Due to the home-bound activity we all have experienced recently, I’ve taken to watching a few classic comedies. During one occasion, I discovered an interesting parallel between an 80’s classic and the digital strategies of Insurance Carriers.
At a now legendary part of the classic 80’s comedy ‘Fletch’, the main character Fletch, played by Chevy Chase, is acting as aircraft handy-man to spy on a person at the center of crime he is investigating. When pressed for details on the plane, he explains: “It’s all ball bearings nowadays…”. As a child of the 80’s and early 90’s… quoting and reciting classic lines such as this one has been a habit or sacred ritual that my family, mainly my brother, father and I have undertaken at every birthday party, family get together, holiday gathering, awkward moment or explanation: “You need me on that wall!”.
Back to the ball bearings. In today’s evolving Insurtech landscape, you can easily switch out “ball bearings” with “API’s”. Try it… tell me about the architecture of your platform? Answer: It’s all API’s nowadays. Tell us about your digital strategy. “It’s all API’s”. Not bad, and actually, you might not do too badly in your solutions evaluations.
Now, what’s the point? I do love good quotes, but the point is that we need to look further. API’s are a key part of the digital insurance carrier’s strategy. However, recently the vendor marketplace has gotten into a bad habit of speaking as if they are Fletch… giving a smoke screen, with nothing to back it up. API’s are the modern gateway to positive customer outcomes. In the Insurance paradigm, these interactions can be few and far between. Remember, this industry did earn a moniker of forget-insurance, so make the most of your chances. Your ability to drive truly differentiated customer experiences that drive real value, leveraging strong digital assets and strategies is key to competing and winning in the industry and the path to increased market share. The trick isn’t the interfaces or the API’s, it’s what lies beneath the API’s that really drives the experience.
Data. Data is still the rock that gets in the way of all great API ambitions. Data is at the root of the API’s success. Is there data to be queried, analyzed, or validated? Is the data accurate, timely, and rationalized? Every Carrier has data. Probably too much and in too many places. The key is to have a source of truth that can be leveraged by the API… and ultimately the customer. Modern core administrative solutions can provide the foundation needed for the API’s to function and provide the omni-channel experience required. Further, you need a purpose-built platform. This is especially relevant in the Employee Benefits Industry. This is a complex business with multiple structures of policies, plan designs, and member data. You can try and use a platform built for a similar industry, such as Property and Casualty or Defined Contribution, however, your work will multiply, because now you just extended your start date. With purpose-built, you have access to the tools today and the data needed by your API’s is stored in a ready state on day one. Start serving your customers better from the very beginning.
Because that’s what this is all about right? Customer outcomes. Positive customer experiences. Delivering on the promise. Making the process of filing a claim simple, easy, and painless achieves just that. API’s built upon rationalized data in one place, functioning as THE source of truth for your business provide the tools for the Carrier to make this happen and truly be customer centric.
“It’s all API’s…” This is true, but without data, it’s indeed just all API’s. No value.