What Keeps Me Up At Night?

In the world of IT, there are many things that keep CIOs up at night: security, privacy, agility, and a bunch of other (very relevant) buzz words. For me, however, the biggest issue is integration.

The world of excess and surplus lines agents, carriers, and wholesaler/brokers is full of data entry redundancy, mostly caused by lack of integration. One of the reasons integration isn’t happening full scale is lack of integration points. Fortunately, one thing that’s not missing is lack of willingness, so hope is abundant.

The policy lifecycle in my world is the same as anyone else’s, except that we have more touch points along the value chain.

For example, agents communicate with one or more MGAs, who communicate with many carriers. Those communications happen along transactional boundaries for things like multi-carrier indications, quoting, binding, and issuing policies (among others).

All the while, much of the same policyholder and risk information is passed along, usually re-entered. There’s the problem statement—and it is very well known and documented. Interestingly, the answer is equally well known and documented. 

Systems integrate through data communications. Nothing new there. Standards exist that specify what data is shared for each of the transactions we need (i.e., ACORD).

In addition, vendors have solutions that enable us to communicate with agents and carriers (and we can build these ourselves) through various means. If I have the standards, the software, the communication means, and cooperation, what’s the problem?

The problems are simply that many systems don’t provide the required services and don’t support the standards. By “systems” I mean that all along the value chain: our systems, agency systems, and carrier systems.

To remedy this on our end, we’re building our own web services around the vendors. In doing so, we’re opening the lines of communication to the “outside world” (i.e., our business partners). It sounds so simple, yet for many companies, it simply hasn’t happened yet. Once the door is open, so to speak, we’ll be able to exchange information with any partner that supports the same standards.

Interested in more Frank Neugebauer Insights on Technology? Click Here

I recently attended the American Association of Managing General Agents (AAMGA) technical conference, where I saw members of the E&S Working Group talk about the “war on key strokes.” That group, as much or more than any other, can lead the effort because they know who’s involved and can take action to enable integration.

As an MGA and carrier, the company I work for is joining this fight by building the bridges to our partners, and I know many others are doing the same. All the pieces are in place: standards, software, communications, and willingness. The rest is a simple matter of making it happen. By “simple,” I mean not impossible.

As the industry connects the dots by integrating systems, substantial benefits immediately arise:

  • Time savings by eliminating redundant key strokes.
  • More accurate data due to less re-typing, leading to reduced errors and omissions problems.
  • Individuals in the value chain who can concentrate on their role in the chain, instead of being data entry experts.
  • A reduced overall cost of doing business because of the efficiencies gained.

Thanks to the efforts of many people spanning the insurance value chain and brought together by standards organizations, the integration problem is getting easier to solve. As companies create integration points, the biggest problem on my mind becomes smaller and smaller.

About the Author
Frank Neugebauer

Frank Neugebauer

Frank Neugebauer joined United Educators (UE) in 2012 as its first Chief Information Officer. He brings extensive experience in insurance and technology to UE. Neugebauer formerly served as CIO at the Kaufman Financial Group and CTO at ACORD.

Comments

Resource Center

View All »

Complimentary Case Study: Helping achieve your financial goals By:...

Find out how a Special Investigation Union used TLOxp to save the company money and...

Do Your Clients Hold The Right CDL License?

Learn about the various classes of CDL Licenses and the industries that are impacted by...

Integrated Content & Communications: A Key Business Issue For Insurers

Insurers are renewing their focus on top line growth, and many are learning that growth...

High Risk Insurance Coverage in the E&S Market

Experts discuss market conditions, trends and projected growth in a rapidly changing niche.

Top E-Signature Security Requirements

This white paper covers the most important security features to look for when evaluating e-signatures...

EPLI Programs Crafted Just For Your Clients

Bring us your restaurant clients, associations and other groups and we’ll help you win more...

Is It Time To Step Up And Own An Agency?

Download this eBook for insight on how to determine if owning an agency is right...

Claims - The Good The Bad And The Ugly

Fraudulent claims cost the industry and the public thousands of dollars in losses. This article...

Leveraging BI for Improved Claims Performance and Results

If claims organizations do not avail themselves of the latest business intelligence (BI) tools, they...

Top 10 Legal Requirements for E-Signatures in Insurance

Want to make sure you’ve covered all your bases when adopting e-signatures? Learn how to...

Tech Digest eNewsletter

Technology related insights for insurance professionals including key developments, solution providers and news briefs from the carrier front – FREE. Sign Up Now!

Advertisement. Closing in 15 seconds.