August 23, 2017 by Canadian Underwriter
The long-standing objective of standardized real-time data exchange between insurance brokers and companies has taken a big step forward with Tuesday’s announcement that initial testing of the process has been successfully completed.
A team of players in Canada’s p&c insurance industry has announced completion of initial testing for the Broker Connectivity Accelerator, “designed to standardize the way insurance brokers send transactions to insurance companies and receive complete responses in real time,” several of Canada’s largest insurers report in a statement.
Beyond beginning and ending transactions in the BMS, the joint statement explains, the accelerator will enable “data to flow between systems electronically, without manual intervention or portal connections.”
The group engaged technology solutions provider Guidewire to develop the process in collaboration with software vendors Keal Technology and Custom Software Solutions, as well as the Centre for Study of Insurance Operations (CSIO) and Insurance Brokers Association of Canada.
The multi-stakeholder alliance is further strengthened by the backing of cloud-based software provider Applied Systems and Zycomp Systems, which develops computer management systems. Both companies report being fully supportive of the process and committed to working with brokers or insurers to foster its success, the statement adds.
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That success is expected to produce a number of benefits, including less time and reduced expenses for both brokers and insurance companies, the statement notes.
The process is expected to enhance the flow-through of transactions and reduce manual intervention. “With accurate, straight-through processing, brokers will be able to focus on much more value-added, premium-generating activities, such as proactive selling and servicing, and customer retention,” it emphasizes.
Tuesday’s positive testing “is central in developing a solution that will streamline new business, policy changes and inquiry integrations between insurance companies implementing Guidewire’s Policy Centre software and a broker’s BMS,” it adds.
Tracy Riley, vice president of business transformation for Wawanesa Mutual, comments that “BMS-carrier integration will enable us, over time, to reduce manual processes and focus on exception-based underwriting, which will result in quicker turnaround time for our brokers and policyholders.”
Beyond benefits for brokers and insurers, though, is that the improved data exchange “lays the necessary groundwork for enhancing the information brokers may provide to customers online,” the joint statement points out.
Since the CSIO standard information format and the process design are system-agnostic, “the same process and principles will be able to be employed with any system, even custom-built software, which can accept, digest and respond to standard CSIO messages,” the press release explains.
The new way of working is welcome, suggests Kathryn Curran, director of broker solutions at Economical Insurance.
“We’ve taken a step back as individual companies and are collaborating to develop a proof of concept together. All involved have co-funded and co-developed this with the collective interest of the customer and the broker at the heart of everything we are doing,” Curran emphasizes.
Testing will continue over the course of the summer, with the next step being for individual insurance companies using Guidewire to develop their respective roadmaps to deliver seamless integration.
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