A few weeks ago I discussed how to identify good candidates for APIs.   This week we will apply the techniques to Insurance. This is still generic and not specific to any single Insurance company. Hopefully some of these examples can provoke thought and help you identify APIs specific to you that will benefit your business.


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Mobile App Development – Once again we will start with Insurance companies creating their own mobile Apps for their customers. Within this we will look at three areas for APIs:

  • General information – this is information that is not tailored to the specific customer using the App. It could include general information about the insurance offerings – coverage types, office/agent locations, insurance calculators, tools.       For life insurance, insurance coverage options might be listed.
  • Custom information and transactions – this is information and transactions that are tailored to the customer using the App. Obviously for these APIs, additional security is required to ensure appropriate access. APIs fitting into this category might include – pay your bill, view policy, review coverage and discounts, insurance ID cards, view/update profile, contact your agent, accident documentation and information collection, submitting claim, request assistance or road side service, check on claim status.       For life insurance, policy, payments, beneficiary information, etc. could be viewed or transacted.
  • Mobile advantages – Customers using the App on the mobile device can take advantage of functions of the phone or tablet in conjunction with APIs provided by the
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    insurance company. Sample device functions that we can take advantage of are the camera, microphone, GPS services, and date/time functions. Relating this to the insurance company’s APIs we can use the camera to take a picture of any damages, use the GPS services with APIs to identify the location and use the date/time to automatically time stamp the information. You could also use voice recording to capture information from witnesses.       For homeowner’s insurance you could take pictures of belongings and catalog the items.

Note: I will cover health insurance and investments/finance in separate blog posts later.

Partnering – APIs can help make it easy to do business with you. Providing APIs to partners would allow them to offer your insurance options to their customers. For example, you could make APIs available to credit unions members, employers, etc. who could offer your insurance to their employees or customers.

Public APIs – Many of the same APIs used internally and with partners can be used as public APIs to drive additional business and help obtain new customers. For example, rather than making the API available to only selected partners, the API could be public and used by any employer to sign up for your offerings. You may also choose to make an API available for a comparison App, so that your company has the opportunity to compete for new business.


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Extending your reach to other industries that can send business to you is one of the large incentives in moving to an API economy. Insurance companies can benefit by offering insurance policies to customers of other industries such as automotive insurance for car purchases, homeowners insurance for real estate apps, vacation/travel insurance for travel apps, renters insurance, and life insurance for people who get married or have children. By providing APIs to these other industry Apps the insurance company has the opportunity to obtain new customers focused on these areas who were not even thinking about the related insurance aspects.

Social / Big Data Analytics – In this area you might act as a consumer of APIs and mash this information with your own APIs. Acting on company references and trends in social media can provide business advantages, allowing you to take advantage of opportunities or head off problems. For example, twitter feeds that reference your company may combined with your own analytics help determine if actions need to be taken to rectify customer satisfaction issues. Other references to consumer or business needs might allow you to act to offer insurance solutions.

You may also be alert to opportunities, such as looking for travel related topics, maternity, wedding planning, etc. to offer advertisements.

Device Integration / Wearables – Auto insurance is already active with devices to monitor a driver’s behavior and driving habits. Safer driving is rewarded through lower premiums. These devices use APIs to communicate the data to the insurance company. Other devices (e.g. Fitbit) could be used to monitor health activities and communicate the results back to the company for lower life insurance premiums.


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Connected cars (a huge topic itself) can help communicate dangerous situations (i.e. accidents, slippery roads, weather issues) to other cars that could avoid these situations.

Data Assets – Insurance companies gather large amounts of data about their clients which may make these clients attractive potential customers for companies in other
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industries. Providing access to data assets in aggregate can be valuable for advertising in particular locations within the city where target customers might live. Or, clients may pay for access to send offers to your client base. For additional value (and with appropriate opt-in support) the ability to target specific insurance customers with offers from other industries could also be supplied.

 

Finally, let’s take a look at some public APIs currently being offered in the insurance industry:

  • Agencyport Turnstyle – provides for extraction of data from ACORD-compliant forms used in the insurance industry for serialization as XML. It aims to integrate form data and form-based processes into efficient XML-based workflows to transfer data to point-of-sale, customer relationship management (CRM), and other backoffice systems. This process is intended to replace manual rekeying and sequestration of data in emailed ACORD forms, PDF files, and other inaccessible formats.
  • CGI Insurance Information Services – CGI is a company that provides a variety of business IT services. One such service is the web-based Insurance Information Services API, which enables clients to view the claim history of a driver and all of their policies. Information is retrieved based on the driver’s license.
  • Insured Rating – enables users to develop a rate plan reflecting risk levels posed by prospective customers. Quote requests can then be made via the Insured Rating API which return coverage and premium information. The data generated helps to manage insurance product offerings and provide accurate rate quotes matched to determinants of risk.
  • NAIC Registry – allows automated filing of standard reporting documentation required of insurance providers for compliance with state regulations. The provider is a cooperative agency maintained by state governments to encourage consistent regulatory and business practices for insurance companies.

 

Connect with me through comments here or via twitter @Arglick to continue the discussion.  You can also read my earlier blogs.

8 Comments on "APIs for the Insurance Industry – Avoid the risk of falling behind"

  1. We want API s can you contact us on +91- 7329966834 , ;
    email id ; ruhaibhashi@gmail.com

  2. We as well would like APIs please email us bissellmgmt@gmail.com

    • All, there seems to be a misunderstanding as to what IBM provides. IBM supplies a product called IBM API Connect. This helps you create your own APIs that your business wants to provide, run them, manage them and secure them. IBM does not supply APIs for the insurance industry or from any other companies. If you want to find existing public APIs for any industry, I suggest you use a site such as programmableweb.com. If you are looking for industry specific APIs from particular companies, look at those companies.

  3. any JSON standards available for insurance API

    • As you probably know NAIC and ACORD currently have XML based standards. I have found articles stating that ACORD was considering a JSON standard as well. However, the article is close to two years old and this has not yet happened. Many insurance companies are now implementing an API initiative. I personally have met with quite a few. Typically standards will follow, not precede the movement. So, stay tuned. I believe this is coming.

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