.
Candidates join our team upon completion of the residency. However, progression to handling more demanding accounts is entirely performance-based. Auditors are only tasked with more complicated tasks as they consistently prove that they are able to keep up with the rigorous standards set by our team leads. Weekly team reviews ensure that auditors stay up-to-date with any changes or updates in insurance standards. In addition, we constantly update our single source of truth for insurance information. This hub of insurance information covers topics like policy types, common endorsements, state-specific auditing requirements, exclusions, and more. Ensuring our team has access to all the information is one way Jones equips its auditors for success.
Reviewing Endorsements with the Endorsement Index
The Jones auditing team also maintains and is trained on an endorsement index sorted by endorsement code where they track known equivalents. This living, breathing document changes and adapts as the commercial real estate and GC insurance industries continue to develop. Endorsements codes are continually added to the index after review by subject-matter experts, meaning our auditors are constantly involved in the pursuit of learning and upskilling. Additionally, other reviewers check the endorsement coverage by its code. The endorsement index gives our auditors a key resource to help resolve difficult audits.
Putting the Jones Team to Work for You
Our auditor training program ensures that when a Jones auditor reviews your COIs, it’s done with unparalleled precision and efficiency. The strength of our auditing program lies in our training process, and we are proud of both our high review standards and low attrition rates. By selecting only the best of the best, implementing a rigorous residency, easing new auditors in with supervised assignments, and continuing to prioritize learning and development, we have created a team of insurance experts who serve as the backbone of our COI review process. This expertise continues to manifest itself through our consistently expanding data set, and sets us apart from the lower standards of our competitors. Find out more about putting our team of insurance experts to work for your organization by filling out the form below.
P.S. Think you have the COI review skills required to be on the Jones auditing team? Take our final exam here.