Canadian Underwriter

The ‘big area of inefficiency’ for brokers

November 8, 2018   by Greg Meckbach

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The holy grail for brokers, of having their computers talk directly to carriers’ computers, is “going to happen,” an InsurTechTO speaker suggested Wednesday.

“The big area of inefficiency is still duplicate entry,” Michael Loeters, senior vice president of commercial insurance at Prolink Insurance Inc., said Wednesday during an InsurTechTO panel in Toronto.

Loeters was referring to the fact that many brokerage workers have to enter the same information on their clients twice – once into the BMS and a second time into the insurance carrier’s system.

“We can take all the stuff into our system but we cannot send it to an insurance company electronically in a lot of cases,” said Loeters. “I have to take everything that is being put into my system and I have to re-enter it into your portal or whatever. It’s so archaic.”

Several different efforts are underway to address this problem of brokers having to enter data multiple times.

For example, the Insurance Brokers Association of Canada launched Data Exchange (D/X) this past summer. The aim is to have software vendors, carriers and brokers work with each other to build communications software, including application programming interfaces, that would let BMSs talk to the carriers’ computers.

As part of D/X, the Toronto Insurance Council worked on a first notice of loss proof of concept project. In a white paper released Wednesday, TIC said a BMS was able to send data on a claim to the carrier electronically, and that the carrier sent a reply to the BMS confirming the claim had been opened.

Currently, if a broker gets a call from a client reporting a loss, the broker has “a number of different ways,” such as phone, fax or email, to report that to the insurer, former TIC president Brenda Rose said this past August at the D/X launch.

In addition to claims, APIs could be built to enable BMSs to send billing inquiries, or policy changes to carriers without forcing brokerage staff to enter information twice.

The next steps in rolling out D/X include a “data services library” that different companies could use. Instead of making its own API from scratch, the company could use a software application from the library and just do a “small incremental amount of development to make it work” for them, Loeters said this past August at the D/X launch.

Direct communication between the BMS and carrier’s system “is going to happen,” Loeters said Nov. 7 at InsurTechTO.

“Is everyone going to come on board? No. Is everyone going to come on board at the same time? No. it’s going to be a couple of innovative leaders who are a) technologically capable of doing it, and b), have the willingness to do it.”

Loeters made his remarks at a panel titled Implementing InsurTech Best Practices in Broker Distribution. InsurTechTO was held at the Sheraton Centre across the road from Toronto City Hall.

Loeters, who started a dot-com during the late 90s, is currently co-chair of IBAC’s technology committee and a former president of TIC. Before joining Prolink, Loeters was in both the technology and insurance industries, previously working for Chubb, Jones Deslauriers and BFL Canada.

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2 Comments » for The ‘big area of inefficiency’ for brokers
  1. Reg Donaldson says:

    Wow. How was the biggest initiative underway in the insurance industry in the past 20 years – brokerflow – been left out of this article? This is shocking. I think this pet project continues to create a whole lot of noise about a whole lot of nothing while the actual progress being made by the core of the industry is being ignored in the media. There also is a low level of tech knowledge at play with the concept of a reusable services library. I have seen this pointed out to the gentleman countless times. It is not something that could ever be a company reality.

  2. JDC says:

    I get confused on the IBAC messaging. This gets even more hard to understand when they have their spokespeople get out in front of crowds to talk on the issues facing brokers today. What they say makes very little sense in terms of reality. I have to believe that they think they are helping. But this recap clearly shows they are off the mark.

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