Transforming quote, bind and issue with APIs

17-05-2021

Underwriting application programming interfaces (APIs) make it possible to close and remarket much more business than before, aiding customer retention and helping carriers and brokers triage and boost volumes together. This is never more important than in today’s hardening market.

Cost-efficiency and underwriting effectiveness are also key concerns, with APIs central to reducing transaction costs for brokers, carriers and wholesalers, unlocking the long tail and turning unprofitable placements into profitable business.

At May’s Commercial Lines Innovation USA Virtual Event, Greg Boutin, chief executive officer of headline sponsor Relay Platform, will discuss how ready carriers and brokers are to adopt APIs, evaluate cost to build and demonstrate how to unlock new placement analytics to inform negotiations.

“Almost every facet of commercial lines insurance could do with a wider availability of instant quote capabilities.”

Boutin will also reveal the full results of an exclusive survey commissioned by Relay Platform and Intelligent Insurer, exploring the current trends in quoting, binding and issuing commercial insurance policies. Four key elements of the research’s findings are revealed here for the first time.

1. Technology is overwhelmingly positive for the quote, bind and issue (QBI) process
A massive 96 percent of respondents to the Relay Platform/Intelligent Insurer survey believe technology has the potential to improve the QBI process and most are investing in some solutions (78 percent).

APIs are of particular interest, with 86 percent believing they could transform a process most feel is currently too manual and too slow.

2. Access to preferred carriers has the potential to transform broker success

Being able to provide clients with access to the right carriers and policies is the lifeblood of successful brokers but only a little over half believe they are able to fulfil their clients’ needs this way (53 percent).

An element that would accelerate brokers’ ability to close business would be the creation of ‘carrier panels’—a set of preferred carriers whose terms and conditions are predetermined—with 80 percent of brokers expressing an interest in them.

However, fewer than half of brokers currently have access to such a panel (44 percent), with the majority that have been created serving small businesses (55 percent) or commercial property (50 percent)

3. Speed of quoting is key for both carrier and broker
Having access to the right information, instantly, is vital in a fast-moving and highly competitive commercial lines marketplace. While all responding brokers are able to access instant quotes for small business coverages, and 80 percent can access instant commercial auto quotes, there are still lags for the more niche or complex lines, such as employers’ liability and builders’ risk.

Brokers would most like to see instant quotes be more available in the general liability and ocean or inland marine sectors, but almost every facet of commercial lines insurance could do with a wider availability of instant quote capabilities.

The lack of instant quotes is not down to a reluctance to provide information on the insurers’ part. The majority of underwriters (95 percent) would like to be able to deliver quotes to brokers faster, while the same number either agree or strongly agree that making the broker experience better increases both volumes and loyalty of customers for carriers.

4. APIs remain a tantalising prospect for brokers and carriers
The potential unlocked by APIs, their flexibility and responsiveness to market conditions are highly attractive to both brokers and carriers, but also cited as the area most likely to be missing from their current systems.

Only a third of carriers offer instant quotes through an API, with a further 16 percent of respondents not even sure they have this capability. Given 86 percent of brokers feel they don’t have the right QBI technologies in place to manage the volume of business they would like to tackle, this is an area ripe for improvement.

It is striking the sheer number of respondents from both the broker and underwriter segments who feel technology will positively impact QBI in the future. There is a widespread understanding that things can—and must—change. How both parties respond to this change is already varying massively depending on line of business: cyber insurance is further down the road than medical liability, for example, possibly due to the sheer number of tech-savvy people in that particular line of business.

The roles of brokers and carriers are evolving. The fear of disintermediation is gradually being replaced by an understanding of how technology can augment human expertise and can, jointly, drive better customer experience and business outcomes.

During Relay’s exclusive presentation and panel participation at Commercial Lines Innovation USA, you can expect to understand what functions will be instrumental in improving broker performance and help overcome resistance to change.

Greg Boutin will be speaking at Intelligent Insurer’s Commercial Lines Innovation USA Virtual Event (May 18 to 20). The event is free to attend for insurers and brokers/agents, but you must register in advance. Sign up to access the content live and on demand here.

Relay Platform, APIs, Artificial Intelligence, insurance, Reinsurance, Commercial lines, Greg Boutin, North America

Intelligent Insurer