In a constantly evolving digital economy, API is essential to continuously enable new services, but the need for digital-first strategies has made APIs more of a priority than ever before. APIs streamline this process of transformation.
Edelweiss General Insurance (EGI), the cloud-native insurer has recently launched an Open API (Application Programming Interface) Gateway to facilitate complete digital collaboration with its business partners. With this Gateway, EGI’s authorized partners can easily integrate their systems with the company’s robust technology platform, which will help further reinforce EGI’s linkages with both customers and partners.
We talked to Shanai Ghosh, ED & CEO, Edelweiss General Insurance about the Open API and more. Excerpts:
DQ: Can you tell us about the Edelweiss General Insurance Open API gateway for insurance products.
Shanai Ghosh: Open API Gateway is the first of its kind by any General Insurance company in India. The portal is aimed at self-assisted API consumption by partners. It will enable our partners to integrate with EGI products in a short span of time, on their own with minimal intervention from our IT team.
The gateway will offer quicker integration with EGI services and policies with a shortened integration cycle, both time and cost-wise. The objective of API gateway is to create a simple and convenient platform for partners to engage with us to offers a seamless experience to their customers.
DQ: How does this make you better placed than the others?
Shanai Ghosh: Achieving superior customer experience is our ultimate objective. None of the GI products exist in isolation, they are relevant only when placed in a certain context, and therefore, as a GI company, we are a part of several ecosystems.
We understand that collaboration with partners within this ecosystem is important to truly transform customer experience across the value chain. Our APIs are planned to ensure that we are able to create the best journey for our customers. API integrations are frequently done directly between applications, demand more time, effort, and coordination from both IT teams.
What we have essentially done is exposed all the capabilities we are developing for our own applications, so that our partners too can benefit from those, and eventually our customers.
The Open API Gateway system allows partners to access documentation of the open APIs, leverage code samples, easily conduct testing in staging as well as on the environment. With productivity for developers improving enormously, they can now focus on the unique proposition of their applications while outsourcing all the commodity functionality to APIs.
DQ: Elaborate on the seamless and delightful experience to the end consumer.
Shanai: The API model will help customers access real-time information about their insurance policies and other details without the offline hassle. The integration will create more choices for the consumer and will also offer a better experience with regards to policy purchase, post-issuance needs such as policy information updates, and claims.
Not only would this enable EGI’s distributors to speedily integrate available and new products and services, but also significantly lower the cost of integration. Most services that customers would want like information, transactions and claims can be accessed real-time in an extremely convenient manner through any touchpoint, company, or partner front-end. API integrations enable seamless journeys and our API gateway makes such integrations faster and easier.
DQ: How will Open API Gateway offer quicker integration with EGI products?
Shanai : We have provided robust and comprehensive documentation of APIs, including example code samples, so our partners can get started within a matter of minutes with an easy sign-up process. The Gateway will also offer quicker integration with EGI products with a shortened integration cycle, both time and cost-wise, access to real-time information on product premium, etc. without having to rely on an offline mechanism.
DQ: Elaborate on the Switch and Health 241 schemes. How are they better than the others?
Shanai: Health 241 and SWITCH are customer insight-based, innovative, and first of its kind products that we have launched in health insurance and motor insurance respectively.
SWITCH is India’s only on-demand, multi-vehicle floater insurance policy launched under IRDAI’s Sandbox initiative. It is a driver-based, pay-as-you-use model, that allows the customer to pay the premium only on the days they use the vehicle offering significant cost savings and convenience. Moreover, it has a subscription-based model wherein after the initial premium to activate the policy, the rest of the premium can be paid in monthly installments. This is again a first for Motor Insurance in the country.
Health 241, a first in the industry where if the first year is claim free, the customer is covered absolutely free for the second year. Through research, we identified that one of the main reasons why young people do not buy an insurance policy is that they feel premium paid is a loss if they do not claim. Health 241 is a convincing proposition and solution for young people to see value and merit in buying a health insurance policy.
DQ: What are your future plans?
Shanai: Our vision is to become a partner to help people to lead happier, safer, and healthier lives. This is the true north star that guides our brand, product, and customer strategy. We aim to deliver innovative solutions to customers through a digital operating model leveraging data and analytics.
We will continue to focus on providing tangible and meaningful value to customers along with the best customer experience in terms of convenience, transparency, and speed, adjectives that are not necessarily associated with Insurance today.
Having seen the advantages of a cloud-native architecture first-hand, we will continue to invest in cloud-based technologies and a serverless architecture that can easily scale to meet our future growth plans.
Globally there is a growing interest in on-demand insurance, subscription-based models and wellness integrated health insurance. We aim to invest in developing these categories by introducing digital-first products. We will also develop an ML-driven personalization model to support these new products. The other big area of investment will be to use ML and AI to simplify the claims experience for customers.