6 min read

The Surprising Truth About Open Data

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Here at Highwing, we talk a lot about how insurtech aims to remove the mundane, inefficient tasks from brokerage so you can focus more on building relationships. We have also talked a lot about how high quality data enables those efficiencies. How exactly does quality data enable this digital transformation, though? The answer is open data. 

When we say “open data” in insurance, oftentimes we’re met with some head scratching.  Your data is the value driver for your business, after all, and you need to protect it. So what does open data actually mean? 

We are at a crossroads when it comes to the value of huge, standalone software systems. As a broker, you know how unique your markets, your clients, and your processes are, and your understanding of those things is what makes you successful. So why are your software systems somehow different? Why do your tools and systems have to be one size fits all?

What we are moving towards is the era of mass optionality. The future will be powered by smaller systems that are more custom and faster moving. Capitalizing on these highly tailored solutions is enabled by open data.


What Is Open Data?

Open data doesn't mean waiving off privacy and sharing your book of business around freely left and right. Open data means ownership and control of your data exercised in a way that drives easy collaboration and connectivity to provide additional value to your business and operations. It means more impactful digitization efforts, more efficient teams, and countless technology driven opportunities down the road.  

At their core, open data platforms provide a baseline model for data to be organized, presented, and shared. When it comes to insurance, it means you have control over your data and the flexibility to expose it to external parties of your choosing; you decide what data is shared, with whom, when, and where. This drives faster innovation, improved insights, deeper context, and access to new tools and capabilities. 


The Impact of Open Data

In the immediate term, open data provides speed for your teams to work faster and elevates confidence in your data. Spend less time rekeying information, ensure your teams are working with up to date information, and eliminate the need for making constant corrections. This higher quality data, when shared to the parties of your choosing, will drive new insights and provide more context into your business, clients, and trading partners.

In the long term, open data will enable faster adjustments to market needs and opportunities. Capitalizing on new partnerships, innovation programs, and more will become frictionless with easily connectable data. With uniform formatting and fast integrations, you can spend less time deploying new programs, and more time benefiting from them.

Let's take a deeper dive into the benefits offered by Open Data.



Speed of Innovation

Let’s make sure we’re on the same page about this: Speed is important. 

Our clients have told us that the average time to bind a middle market commercial policy is 40 days from start to finish. In the same amount of time, ten F35 stealth fighter jets are built, or you could wedge 6 cargo ships in the suez canal and free them, one by one. 

Our clients have also said that a one day increase in speed equates to a 20% lift in closed business. So yeah, speed matters. 

Open data drives speed of innovation because it gets the groundwork of innovation out of the way for you. You don't need to reformat all of your data to power an integration because the formatting is already perfect. You don't need to worry about filling in the holes in your data because integrated 3rd party sources have done it for you. 

When a new technology emerges, a new partner knocks on your door, or a digital transformation project begins, open data lets you move quickly and confidently.




New Insights and Deeper Context

Open data gives you the ability to understand your business in new ways. When teams are invested in data quality and data-driven collaboration, the insights you will gain about your clients, trading partners, and teams can be hugely impactful. Whether you are integrating with a new analytics partner, sharing enhanced data sets to your innovation team, or analyzing relationships with your favorite markets, open data gives you a bigger picture that's easier to understand. 

This, in turn, allows you to focus more on what makes you unique; in your submissions, in your relationships and in your processes. Deeper context will help you tell carriers a better story in your submissions, get submissions to the right places faster, and make client communications as efficient as possible along the way.

You can read more about how to use data to drive innovation here




New Tools and Capabilities

Perhaps the most important value add offered by open data is the ability to add and take advantage of new tools and capabilities. Like I said, your market, relationships, and process is unique, so your software should be too. Whether you want to integrate with new analytics tools, electronic forms, client portals or more, open data provides faster connection and improved agility. Open data is the foundation of success.

Open data also extends the reach of an organization to other businesses, both within the industry and externally. The opportunities are nearly limitless as APIs can leverage relationships to drive new business, access previously unavailable markets, or assist in increasing client retention.

When you power integrated systems through open data, you also ensure your firm is ready to capitalize on the cutting edge technologies of tomorrow.


Principal's Playbook to Open Data

Ready for a faster future that does better for you, your trading partners and your clients? Here’s some tips to get you started:

  1. First, start with accurate, uniform data, and a robust data governance process. Quality data empowers all subsequent innovation, and will give you some quick wins.  If you do not have a Data Governance policy, create one.

  2. Work to understand how your competitors, vendors and trading partners are using data. With the rise of more agile, digital-first, monoline competitors, your data may not be as strong of a competitive advantage as it has been historically. Discuss with core trading partners and vendors what data you can connect between firms, identifying areas where you can create value together.

  3. Focus on connecting data and systems within your own firm first. This will help create efficiency, collaboration, and a foundation to build off of.

  4. Establish initial criteria for what data can be shared with whom, and what is off limits. Create clear KPIs for your efforts, and decide when you will review progress.  


Closing Thoughts

Open data promises faster innovation, deeper context, new insights, additional tools, and new capabilities for your business. It doesn't mean you lose what makes you unique, or the competitive edge provided by your data; quite the contrary. Open data means taking control of your data and getting all of the value from it that you can. It means you and your trading partners enjoy newfound speed and deeper relationships while your clients emerge the biggest winners.

Open data will transform how you look at technology. Your systems will look less like a collection of standalone tools, and more like a unified system to run your business; allowing you to focus on what matters; growing your business, delighting your partners, and being a trusted advisor to your clients.

The connected future of insurance is on the horizon.  To get there, open your data, and win!

Want to learn more about how Highwing is building the first open data platform for commercial insurance? We would love to hear from you. Schedule a call here.