The novel coronavirus appears to have put broker-carrier data exchange connectivity into a temporary state of suspended animation. But the pandemic is a time to push forward with industry-supported data exchange innovations, not put them on hold, one carrier has challenged.
“Let’s not use COVID-19 as an excuse to push off the work required to get broker integration moving at a faster pace,” Graham Haigh, vice president of broker distribution at Wawanesa Insurance Company, said during a webinar on the progress of the industry D/X Initiative. “In fact, we’d even be responding better to the pandemic if we made more advances — and earlier — on initiatives like D/X. Let’s use COVID-19 as a reason to move along at a quicker pace, not slower….
“Excuses are over. Data integration is past the stage of possibility. It’s now into the reality phase. Customer experience demands that we deliver on this as a partnership,” he added. “It’s time for insurers, brokers and vendors to get this going and require progress from each other. Niceties are so last-decade. Let’s just get things done.”
The D/X Initiative is a collaborative industry initiative based on a set of technology principles created a few years ago by the Insurance Brokers Association of Canada (IBAC). The D/X principles describe how real-time technology integration between insurance brokers, carriers, and other third-party partners should occur.
One of the key principles is that a transaction should start and end in a broker management system (BMS). The data should flow from broker to carrier systems (and back) electronically, transparently, without user intervention.
In the D/X Initiative itself, carriers pair up with BMS vendors to create codes for common, non-proprietary carrier-broker data transactions such as first notice of loss (FNOL), billing inquiries, policy changes, claims inquiries and loss runs (showing claims history). Once completed, the codes are bundled into Centre for the Operation of Insurance Operations (CSIO)-compliant “reusable services.” A completed reusable service is then posted into new Reusable Data Services (RDS) Library hosted by the industry’s data standards body, CSIO.
Once posted in the library, the reusable services are available to all CSIO members, allowing brokers and carriers to connect across multiple platforms in real-time. A reusable service for FNOL has already been posted in the RDS library. Other transactions are being prepared, but COVID-19 appears to have stalled the potential delivery of a reusable service for claims inquiry.
“Claims inquiry is a paused project,” reported webinar panellist Kim Opheim, IBAC broker technology and innovation consultant and INNOTECH advisory committee. “The insurance company that was involved paused it, stating that COVID was the reason for doing such.”
Meanwhile Aviva Canada and Applied Systems have partnered to create a reusable service for loss runs, which is continuing into the late stages of development. Wawanesa is working with CSSI and Keal-Vertifore on a reusable service for billing inquiry. IBAC worked with CSSI to create the reusable service template for the FNOL transaction, and Wawanesa is the first insurer in Canada to have completed a draft of the insurer’s side of the FNOL reusable service.
FNOL is the first (and is still the only) reusable service posted in the CSIO-hosted RDS library since 2018.
“Two years later, we still only have the original first notice of loss reusable data service in the library,” Opheim observed in the webinar. “We need our [BMS] vendors to step up and push forward and build a complete set of reusable data services covering the standard transactions that brokers use every day. Remember, no one vendor needs to do all the work. This is about collaboration and sharing non-proprietary know-how.”
Also, Opheim said, “specifically, I am asking the Top 10 insurers that support the broker channel to prioritize D/X Initiatives on their road maps. Prove that you do really support the channel and help us achieve critical mass on all of these workflows. Let’s get this done during the 2020-21 cycle.”