Whitespace helps oil wheels of insurance market
Digital data is the future for insurance and reinsurance if the sector hopes to achieve efficiency gains and other benefits, according to Whitespace Software Ltd.
The company has celebrated the first anniversary of the start of trading on the Whitespace Platform, and it counts a number of Bermudian-based firms among its clients. It hopes to attract more to the rapidly growing network.
Marcus Broome, Whitespace Software’s chief platform officer, said re/insurers and brokers can benefit from using a digital system that can replace the need for traditional Word and PDF documents, and the extra work, such as re-keying data, that goes along with them.
He said: “A broker transacting business using Whitespace will always outperform a broker transacting using traditional documents. By that, I mean they will deliver a better quality of service.”
Whitespace is a digital re/insurance trading platform that works as a web app, mobile app, and with full API [application programming interface technology] integration.
Contracts created on the platform are entirely digital. Benefits are said to be increases in speed, accuracy, availability and in-depth data for risk analysis by brokers and insurers.
There is real-time access to risk placement, quicker payments and faster responses to claims, according to London-based Whitespace Software, with brokers and underwriters able to create risk submissions, collaborate on contracts, communicate via real time instant messaging, request and provide quotes, bind, sign and endorse re/insurance contracts digitally.
The idea started in 2014. Mr Broome said: “It was to see if we could use some newer technologies, with an emphasis on mobile and new data technology, to share risk data.”
The first version of the platform was designed to make it easier for teams in different locations, such as Bermuda, London or Zurich, to quickly check if one of the other teams had quoted on a particular risk. This could be done in real time using different devices.
The company was approached to do a proof of concept by the innovation team at the London Market Target Operating Model (LMTOM). They did, and it was a success, as was a larger proof of concept that followed.
But the LMTOM decided to change its focus and not look for new innovations, but to concentrate on those it already had in development.
However, underwriting organisations and the brokers that had been involved in the initial concept told Whitespace they were still interested in its possibilities. Among the companies were the likes of Axa XL, MS Amlin and Munich Re.
The work continued, and last year the first risk flowed through the platform. New customers are now being signed up on a weekly basis.
Whitespace created its own data standard, which is now a standard of the Association for Cooperative Operations Research and Development after the company donated it to Acord last year. Accord publishes and maintains standardised forms across the industry.
Mr Broome said: “The thing that mattered most was ease of use and ease of adoption. If there is a transition to electronic trading, the brokers should find it easy.”
He added that Whitespace’s approach was to make things easier and to remove traditional documents from the process. Feedback from clients has been good.
“It delivers modern experience, it has a phone app and runs on iPads as well,” Mr Broome said. The company is also demand-led, believing that clients should want to sign up as they are then more likely to use the platform wholeheartedly.
”We are not a disrupter. We are an efficiency play. We make ourselves easy to adopt but also easy to leave,“ Mr Broome said.
He added that most brokers who join the platform start with a given line of business, and in the early days they could not find all the markets they were looking to transact with ready and waiting on Whitespace Platform.
“So they would have to do some of the process on Whitespace, and some either by e-mail or other systems. The brokers who adopt Whitespace are normally taking a decision to use it wholeheartedly,” Mr Broome said.
However, if need be, Whitespace will generate traditional PDF versions of documents.
The platform uses a secure hashing technology in order that there is irrefutability of each version of a contract.
And the software is easy to use, with most clients able to download it and start using it immediately, Mr Broome said.
He added that the more clients that use the platform, the greater its value. In the past year that number has been growing, and a number of the London-based customers also operate in Bermuda, and that is creating interest in Whitespace locally.
Mr Broome said: “We certainly see a lot of overlap between our customer base and their Bermudian parent or whatever it might be. The software is every bit as useable wherever you are around the globe.”
Whitespace has a website at https://www.whitespace.co.uk/