If there is one consistent complaint among active Internet users, it is the requirement for multiple sign-ons and passwords for different sites. A group of independent agents, agency management system vendors, and insurance carriers in the US has come up with a solution that simplifies connectivity within their community.
The concept is referred to as ‘ID Federation’. Essentially, it is a set of standards and agreements that allow a single sign-on which will be ‘federated’ among a group of organizations. When a user signs-on, his/her credentials will be passed to other organizations where she/he has rights.
The concept is simple, but the security and legal requirements are not. To take this on, a group of pioneering organizations set up a not-for-profit company, ID Federation, Inc. which would steer the processes. These first movers consist of three insurers (Hanover, Progressive, The Hartford), two agency system vendors (Vertafore and Applied Systems), and two independent Agencies ( BB&T Insurance Services, and Slocum Insurance Agency).
At this week’s ACORD/LOMA Insurance Systems Forum, the organization announced that the technical and legal challenges have been addressed sufficiently to allow the organization to accept applications for additional participants to help take the concept to reality.
To date, testing has gone well and BB&T have been using the approach with The Hartford. Grey Nester of BB&T said that this has significantly improved workflow within his offices. Jim Rogers, from The Hartford, echoed this sentiment. “We eliminated support call issues from a identification perspective,” Rogers said.
While the activities are now limited to the agency -company connection, the same principles can allow consumers connect to an agency and through the agency’s systems to other Federation members (into the company’s system to check claims or billing status, for instance).
There is more development work required and the ID Federation has set up four working groups to get input from a wider group of participants on additional legal, use case, technical and management issues.
Additional details can be found on the the ID Federation’s website. At this point, the ID Federation is restricting its work to the US, but agrees that expanding internationally would be desirable in the longer term.