Michael Spiar, Broker Relations & Communications Specialist | Canadian Underwriter, March 2018
The P&C industry is poised to deliver policy documents to consumers electronically. Here’s how an industry solution proposes to meet consumer demand for electronic pink slips.
An industry-wide solution for electronic delivery of insurance policy documents, including proof of auto insurance (eSlips), has arrived in Canada.
The Centre for Study of Insurance Operations (CSIO) in February launched My Proof of Insurance, an industry solution enabling eDelivery of insurance documents for personal and commercial lines — including proof of auto insurance — to consumers. Developed in collaboration with carriers and brokers across Canada, the solution provides a convenient, standardized method for insurance providers to send digital insurance documents to consumers.
“With the insurance industry under intense pressure to meet consumer expectations for a digital experience, there’s just no competitive advantage in each company developing or purchasing its own solution to do the same thing,” says John Elliott, senior vice president of IT and chief information officer at RSA Canada and CSIO board member. “In the case of digital document delivery, it made sense to collaborate on a unified solution.”
My Proof of Insurance was developed with carrier and broker requirements in mind, ensuring that it meets their business needs while providing consumers with a simple, convenient digital experience.
Early in the development process, the project team leading the My Proof of Insurance initiative examined market data from Forrester Research to find out how consumers would prefer to receive their policy documents. Canadians prefer simple processes for managing insurance documents, the data showed, with no apps on their phone, no passwords, and no logins. In fact, fewer than 4% of Canadians have downloaded an insurance app. Conversely, use of mobile digital wallets is rising dramatically.
For these reasons, My Proof of Insurance uses technology that Canadian consumers already use in everyday life — policy documents arrive by email, and eSlips can be saved to mobile digital wallets on consumers’ smartphones.
A key part of the success for My Proof of Insurance is ensuring that it benefits both brokers and carriers. Knowing this, the project team was inspired by CSIO’s eDocs solution, which debuted in 2012. The eDocs standard enables carriers to send electronic policy documents directly to broker BMS platforms, resulting in a paperless workflow.
“eDocs have been such a win-win for our industry,” says Sheldon Wasylenko, vice chairman of CSIO and general manager of Rayner Agencies in Saskatchewan. “With eDocs, brokers and carriers both benefit from faster business processes, cost and time savings, plus brokers can often provide faster customer service. We saw My Proof of Insurance as a natural extension of eDocs, providing tremendous value to brokers and carriers alike.”
As one example, My Proof of Insurance is sender-agnostic, meaning an electronic policy document — e.g., an eSlip — can be sent to a consumer by both brokers and carriers. “If either party can use the My Proof of Insurance solution to send emails, who does that email come from?” says CSIO board member Christopher Harness, senior vice president of solutions delivery at Northbridge Financial. “The team opted for a co-branded approach. All emails are sent from the @myproofofinsurance.ca domain and will feature both carrier and broker logos.”
The result is a consistent customer experience that increases the value proposition of brokers and carriers equally. “What impresses me the most is the dual functionality of the software for brokers and carriers, as well as the cost effectiveness of adoption at the brokerage end,” says Rose Cavaliere, Operations Manager at Dawson & Keenan Insurance. “The simple design of the program brings true value to the ease of doing business in the digital world.”
Before launch, one important issue had to be addressed: eSlips did not yet have regulatory approval. A simple bulletin was all that was required, according to a Fall 2015 report commissioned by CSIO and prepared by law firm Fasken. The eSlips Advisory Report undertook a regulatory review across Canada, concluding that provincial insurance regulators had the authority to approve eSlips without the need to introduce new laws or amend existing legislation.
CSIO shared this report with regulators in every jurisdiction, as well as the Canadian Council of Insurance Regulators (CCIR), an umbrella association of provincial and territorial insurance regulators. The timing turned out to be ideal. CCIR had already started to investigate electronic proof of auto insurance and was in the middle of collecting stakeholder input. Its position paper, released a few months later, firmly supported permitting eSlips while seeking stakeholder input for further consideration. CSIO prepared a submission addressing the concerns raised by CCIR.
“The Fasken report and CCIR’s position paper really convinced us we were on the right track,” says CSIO board member Sean Christie, chief information officer and vice president of information services at Gore Mutual. “Confident that regulatory approval for eSlips was just a matter of time, we made the proactive decision to build My Proof of Insurance, with eSlips functionality available on Day 1.”
The breakthrough came on Jan. 10, 2018, when Nova Scotia became the first province to issue a bulletin formally approving eSlips. There are strong indications that other jurisdictions are poised to follow suit.
At of the time of writing, CSIO’s focus is to support their members in the implementation of My Proof of Insurance and collect feedback for future enhancements.
CSIO has provided dozens of walkthroughs for industry stakeholders including members, regulators, and provincial broker associations. “Throughout the development process, we knew we had to engage with members beyond those on the project team,” says Catherine Smola, president and CEO of CSIO. “These walkthroughs are an indispensable way to raise and address stakeholder concerns, enabling us to build a final product that works for the industry as a whole.”
“I was truly excited for my members when CSIO did their walkthrough with us,” says George Hodgson, president of the Insurance Brokers Association of Alberta (IBAA). “What a fantastic option for brokers looking to expand their digital footprint with minimal investment in either time or money. It is by far the most accessible solution available for brokers of all sizes.”