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Application programming interfaces (APIs) are increasingly making an impact on the insurance industry, allowing for more integrations among different types of companies and improving the flow of information. One of the more notable areas of insurance where APIs are having this impact is policy quoting.
In the past, obtaining insurance quotes could be a lengthy, obscure process for customers. And the situation wasn’t much better for insurers, as they too had to take the time to manually field policy quote requests, crunch the numbers, and perhaps set up a meeting with a lead to go over the results.
Now, however, APIs make it possible to receive policy quotes from multiple providers on one website, all in a matter of minutes. As we’ll explore in this article, that makes it easier for insurance agents and carriers to:
- Provide customers with the digital experience they’re looking for
- Enable simultaneous policy comparisons
- Expand their reach to more leads
Insurance agents and carriers don’t need to be experts to utilize APIs for policy quoting, as the technology is often integrated into InsurTech tools and other platforms. But it helps to understand that APIs connect information from one source to another, and insurers should consider ways they can leverage these connections for the benefit of themselves and their customers.
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Providing Digital Service
As the insurance world continues to evolve, customers have increasingly come to expect digital services. Just as it’s easy to shop for household goods, look at real estate prices or compare banking interest rates all online, customers are starting to expect insurers to offer that same type of digital service.
“[I]n the past few years, customer expectations and emerging competitors have demanded disruption, so insurers have been rolling into the future head-on,” notes ProgammableWeb, an API news website.
In particular, insurers are using APIs to easily allow for online policy quoting. Prospects can input a few pieces of data into an online form or tool, and APIs can allow for the exchange of this information with back-end systems needed to produce a policy quote. Doing so isn’t just a matter of keeping up with trends. Using APIs for digital insurance quoting provides benefits such as:
Allowing agents to sell policies 24/7:
APIs remove the need for agents to have manually input information into a policy quoting tool. Prospects can do so on their own. And APIs then automatically pull in the data to display policy quotes online. That means insurance agents don’t need to be available when someone wants to receive a policy quote. Potential clients can obtain bindable quotes at their own convenience, 24/7.
Saving time for customers and agents:
By enabling anyone to obtain quotes 24/7 online, APIs save time for both customers and agents. Instead of having to schedule a meeting to go over the data required to obtain a quote, potential clients can do so at their convenience. And agents then have more time to answer policy-related questions or focus on areas like building relationships with clients.
Keeping information organized:
By transmitting data through APIs, it can be easier to keep policy-related data more organized than if an agent has to manually generate quotes. For example, when a prospect obtains a quote through a tool like Wheelhouse, that information automatically gets captured by the platform. Agents can then go into the platform at a later time to check on quotes, which helps keep prospects’ information organized in one place, rather than having to search through paperwork or emails where the quote may have been written down.
Making Policy Comparisons Easy
Another huge advantage to using APIs for insurance quoting is that they can bring in information from multiple sources into one location and allow for more collaboration across the insurance landscape.
“APIs facilitate seamless integration among a broad range of ecosystem players. As an orchestrated customer experience grows more important throughout the years ahead, APIs will become even more crucial as insurers march ahead toward a seamlessly integrated ecosystem,” says Capgemini.
In particular, as APIs allow for a more integrated ecosystem, that can make policy comparisons easier for customers. While an insurance carrier might prefer to only have their own policy quotes provided to prospective clients, the reality is that customers often want the convenience of aggregated quotes. It’s easier for business owners to compare commercial insurance policy quotes through one platform than it is to go to each insurer’s website and generate a quote.
So, if insurers allow for some level of cooperation with one another, they can potentially provide a streamlined experience that leads to more sales overall. Insurers can still provide quotes on their own sites, but in situations where prospects want to use an aggregator, they can easily see differences in:
APIs allow for multiple carriers to provide their rates within one tool, thereby letting prospects easily compare pricing. But don’t assume that leads to a race to the bottom. Customers might associate certain insurers with being more budget-friendly, for example. Yet if they can easily see that there’s a relatively small price difference between the “budget” provider and the more “full-service” option, they might be inclined to go with the premium option.
APIs can also be used to pull in details related to different policy quotes, such as to elaborate on what’s covered. This information is critical to helping clients understand what they’re getting for the price of different policies.
Another way to use APIs is to dynamically pull in information about different providers, such as showing reviews for different providers alongside their policy quotes. As such, prospects can get a better understanding of whether it’s worth it to choose a higher-priced option for policies with similar coverage levels.
Expanding Insurers’ Reach
By facilitating more collaboration among insurers and by making it easier for clients to obtain quotes, APIs can ultimately expand insurers’ reach.
“APIs make it easier for current, and potential, partners to do business with you. By providing APIs for public consumption and integration, new partners (brokers, agents) are able to offer your insurance options to their customer base,” explains Akana, an API platform.
For example, a relatively small insurance carrier may not have the marketing budget to get in front of as many business owners as they would like to sell commercial insurance policies. But with APIs, they can provide policy quotes through other insurance agents’ channels. Even if those agents display quotes from multiple providers, at least that gives the carrier a chance to be seen by a wider audience than if they went at it alone.
APIs can also help insurers expand their reach beyond their own website. With Wheelhouse, insurance agents can create custom landing pages targeted to specific types of clients.
Some business owners might be interested in obtaining policy quotes but might be quick to bounce from an insurer’s website if they don’t feel like it applies to them. With targeted landing pages, however, agents may be able to hook prospects better. And they can distribute links to these landing pages through channels like social media or through email to reach a larger pool of potential leads.
From there, the possibilities for leveraging APIs are vast. Insurers can improve their productivity and enhance the customer experience not only by streamlining policy quoting but also by allowing for more personalized marketing, automated customer service, and more.