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Operational steroids: How APIs will make or break underwriting

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Published on:19th April 2024
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Manual processes have plagued the insurance industry for decades. Underwriters spend countless hours sifting through data and paperwork. Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) offer a solution by automating tedious tasks. In simple terms, APIs act as digital bridges of code that allow devices, software applications, and data servers to communicate with each other and provide responses.

Embracing Automation Through API Technology

This year, more insurance carriers will improve their operations through automation including the adoption of API-enabled technology. At Send, we believe in staying ahead of the curve. In the latest installment of our INFUSE webinar series, titled “The Year of the API,” our panelists, Matt Carter, Practice Director at Altus Specialty Markets, Ryan Seager, Head of Operations at TruStar Underwriting, and our Co-founder and CTO, Matt McGrillis, discussed why APIs are the insurance industry’s make-or-break moment.

Matt McGrillis, CTO and Co-founder at Send:

“APIs must be a primary consideration from the outset. Applications need to anticipate how functions will be called right from the start. Trying to retrofit APIs onto existing applications, especially legacy ones, can be challenging and as systems become more interconnected, the need for integration arises. However, retrofitting can lead to inefficiencies and complexities. From a technical standpoint, the design may not be optimized for API consumption.”

Their impact on the insurance industry is undeniable, fostering efficiency, improved decision-making, and a reimagined customer experience. Imagine an API that retrieves weather records or property information instantly, eliminating the need for manual data entry. This streamlining translates to faster processing times, reduced errors, and significant cost savings. Without them, information gets stuck, clicks pile up, and valuable time is wasted as underwriters attempt to weave through a complex web of business processes, often requiring navigation across multiple systems and data silos.

Recognizing this inefficiency, Ryan Seager, Head of Operations at TruStar Underwriting, advocates for the integration of APIs to revolutionize the underwriting journey. Seager describes APIs as “operational steroids,” emphasizing their ability to expedite processes and minimize waste. By assessing inefficiencies within their business, Seager’s team identifies areas ripe for optimization, focusing on reducing clicks and screens necessary to pass data through the system. With API technology, underwriting teams, administrative staff, and brokerage teams within a brokerage can operate more efficiently and competitively.

“As market cycles ebb and flow, our ability to adapt and remain competitive hinges on streamlining our operations,” Seager explains. “API integration offers a solution to the challenges we face, propelling us towards a more integrated digital ecosystem.”

Meeting Customer Demands with API Integration

From a value chain perspective, customers are increasingly seeking cost-effective solutions, especially during soft market cycles. This puts pressure on brokers to safeguard their clients from aggressive competitors. Consequently, service quality becomes paramount for both brokers and underwriters.

“We’ve observed situations where mere hours can determine the success or failure of a deal due to intense competition,” says Seager. “Streamlining data collection and processing, reducing clicks and screens, are vital strategies for underwriters to stay competitive.”

Amidst the pricing and product strategies, it’s the quality of service that truly sets insurers apart. By leveraging APIs to trim wasteful practices and optimize workflows, insurers create an ecosystem where everyone thrives. Underwriters work with agility, administrative teams operate seamlessly, and brokers navigate transactions with ease.

Customers can now ditch the lengthy application processes and enjoy a frictionless insurance experience. APIs can integrate with claims processing systems, enabling faster resolution and improved customer satisfaction. But the path to an API-driven future isn’t without hurdles. Legacy systems, often siloed and incompatible, can pose a significant challenge. Robust security measures are paramount to ensure that sensitive data remains protected.

Despite these challenges, forward-thinking insurers are recognizing the transformative potential of APIs and taking proactive steps to overcome barriers to adoption. By investing in modernization initiatives and prioritizing API-first approaches, insurers can unlock new opportunities for growth and differentiation in a competitive marketplace. Organizations need to recognize the pivotal shift towards an API-first approach, understanding that it’s not just about being digitally savvy but also ensuring a human touch in processes, particularly evident in areas like robo underwriting. It’s a symbiotic collaboration between people and technology.

“The API-first mindset emphasizes the interconnectedness inherent in our business propositions. We’re not merely consumers of data; we’re active participants in a reciprocal exchange, leveraging connections for mutual benefit,” Carter asserts. “Transitioning from an API-first mindset to a comprehensive strategy involves proactive engagement in producing and disseminating APIs to stakeholders, whether partners, distributors, or even upstream principals,” he continues. “API-first isn’t just about consuming data; it’s about actively sharing and leveraging connections to drive innovation and business growth.”

The Evolution of Underwriter Workbenches

As organizations shift from traditional single-system workflows to more diverse approaches, APIs become invaluable tools. The evolution of underwriter workbenches reflects this change, accommodating a wide range of data sources and aiming for seamless user experiences. APIs facilitate this transition by eliminating constraints and empowering organizations to orchestrate information according to their unique needs. By breaking down data into manageable components, APIs offer underwriters the flexibility to tailor information presentation, ensuring timely access to pertinent data.

APIs take away restrictions and control back into the consumer, and the consumer organization so they can orchestrate that information in the best way that suits their resources and users. By splitting it up into little components, APIs give flexibility back to the underwriter when they’re presenting information. This is the direction organizations are going and they’re recognizing APIs allow them to get the right information at exactly the right time.

Missed the webinar?

No problem, you can watch the recording here: send.technology/webinars/ or click here to learn more about our approach to APIs.




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