Insurtech business is booming. All you have to do is look at TechCrunch.com's most recent list of insurtech success stories and you'll see the millions adding up –– and for good reason. Entrepreneurs have identified irresistible opportunity gaps in the vast insurance space and are going for it. Similarly, IT professionals at traditional insurance companies are investing in expansion in the digital space by both partnering up with and competing against the latest insurtech innovators.
The digital insurance ecosystem as a whole is still fairly young, navigating how to compete and collaborate in a way that leads not only to growth and success on a business level but also supports the digitization and modernization of the insurance industry as a whole.
The API economy feeds heavily into the success of the digital insurance ecosystem. As new technologies enter the space and more digital services become standard practice, APIs are an incredibly simple, reliable and low barrier tool for businesses to take advantage of.
In the connected P&C insurance ecosystem, a property data API has become a critical enabler for businesses committed to staying ahead of the competition by modernizing workflows and offering innovative customer-centric services that have a direct impact on the bottom line.
Take Blend Insurance Agency, a subsidiary of Blend, offering homeowners insurance as part of the digital mortgage lending application process. Blend Insurance Agency uses Estated data to succeed at getting replacement cost while minimizing friction for the applicant, "Once we integrated with Estated, we were able to succeed closer to a 90% rate in getting replacement cost. This means the majority of customers are able to get quotes from several insurance carriers without giving us any additional information outside of the address," noted Greg Isaacs, Head of Insurance for Blend Insurance Agency.
Data-enabled technologies are popping up in areas of the value chain where they haven't existed before. Seizing these opportunities is as easy as identifying the right API strategies to complement your larger business goals. We've noted a few below that can be implemented with a real estate data API in the P&C insurance ecosystem –– both used in the present and that represent opportunities for the most promising trends industry leaders are keeping an eye on.
Technologies applied in the digital insurance value chain
#1: Underwriting and claims automation
Automating manual data entry in claims and digital quote generation is one of the easiest ways to increase efficiency and reduce cost. Not only is data entry an extremely repetitive and time-consuming task for your workforce, but it's also prone to entry errors.
A property data API connects you with a powerful database of personalized and reliable property information that powers your automation. All you have to do is enter the property address and the API can pre-populate online documents, quotes or other online systems. Not only will your employees and the bottom line appreciate it, but your customers will as well.
If you don't have digital quote or claims processing yet, you're definitely bordering on missing the mark with customer expectations. CBInsights P&C Insurance Trends Report 2019 predicts high market expansion for commercial data automation, "The trend has been embraced by early adopters and may be on the precipice of gaining widespread industry or customer adoption."1
#2: Damage inspection with drones
Drone inspections are already being used at large insurers including AIG, State Farm, and Liberty Mutual –– and demonstrating their value.2 Drones are an innovative and comprehensive way to assess property damage and don't need to put field professionals in harm's way to do so.
Given worsening natural disasters year over year, drones just might be the right tool for the job. But structural damage is best assessed when compared against the pre-claim status of the building as well as the context for age, size, construction type and other critical factors that inform replacement cost. A property data API has this information hosted externally and readily accessible in seconds. When connected to drone data, a property data API can validate detailed structural characteristics and provide an accurate and actionable assessment of the materiality of a claim.
#3: Smart speaker service offerings
Leveraging property data in conjunction with connected-home devices can open doors to the latest consumer communication channels and help connect you with people more often in more convenient ways.
In P&C insurance, targeted property data information paired with consumer data has the ability to not only make it much easier for your business to offer relevant products and services but also require less input from the user –– a property data API pulls all data fields included in a property record using only the property address.
Insurance companies are already taking advantage of connected-home devices to better connect with people. Travelers insurance, for example, has partnered with Amazon to offer smart home product bundles, including both speakers and sensors.3 With smart speaker adoption up 40% in January 2019 from just a year prior,4 this is a high-potential area of opportunity for insurance companies to get in front of and win over homeowners.
So while you're asking yourselves how to mitigate risk, increase efficiency and improve customer experience, consider a 3rd party property data integration. Innovation teams need a real estate data API that prioritizes easy access, flexibility and affordability to support product iteration.
Get started by referencing our property data API buyer's guide and 14-question checklist of what to ask yourself and your team during your integration. Not all APIs are created equal and can have an impact on the success of your particular project. As with any product, it's helpful to speak with a data expert to learn the nuances of documentation, nationwide property data coverage and more. Visit us at estated.com today to learn more about how a property data API can add infinitesimal value to your insurance business.