Canadian Underwriter

CSIO calls APIs for policy inquiries ‘foundational’

April 4, 2022   by Canadian Underwriter Staff

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Recent publication of API standards for policy inquiries for personal auto, habitational, individually rated commercial automobile (IRCA) and commercial general liability (CGL) are the foundational use cases to begin improving carrier and broker connectivity communications.

“These 24 policy inquiry use cases are foundational for advancing JSON data standards in the industry,” said Catherine Smola, president and CEO of the Centre for Study of Insurance Operations (CSIO). “We will continue to work with our members to build on these policy inquiry foundational use cases year after year.”

Recent publication of the API policy inquiry standards mean the framework’s now in place to build out additional transactional use cases – quotes, binds, cancellations, policy amendments and more.

Earlier this month, CSIO announced its Innovation and Emerging Technology (INNOTECH) API working groups had published standards using Java Script Object Notation (JSON). JSON APIs are the preferred API digital standard format. Enhancements are designed to facilitate exchanges between brokers’ and insurers’ systems.

“Let’s look at pain points that API standards addresses. We’re a data-heavy industry. Multiple players – insurers, vendors and brokers – means requesting or transferring information using different portals, platforms, processes,” she said. “The systems weren’t designed to talk to one another, which leads to manual processes and multiple authentications to get information. This causes major slowdowns.

“Like an adapter, an API can make it all fit together.”

She said JSON is the state-of-the art technology for real-time data interchange for APIs.

“Once a partnered vendor and insurer implement these JSON API Standards into their systems, brokers will no longer have to access client policy information via an insurer’s portal, or by calling the insurer directly,” she added. “This real-time, inter-system data exchange is not only seamless for brokers and insurers, it ultimately benefits the customer as well.”

Those benefits include:

  • Removing hassle of multiple portals, processes and authentications.
  • Creating fluid information delivery.
  • Real-time access to policy information in a broker management system.
  • Brokers can provide improved customer servicing experience

With standards now available to members, it’s up to vendors and carriers to review the documentation and program the standards into their systems.

“Some carriers have already started. As we develop more use cases, I think you’re going to see a heightened implementations because carriers will have more transactions to implement,” said Smola.

She noted all major carriers are participating in the working groups responsible for developing both the business and technical requirements. Last month, the INNOTECH advisory committee finalized its 2022 API development roadmap. It contains use cases that were prioritized based on input from committee members, including the Insurance Brokers Association of Canada (IBAC) broker representatives.

The roadmap has the full support of both CSIO’s and IBAC’s boards. The API working groups are now moving forward with defining business requirements, developing schemas and publishing the JSON API Standards for use cases on the list, which includes quote/bind, policy amendments and cancellation.

The 2022 API priority use cases approved by committee members include:

  • Create quote submission
  • Get quote
  • Request bind
  • Policy amendment of details
  • Policy amendment – addition
  • Policy amendment – deletion
  • Cancellation
  • Create first notice of loss
  • Get claims status
  • Amend payment details

“How quickly published standards translate into implementation depends on where participants are in development/updating of internal systems. Many carriers are modernizing their legacy policy management systems, therefore the timing of implementing the API standards largely depends on their own platform modernization timelines,” Smola said. “For these carriers, it does not make sense to make API implementation investments on their legacy systems but rather wait and implement the standards on their new platforms.”

While it’s not yet possible to quantify how much time these new linkages will save brokers, Smola said real-time exchanges are expected to create efficiencies.

“Once we get more and more of those use cases programmed, then we will undertake an actual member survey to try and quantify real-time data connectivity savings,” she said.


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