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NetDiligence® Interviews Relay CEO Greg Boutin About Upcoming Event

Global Events and Programming / March 16 , 2021

On April 8, NetDiligence® will host “The Future of Cyber: Instant Quotes and Proposals through Next-Gen Broker-Carrier Connectivity.” Sponsored by Relay, this webinar addresses an exciting insurtech development – the impact of APIs on commercial insurance lines. In anticipation, NetDiligence sat down with Greg Boutin, CEO of Relay Platform, Inc., to get a preview of this special event.

NetD: This panel features a discussion between you, Akhil Chopra of NFP, and Emily Short of Brush Creek Partners, facilitated by Bianca Ruffini, also of Relay. What can participants expect from the conversation?

GB: The world of commercial insurance is rapidly changing, accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. On the one hand, customer expectations have evolved, as they seek a more digital experience. On the other hand, the market has hardened, and carriers’ expectations have increased. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Cyber insurance, where it has been compounded by major breaches and the emergence of new risks.

In this session, we will review how these changes have affected a specific brokerage function: placing deals and renewing policies. We will begin with the Cyber use case, but we will also address other commercial lines, as the trends are similar.

In particular, we will discuss how the move to instant electronic quoting can help brokers alleviate (and even benefit from!) some of those trends. Entire industries and functions are moving to “APIs” — hooks that connect systems and interactions between multiple software platforms, enabling instant quotes. Insurance markets are no exception.

This webinar will address the evolution of APIs in the broker-carrier ecosystem, their effect on commercial insurance lines, and the benefits/efficiencies instant quotes and semi-automated proposals provide. We will also discuss reliable strategies and resources to integrate broker/carrier systems and how best to combine the old and the new.

Net D: Why should insurance/reinsurance brokers and carriers make this a “don’t miss” session?

GB: A recent report by Aon PLC states that “policyholders can expect 20% to 50% rate increases for cyber coverage throughout 2021 as trends that began last year continue at an accelerated pace.” This trend creates pressure on brokers as price-sensitive insureds request more quotes. Quotes are placed into a comparison table, reviewed and commented upon, and packaged into a client proposal, which is updated with any new quotes. Brokers spend time chasing quotes, and carriers mostly process those manually. For efficiency, underwriters typically focus on their top relationships and their top deals at the expense of others.

Independent brokers need to explore solutions to alleviate constraints, so they can maintain and grow their volumes and their commissions. A key tool is electronic quoting, which eases re-marketing and renewals. Personal lines have already reaped this benefit.

Commercial lines require greater effort to integrate broker and carrier systems, as quotes can be more complex. A transitional system that accommodates carriers with API and those with email quoting only is a crucial step. Looking at the Cyber practices from two leading brokerages, we can see both historical and current strategies. Each now has a solution to handle simple and complex quotes, manage quotes from start to finish, and accommodate all carriers and MGA-MGUs by supporting email quoting. As a result, their brokers can reduce time spent on administrative tasks and focus on building relationships with underwriters.

NetD: APIs have been identified as a transformative tech for commercial lines. What is Relay doing to both drive and capitalize on this trend?

GB: Relay plugs into carrier and reinsurer APIs quickly and easily. Connecting broker and carrier systems directly through APIs is transformational, and we are now seeing the change in commercial lines. Intelligent Insurer recently published a survey showing that transitioning to APIs is the third most transformative tech for commercial lines in 2021, alongside AI and Analytics. The survey also found out that Cyber was the third most likely to be impacted by such emerging technologies in the next 12 months alongside SME and Property.

The transition has major benefits for the broker-carrier ecosystem, both in terms of top line and efficiencies. Of course it drives instant quotes, but – coupled with a good solution to extract quotes from email – it can also generate rapid, semi-automated proposals. In turn, we see a major impact on client success rates and reduction of administrative and client update work.

On average, with the right system, commercial insurance brokers can now do twice as much selling as they were doing before, and carriers can respond to twice as many quotes.

See how Relay is integrating APIs in our latest product video.

NetD: From your personal place in the industry, what development or trend will you be keeping your eye on this year?

A key trend we see at play in Commercial Lines in 2021, in addition to the rise of underwriting APIs, is that of carrier panels. Panels are a shortlist of insurers in a select line of business with pre-negotiated terms and conditions to consolidate volumes and simplify recurring transactions for brokers.

The insurance industry will experience a shift where carrier panels transform from a largely analog exercise to an automated, digital solution. The shift will significantly improve the efficacy of the carrier panel, and enhance the work done between brokers and their partnering carriers, while APIs provide enhanced connectivity to other platforms within the insurance and reinsurance broker’s ecosystem.

Looking ahead, the commercial insurance and reinsurance industry of tomorrow will be won by those who begin to boldly adopt the next generation of digital technologies today. As part of that transformation, a significant focus should be placed on the evolution of the carrier panel and APIs in commercial lines.

NetD: Thank you, Greg, for your time and your insights! We are all looking forward to the conversation on April 8, and we also want to thank Relay for sponsoring this event.

Click here to register now for “The Future of Cyber: Instant Quotes and Proposals through Next-Gen Broker-Carrier Connectivity” or catch the webinar on demand after April 8 using the same link.


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