- Improve data flow between brokers and insurance companies while eliminating double data entry tasks for brokers
- Restore independence and value-add to brokers through the adoption of an industry-wide secure and scalable data exchange platform
- A Brokerage Exchange Platform able to manage multiple formats to accommodate insurance companies and brokers
- Competition opening to more insurance companies, creating more options for brokers, through a mutual data exchange platform sharing a common standard
- Pilot platform successfully tested by major brokerage firms and insurance companies, ensuring wide adoption of solution
- Improved data accuracy and elimination of double data entry
“Axway’s platform manages administrative and accounting data that the brokers and insurance companies must exchange over their respective operating systems. As the number of subscriptions to the service ramps up, Axway’s highly scalable and stable platform will handle millions of daily messages in transit from the right broker to the right insurance company, and vice versa.”
Professional Trade Association for Insurance Brokers
Enhancing efficiency in the industry
The CSCA1 is a professional trade association and authority that brings together the ten regional and/or specialized insurance broker syndicates in France. One of the main roles of the CSCA is to defend the interests of all insurance brokers. In short, the CSCA promotes the brokerage profession and proposes solutions to enhance effectiveness and ethics within the insurance industry.
In collaboration with the Federation of French Insurance Companies (FFSA2), CSCA initiated a joint standards commission to define and implement an industry data exchange standard between insurance brokers and insurance companies. This standard is called EDIcourtage 2010.
File transfer challenges
Too many interfaces and double data entries
For many years, brokers have been using insurance company extranets as their transaction, trading and communication tools, with proprietary interfaces and forms. Since brokers typically have their own in-house or off-the-shelf business software solutions as well, data entered into an insurance company’s extranet then has to be re-entered into the broker’s own back-end information systems. As each tool is specific, brokers can only master a limited number of extranets and so have been restricted to working with a small number of insurance companies.
“Little by little, many brokers have been reduced to working with only one or two insurance companies due to multiple proprietary interfaces and the resulting additional workload,” said Guillaume Millet, President of GETIC - Information and Communication Technology Research Group of the CSCA. “This situation took away the brokers’ independence to some extent, and the value-add service inherent to their profession. Brokers are by nature independent, and they need to remain as such. The Brokerage Exchange Platform, based on Axway technology, enables us to return to the profession the independence it requires, and at the same time eliminate tedious double data entries that had become archaic in this era of digitalization of key business processes. In addition, as double data entry is eliminated, the quality and precision of the data increases.”
Industry-wide standards across a mutual exchange platform
Fielding high message volumes every day
The Brokerage Exchange Platform is based on the Axway Insurance Exchange platform and supports the new data exchange standard (EDIcourtage) defined by the joint FFSA/CSCA standardization Commission. The platform provides for harmonious and organized data exchange between brokers and insurance companies. “Axway’s platform manages administrative and accounting data that the brokers and insurance companies must exchange over their respective operating systems,” Millet said. It serves both as a translator (converting messages to the receivers’ format), and as a routing platform. As the number of subscriptions to the service ramps up, Axway’s highly scalable and stable platform will handle millions of daily messages in transit from the right broker to the right insurance company, and vice versa.”
The Insurance Brokerage Exchange platform is powered by the Axway Insurance Exchange, which is comprised of four Axway products, each dedicated to precise tasks. Axway Gateway handles the different protocols used in the insurance sector, and also plays the roles of router and file server. Axway Integrator manages data integrity, transforms and converts data, and handles duplicate records. Axway Sentinel is the monitoring tool used to register all flows and analyze their status (sent, integrated, returned, delayed, etc.), and to generate automatic alerts if necessary. Finally, Axway PassPort manages the type and description of exchangeable documents, network and transport protocols, security rules,
The CSCA chose Axway to provide its Brokerage Exchange Platform based on a number of factors. “We carefully studied five major vendors solutions to identify the right platform,” Millet continued. “We can honestly say that Axway came out way ahead of its competitors. Axway had the most comprehensive and technically superior solution, and a proven reputation in providing the right tools to ensure secure exchanges. The security features were particularly important as we needed to assure the insurance companies that all transactions would be 100% secure. Once it was announced that we chose Axway, all security concerns disappeared. In addition, our project fit nicely with Axway’s own product strategy and road map. And finally, we needed a partner that was independent from the big insurance companies and banks. Axway has many customers in finance and insurance, but it is not owned by any of these organizations. Axway’s market independence was another very advantageous aspect for our project.”
“The Brokerage Exchange Platform, based on Axway’s Insurance Exchange solution, brings flexibility and makes the market more dynamic. It will bring great benefit to both the insurance companies and the brokers, and as a result, superior service to the customers, which is the main vocation of the insurance brokerage field.”
Opening the market to ensure competitive pricing
Long-term benefits for brokers and insurance companies
Brokerage firms will clearly benefit from the new platform since double data entry will no longer be required, and data flow will be enhanced between the brokers and the insurance companies. The insurance companies themselves will benefit largely through important economies of scale since they will no longer need to develop and maintain point-to-point EDI exchanges for each broker or group of brokers using the same software. Large volumes of information and files will be seamlessly exchanged between insurance companies and brokerage firms through the Brokerage Exchange Platform.
As digital data capture and processing solutions, as well as Web Services are adopted to replace data entry on proprietary tools industry-wide, brokers can propose new services, based on modern technologies, to their own customers. “The Brokerage Exchange Platform will enable us to diversify our exchanges as the technology evolves, and the insurance companies will ultimately profit from the efficiency gained through these technological advances,” Millet said.
The five leading insurance companies, as well as a dozen brokerage firms and six software vendors, have agreed to be beta testers of the platform. The tests have been conclusive, and the five major insurance companies on the market now fully support the new infrastructure. Several other companies are joining them as well as the majority of the largest insurance brokerage firms.
“The Brokerage Exchange Platform, based as it is on Axway’s Insurance Exchange solution, provides flexibility and makes the market more dynamic. It will bring great benefit to both the insurance companies and the brokers, and as a result, superior service to the customers, which is the main vocation of the insurance brokerage field,” Millet concluded.
1 Chambre Syndicale des Courtiers d’Assurances
2 Fédération Française des Sociétés d’Assurances