APIs, blockchain, and cybersecurity, oh my! While none of these general concepts are new, implications and use cases are continuously emerging for the insurance world. The Agents Council for Technology (ACT) Executive Director Ron Berg and ACT Program Manager Ginny Winkworth recently joined me to discuss key technology trend takeaways from the latest ACT Summit.
APIs: Connecting the Industry
An API - or application programming interface - is the connection between multiple sets of services or transactions. The primary goal of the APIs for the insurance industry is to create and provide services where your industry partners are.
What Is the Impact?
APIs can help build microservices and be a support system for services in the industry. We’re seeing APIs cross over from Personal Lines to the world of Commercial Lines. APIs have started to be used in Commercial Lines for billing, quote and bind, and other services along the distribution lifecycle. It’s expected that this will continue to expand as new technology continues to emerge.
Commercial Lines is a hotbed of innovation right now.
API implementation requires planning and goal setting. Below are some important considerations to think about before deciding to use an API.
Have a use case established before approaching your industry partners. Whether it is for billing, quoting and binding, or another process, think through the services you want to connect with an API and have a use case example in mind.
Define what problem you are trying to solve with the API. Contemplate the customer experience you want to create and how the API will help.
Ensure the API is multi-purpose. You want an API that will help with multiple stages in the lifecycle, from sales to service.
While APIs have lived more in the insurer world within the sales funnel, industry professionals are now realizing that servicing APIs are equally important for the industry.
Blockchains: Transparent Transactions
Blockchain is a decentralized way to record or organize transactions in a database or ledger. This allows multiple parties to share data securely. Since each transaction is recorded in one block of data, the transactions are irreversible and locked together – becoming a chain.
Blockchains embrace transparency so all who have permission to see that transaction are able to see details from end to end.
What Blockchain Is Not
Blockchain is not just Bitcoin, although it is the technology that enables Bitcoin. It does not eliminate intermediaries or the need for a banking system – it is supplemental. Blockchain is also not one single entity. There are thousands of them out there.
Insurance Specific Use Cases in Development
There are currently use cases being developed for blockchains specific to the insurance industry, including:
- First Notice of Loss
- Proof of Insurance
- Certificates of Insurance
- Surety Bonds – Power of Attorney and Bond Execution & Verification
- Title Transfer
Future Industry Blockchain Possibilities
While the possibilities are endless, Ginny shared some examples she has heard regarding possibilities, including:
- Automation of Claims Settlements
- Loss Exposure Data
- Payment Reconciliation
- Internet of Things
- Total Loss
“I find the Internet of Things quite interesting. Perhaps a cracked windshield could self-detect and kick off the claims process,” Ginny said. “Any losses and incidents could be captured on a blockchain.”
Blockchains are in the early development for the insurance industry, and we expect to see more of the implications in 2022 and beyond.
One unfortunate technology trend targeting the industry that isn’t going away is cybercrime. Cybercriminals are after your valuable data through ransomware, phishing, and social engineering. It is important to think about cybersecurity implications and protect your data. This includes questioning links and emails and working with your IT professional partners for guidance.
The idea is to make our businesses as small of a target as possible.
According to Risk-Based Security, the insurance industry is now the second highest-targeted sector of all. ACT has resources to help with cybersecurity including an agency cyber guide and cybersecurity policy template.
Less Is More
Ivans believes in the power of purging paper and leveraging technology to best serve your industry partners. This blog is based on the latest webinar in the Less Is More series of webinars focused on the benefits of going paperless. Find out more in the Less Is More Resource Hub.
Director of Product Management
Mark Harrison is Director of Product Management at Ivans, where he has worked since 2017. Previously, he worked at an independent agency and has more than 15 years of insurtech experience.