- Where Insurance & Technology Meet

Industry Collaboration to enhance the Digital Ecosystem

By Steve Whitelaw, Vice President – Industry & Partner Relations, Applied Systems

Digitization is transforming the insurance world. The ability to streamline manual, paper-intensive activities allows brokers access to information at any time and optimize everyday procedures for better customer service. One area that has historically challenged brokers with manual, paper-intensive tasks is commercial lines.

The inefficient journey begins when a broker collects all of the relevant data for applications, often times receiving incomplete or inaccurate data from customers and prompting multiple calls to the customers. The broker may also send insufficient data to multiple insurers due to each insurer having their own requirements for the data submitted. This leads to more calls to and from insurers and limited ability to track transactions.

Brokers have faced these inefficient processes for years, however, the industry is coming together to solve this challenge. Applied and insurer partners are working together to align on data elements to deliver real time quoting and binding, and bring them to the insurance ecosystem to ultimately improve the entire commercial lines experience for insureds.

In the recent Applied provincial broker seminars, CSIO shared the results of a survey they commissioned with the Conference Board of Canada indicating that 91% of insurance brokers said they are more likely to do business with insurers that use commercial lines data standards.

Why has this been such a long time coming?

With so much inefficiency throughout the industry and the support behind creating data standards, it seems like a natural step to a better ecosystem. CSIO presented four main issues:

  • Complexity in commercial lines: Because commercial lines quoting is more complex than personal lines, it was difficult to determine where to start.
  • Limited time and resources: Insurers have had limited time and resources to program data standards.
  • Lower priority for insurers system upgrade : Assumptions of slow uptake of the data standards among industry peers and risk avoidance in investment.
  • Requires high industry-wide adoption: Data standards could only be successful if the entire industry, including insurers, brokers and vendors, used them.

While these issues have been barriers historically, broker demand has strengthened the cause for industry-wide data standards. In fact, the Conference Board of Canada survey indicated that 94% of brokers support the move towards industry-wide implementation of data standards in commercial lines.

Applied, among other technology providers and vendors, insurers and broker networks, is working to digitize and improve the data collection and submission processes for all commercial lines business. The industry collaboration driven by CSIO is focused on small and medium-sized (SME) business data and question sets, given that SME businesses make up the majority of businesses in Canada. The large frequency of SME transactions paired with consistent, reliable data position digital technology to enable efficient operating models, tailored customer experiences, such as real time quoting, and analytical capabilities.

Where to?

As the industry comes together to create a more digital ecosystem, it is important that brokers also adopt the technology to capture risk information, service their customers and automate round-trip rate, quote and bind processes. Data-driven commercial lines processes allow brokers to reach customers and prospects across more channels to provide a collaborative, digitized application and policy experience, eliminating reliance on traditionally paper-laden, expensive processes while increasing conversion and renewal rates.

The time is now for the industry to come together to create more digital and efficient workflows for all stakeholders. It is critical for brokers to speak to their insurer partners regarding their interest in commercial lines data standards and automation. The more interest brokers can show, the more insurers will participate and the more digitized the entire ecosystem will become.

If you missed one of our Provincial Broker Seminars or want to learn more about the Canadian Commercial Lines journey, I’d encourage you to watch the highlights.

About The Author

Steve Whitelaw is the Vice President of Industry & Partner Relations at Applied Systems. He brings more than 20 years of leadership experience within the insurance industry to the global enterprise insurance software marketplace.

About Applied Systems

Applied Systems is the leading global provider of cloud-based software that powers the business of insurance. Recognized as a pioneer in insurance automation and the innovation leader, Applied is the world’s largest provider of agency and brokerage management systems, serving customers throughout the United States, Canada, the Republic of Ireland, and the United Kingdom. By automating the insurance lifecycle, Applied’s people and products enable millions of people around the world to safeguard and protect what matters most. For more information, please visit

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SOURCE: Applied Systems