Executive Conversations is a HousingWire web series that profiles powerful people in the financial industry, highlighting the operations and the people that make this sector tick. In the latest installment, we sit down with MGIC’s Jay Hughes and Margaret Crowley to learn more about MGIC’s new risk-based pricing engine, MiQ. Hughes is executive vice president of sales and business development and Crowley is vice president of marketing and customer experience.

Q: Risk-based pricing has been gaining momentum in the mortgage insurance industry for a few years. Why did MGIC decide to launch its own risk-based pricing engine now?

mgicJH: Many lenders have embraced risk-based pricing models because they allow for a more dynamic approach to delivering customized rates for each unique loan scenario. Our focus is on our customers and their experience. We continually ask how we can provide the best value and the best service.

MiQ was developed after listening to our customers talk about friction in their process and the need for work efficiency. While they are certainly looking for competitive MI rates, they’re also looking for a pricing engine that’s easy to use and seamlessly integrates into their existing processes.  

Q: How did MGIC’s emphasis on ease-of-use impact the development of MiQ?

MC: It was imperative that we deliver MiQ in a way that meant no disruption to our customers’ processes. MiQ is integrated with most major loan origination systems. Customers can also get quotes directly through the MiQ interface, which was designed to be simple, quick and painless.

At every point during MiQ development, we focused on improving the customer experience. And we’ll continue to tweak and improve MiQ based on feedback from our customers.

Whether acquired through a loan origination system or the MiQ interface, MiQ rate quotes will be honored for 90 days, as long as none of the loan characteristics have changed. 

Q: Tell us more about the MiQ interface itself.

MC: Customers who use the MiQ interface directly can fill in as few as 4 fields to compare multiple premium plans and get a quote. That’s because we analyzed loan characteristics to determine the most common scenarios, then designed MiQ to populate most fields with default values.

In fact, we populate more fields with default values than other risk-based pricing engines, so MiQ requires fewer pieces of information to return a quote. While they can be easily changed, these defaults make it simple for customers to get in, get a quote, and get on with their day.

In addition, we designed MiQ to be mobile-responsive for a consistent user experience across all devices. Customers can use MiQ from their phones with full access to every feature.

Q: How did MGIC’s history and longevity in the industry inform your approach to risk-based pricing?

JH: Technology has changed dramatically during the history of MGIC. Max Karl founded MGIC and today’s private mortgage insurance industry more than 60 years ago by looking for a better way to help people afford homes with less than 20% down. That ethos remains with us – we’re always looking for a better way. So when it came time for MGIC to provide risk-based pricing, we started with that mindset: How can we make this process better for our customers?

While MiQ may be new, what hasn’t changed is our commitment to customer service, which has always set us apart. Our customers want and deserve the convenience of quick, competitive pricing through an engine like MiQ – but they also know we’ll always pick up the phone when they call.