Risk and insurance managers that in charge of managing multinational insurance programs are faced with a dynamic environment when it comes to complying with differences in regulations, jurisdictions and market practices.
Manual data management practices prevail
In addition, there is a multitude of internal and externals stakeholders involved, whose collaboration needs to be managed and monitored as well. This means a lot of work when it comes to exchanging data between local business units, the corporate insurance headquarter and service providers such as insurers, brokers loss adjusters or risk engineers.
Believe it or not: Even in 2018 this data is still exchanged in a widely ungoverned way through emails where documents and Excel sheets are attached, reconciled and consolidated and finally agreed to make sure that all parties are aligned around what actually is the right data.
While personal lines insurers and financial services companies have long used application programming interface (API) technology, it has been slow to catch on among commercial lines insurers despite the obvious advantages of consistency and efficiency gains for both, corporate customer and insurer.
In order to put an end to “Management-by-Excel-Sheets” and the proliferation of data silos in an international risk & insurance context, insurers are exploring how technology can help to get customer and insurer systems to talk to each other with the goal of improving data management efficiency and data consistency.
While not a new technology, APIs provide the long-needed link to allow for information between insurers and customers to be exchanged much faster than by traditional methods. The API technology allows
- Getting critical risk and insurance data in front of users faster,
- Eliminating re-keying errors and
- Speeding up the customer’s insurance management and loss prevention processes.
Zurich first used the technology with Switzerland-based Nestlé in a successful pilot, in which the My Zurich API was leveraged to allow real-time sharing of data such as invoices, policies, claims data and risk engineering information between the My Zurich portal and Nestlé’s Risk Management Information System RiskConsole (a data management and analytics platform developed by Ventiv Technology and designed to meet the needs of modern risk and insurance management).
The API advantage
API technology is well-suited for multinationals that have international programs with a broad geographic reach and a number of lines of business with a single insurer.
We therefore see the following four strong benefits of using APIs :
1. Real-time data sharing
Through APIs, insurers can share claims, policies, invoices and risk engineering data directly through with their customers' risk management system or proprietary database. This is information may reside in systems such as the My Zurich customer portal or other internal claims, policy or underwriting systems.
2. Higher efficiency
The efficiency part of APIs is about eliminating the need to re-key data from one system to another and making sure that data and information can be shared seamlessly between each other.
3. Better consistency
With APIs insurers can share their standard data models with customers thus ensuring high consistency around the data and the information that is shared (naming conventions, meanings, calculations, etc.). Thinking in a wider context, the customer's risk management information system could become that one single point of truth (or SPOT), where all corporate risk and insurance data flows together from various internal and external systems.
4. Reduced dependency
Multinational companies generate vast amounts of data that help them manage their risks. Until now, that meant dealing with a number of systems operated by various service providers. That is not efficient from a customer perspective and can lead to data dependencies which comes at a high price when having to switch providers. A more efficient way is to allow service providers such as insurers, risk engineers, loss adjusters and others to provide data directly to the customer’s risk information management system.
The example of a multinational company has shown to be beneficial for both insurer and customer, because both sides benefit from substantially reduced efforts that are needed today when it comes to manual re-keying, reconciliation and exchanging data.
The ultimate goal: provide the data foundation for informed decision-making
We at Ventiv believe that APIs will become the de-facto standard of exchanging data and information in an efficient way between corporate insurance buyers and their service providers, especially in an international insurance context.
Ultimately, having trustworthy, complete and up-to-date risk and insurance data in one central place is the basis for the highest possible transparency and will allow risk managers make better and more informed decisions.
This blog post ist based on an article published by Zurich Insurance Company. The original article can be found here.
Bjoern is Business Development Manager at Ventiv Technology Germany. Get in touch with him: firstname.lastname@example.org