The insurance industry has traditionally been very slow to embrace technological innovation. Historically for insurers the stability and consistency of services generated trust among their policyholders.
Customer’s expectations are changing fast and that is leaving insurers scrambling to meet the real-time needs of their customers. Customers are very demanding and expect communication when they want, however they want it. They demand an omnichannel experience with simpler and customized products that suit their needs. Successful insurers are the ones that can support these evolving needs of the customers with speed and agility. APIs are a quintessential tool in building a connected insurance enterprise.
Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) seamlessly connect internal data to external applications and serve the customers in real-time with new products and solutions. APIs are snippets of computer code that enable software applications to interact with one another in a common language. APIs, are a critical building block to build connected insurance enterprise. With APIs Carriers can offer real-time data and products that can be customized to transform the needs of policyholders. APIs enable insurers to gather data from multiple internal and external data sources and to share this data across various products, solutions and digital platforms.
To give an example here, if you want your customer to be able to see their policy and payment information in real-time, then the backend core systems that hosts this data has to be connected to the front end customer application. If the core system is a legacy system, then it is not being updated real time. With APIs the front end customer systems can connect dynamically to backend core systems and data can be retrieved and sent back seamlessly. This allows for real time sharing of data and gives customers a customer centric solution.
Another advantage of building and connecting using APIs is that API can be reused multiple times to connect to various other systems. If you build a connection from one system to another it can be only used for two systems. But when you build APIs they can be used to connect multiple systems together.
Successful insurance carriers set API guidelines at the enterprise level. Setting the following guidelines will ensure that data from application built by various the internal teams can be shared across the entire organization.
· All teams should expose their data and functionality through APIs
· Data from various application must communicate with each other through APis
· No direct one on one connections or direct reads of data from other applications should be built
· Only communication that will be allowed will be via APis over the network
· All applications must be planned and designed to be able to expose its interface to other internal and external applications
Carriers have to be rigorous about setting these guidelines and ensuring the internal teams follow them. It will take some time to build and develop this API connectivity culture It requires a mindset change within the organization.
By following these guidelines and connecting internal systems and external third party applications using REST APIs transforms the way data is connected between multiple parties. This will lead to a lasting and beneficial change across the organization where all applications communicate to one another seamlessly leading to enhanced customer service and rapid development of fully integrated solutions. Change is difficult at first, but once the organizations realize the everlasting benefits of reusable APIs they will wonder why they didn’t get started in this journey earlier.
If you need any help in getting started on building a connected insurer where data travels seamlessly using APIs, come talk to us at mondCloud, we provide API consulting and design services along with a API Gateway to build, deploy, publish and mange APIs.