Benefits of Data Standards for Commercial Brokers

Change is coming to commercial lines. CSIO is continuing to guide industry collaboration on implementing commercial lines data standards, transforming the way commercial lines business operates in Canada. The CSIO working group is close to finalizing the minimum data set, which will be the basis for programming by vendors and carriers.

Industry feedback has been overwhelmingly enthusiastic. Implementing data standards in commercial lines is a very important development for commercial brokers where the workflow to quote, underwrite and service policies is much more manual than for their counterparts in personal lines, where CSIO standards are already well established.

In personal lines, data standards enable carriers and broker management systems (BMS) to exchange policy information and eDocs electronically, saving time and effort for brokers and carriers. Policy information is downloaded directly to brokers’ BMS, and eDocs automatically attach to the appropriate client file.

How will CL standards benefit brokers?

According to Susan Gilbert, COO of MIG Insurance in Winnipeg, entering commercial lines data multiple times is painful and requires too many touches. “Right now, there’s a lot of manual intervention for us. Standards would streamline that process and give brokers more time to be brokers,” she says. “Clearly, being able to have a mapped, digital experience is key.”

Widespread adoption of commercial lines data standards will have major benefits to commercial brokers including:

Faster quoting
Seamless interaction and structured data will significantly speed up the quoting process and placement of new business. Brokers will be able to approach multiple markets for a quote using the same information.

Minimized double-entry
Standards will enable more connectivity between BMS and carrier systems, meaning brokers perform more work in their BMS and spend less time entering the same data multiple times.

Improved eDocs workflow
Standards will make possible the download of policy data for commercial lines, creating a client file in the BMS. As a result, commercial eDocs will automatically attach to the appropriate file instead of entering a suspense queue for manual intervention.

These efficiencies will remove friction in the workflow, and allow brokers to spend more time on higher-value activities, such as building client relationships.

The road to commercial standards adoption

In July 2018, CSIO launched a commercial lines working group which included participation from the Insurance Brokers Association of Canada (IBAC) as well as 12 carriers across Canada, with the objective of defining the minimum data elements that are common and consistent for commercial packages. This “minimum data set” will serve as a starting point for carriers and vendors to begin programming their systems for commercial lines. The working group will finalize the minimum data set in the coming months, and meetings with software vendors to support adoption are ongoing.

“It’s super encouraging to know who is at the table in this,” adds Gilbert. “It’s quite a breakthrough in commercial lines, and it’s what will allow us to be able to compete with different types of online offerings. For the broker, there’s a real opportunity to be digital in the commercial space. The end game is that we’re not slowed down by clunky back-end operations that limit how we can scale.”

CSIO will continue to guide industry collaboration on implementing commercial standards, transforming the way commercial lines business operates in Canada.