“We need better communication tools as an industry. There’s no question – we all agree on that,” said Rick Orr at the Insurance-Canada.ca Technology Conference.

Rick, owner of Orr Insurance & Investment, was speaking on a panel about broker-insurer connectivity featuring four members of the IBAO Technology Committee.

Modern data connectivity is one of the greatest hurdles facing insurance. Our Tech Committee is dedicated to ensuring that brokers remain competitive in the digital era. They outlined their solution in their presentation Roadmap to Digital Enablement at last week’s ICTC conference. “The goal is to better the entire industry,” said Adam Mitchell, owner of Mitchell & Whale.

What the committee presented is an API (Application Programming Interface) technology model that would complement and support the decentralized model that currently provides individual connections between carriers, technology vendors and third party companies. The API technology model is centralized – each party connects directly to a universal industry hub that facilitates and translates data transfers between all parties.

“What we need to do is gain critical mass to try and ensure that as many companies as possible can deal in real-time,” said IBAO CEO Colin Simpson. He explained that if there’s only partial adoption in the industry, brokers’ ability to service customers will still be limited by the carriers who’ll require manual transactions.

Greg Kruk, President of JWK Insurance, explained the benefits to all involved. “Carriers will have a quicker time to market, with fewer resources required; it’ll remove some of the custom work and testing. Tech vendors will add much-needed functionality to our BMSs, [experience a reduction] in maintenance and build efforts, and have access to additional data. The brokers, workflows and quote-to-buying times would be substantially less, as well as providing real-time data. For the industry as a whole, once again, quicker time to market and a true, consistent digital delivery system.”

Rick added, “And the clear benefit to the consumer is we’re delivering a much better product with more information and more data.”

Currently there are many examples of industry-wide technology solutions that benefit all parties. “A similar example is Interac — where competitors came together to collaborate,” said Adam. “If none of this launches and you can’t get alignment in the industry, this could turn into a story of the haves and the have-nots.”

Knowing that the technology works, the IBAO Tech Committee’s next step is conducting a feasibility study to see if there’s an appetite in the industry. “Part of the study is to determine if, as an industry, we want to collaborate,” said Colin. “Do we wish to collaborate, can we collaborate… let’s go from there.”

In the subsequent session at ICTC, Tom Reid, Executive Director of Aviva weighed in on the study: “I can tell you it’s feasible right now. Every other industry in the world is doing it this way.”

For more details, view the presentation deck or get in touch.