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When will brokers, insurers and consumers all be able to connect in real-time?


April 17, 2018   by Jason Contant


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With work continuing to enable real-time data exchange between brokers and insurers, the next logical step would be to bring consumers into the fold.

Pat Durepos, leader at software vendor Keal Technology, said that he sees consumer access to data in real-time as “the next big thing.” He used the example of a broker, carrier and consumer all connecting in real-time.

“So the role of the broker will be, ‘OK, where do I need to intervene in this?’” Durepos told Canadian Underwriter in an interview on Tuesday. “If somebody is simply asking their broker in real-time for a change of address, perhaps the broker will say, ‘I don’t need to intervene’ and that will go right through to the insurer.

“In a more complicated transaction, the broker should be able, within his BMS (broker management system), to say, ‘I am going to stop this transaction’ and pass it on to a broker that is going to in one way, shape or form intervene for the benefit of the consumer and then complete the transaction,” Durepos said.

He added that “our role at Keal is developing systems that will facilitate the communication between a consumer and the insurer with the support, but also with the control, of the broker.”

When asked when brokers, insurers and consumers may all be able to connect in real-time, Durepos said it’s important to look at the different types of transactions that a broker may assist with: a simple inquiry, policy change, request for a rating or pricing, billing inquiries and claims and cancellations. “Brokers are already doing some of those in real-time,” Durepos pointed out.

He said that every single transaction is not going to happen all at once, most likely there will be an examination of the transaction and line of business. “To me, what’s important is that we make continuous progress in adding lines of business and functionality,” he said. “As long as we continually evolve, the blue sky approach is not going to happen overnight, it’s going to happen piecemeal. If you wanted to throw all the money in the world and all the energy, you could get this within months.”

Interestingly, Durepos said, insurers are now approaching vendors like Keal for broker-insurer connectivity solutions in comparison to a few years ago, when vendors were trying to sell the products to carriers.

Durepos added that if brokers were able to increase their connectivity capabilities, they would be better prepared to compete with direct writers “hands down.”

Jeff Purdy, senior vice president of international operations with software provider Applied Systems, told Canadian Underwriter in early April that with their new “translation services” software, brokers could provide data distribution as effectively as direct distribution and enable the broker channel to better compete.

Purdy used the example of a digital broker’s sold policy on a mobile device. “If that transaction is finished in real-time, then the consumer can literally have policy documentation on their mobile device in real-time,” he said. “That is a really compelling value proposition that aligns with the direct channel,” Purdy said, with the “benefit of being a broker and providing advice and providing choice.”


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7 Comments » for When will brokers, insurers and consumers all be able to connect in real-time?
  1. James White says:

    Insurance premiums keep rising. Anything that can be done to streamline the process will be helpful in keeping costs in check! James White https://globalvis.com

  2. Mark C says:

    This was a disappointment like the Applied article last week. InsCo’s & brokers are working together to get data flowing. Now it’s looking like Applied and Keal are going to be outliers that are working to prevent an industry solution. Why? Their co specific solutions don’t help brokers. They just make them $$. They’re off base and brokers need to flex their muscle on this! InsCo’s & brokers are unanimous on the industry API hub. We hear of quick progress being made with ins co’s and other BMS & the self-service guys on the hub. I guess Keal is deciding to NOT support their brokers go forward by NOT supporting the hub. Pat bought the old technology company that did portals and integrations (iter8/?/hubio?). I’m no detective but I see how what Pat might want now would be different than vertafore. Portals & single carrier integrations instead of improved broker tools. This will cost vertafore market share in Canada. I’ll be directing any of my broker clients that ask to a product that supports the industry integration. It’s important to InsCo’s & brokers! Give Pat a call.

  3. Hira says:

    It really does seem like Applied and Keal are looking to preserve their historic integration money pumps. They are also the tech groups I would say have the worst mobile offerings for their users. Glad to hear that the other tech vendors have more of mind to the future and can see what an industry data exchange will help them do with their mobile offerings. We are evaluating our options for the future just now and we want to ensure we make the right choice. Keal had been on our list (we are currently with Applied and looking to change) but now I am not certain. We need all our markets accessible to us in our BMS.

  4. James S. says:

    I think we as brokers have let the tech providers chart the path for too long. And the reality is they are the reason that we are so limited in Canada on connectivity. The way I understand it is that they make more money off individual projects and that’s why getting the industry together has been so hard. I am very interested to hear more from tech providers who aren’t Keal or Applied now. I think they are becoming the greedy dinosaurs in the market and we brokers can make smarter choices by recognizing this. I agree that Keal and Applied really have spent no time or money on their mobile products. They are terrible. We are looking for great products to move forward with for our clients. We want to be their digital connection to insurance and we need the right partner to do this with. We also need the data we aren’t currently getting. From everybody. Brokers are modernizing. Why is greed preventing our providers from moving with us?

  5. John K says:

    I work in Digital for a large insurance company and we have no plans to work with BMS on single solutions. It costs us a huge amount of money and doesn’t help our brokers globally.

    We’re working on the IBAO POC right now and it is very promising. I know from where we stand it’s the only way forward.

    We’ve had discussions internally on what to do if Applied or Keal decide to sit this out (they had both been into our office and said they were participating but then put out conflicting press releases.) We will work with our brokers and aligned tech providers to bolster the options.

    We can’t be held hostage by tech vendors go forward.

  6. Jason says:

    Wait a minute. Pat bought iter8? In that case Keal will never want to do anything but portals and labour heavy individual integrations with insurance companies to keep iter8 in business. I guess we will start examining our options.

  7. Bob says:

    I am so tired of the limited companies we have to pick from for our brokerage. Applied always has tricks up their sleeve to get more money out of us or the insurance companies or both. Keal is now run with pretty obvious conflicting agendas. And none of this is getting us to the place where we as brokers can work entirely in our BMS. Or allowing us to service our customers in this new online world. I viewed the Aviva BMS awards with great skepticism but now that I see that even Keal has ulterior motives to keep us in portals and out of useful data integrations I will be looking harder at the new guys, despite how junior I know they actual are in this market.

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