Author: Steve Anderson
The ACT API Work Group, which deals with application programming
interface, has garnered high interest from ACT members and has participation
from agents, carriers, associations and vendors. We segregated those
participants by industry category to get their initial questions, thoughts,
needs and vision via phone. We then gathered in person at the ACT Meeting in
May in Cincinnati, which allowed us to build on conversations and presentations
from the meeting.
The conversation was enlightening, especially regarding the
prominence of concerns over data security. Every entity is aware of the crucial
need for cyber security. I was also impressed by our carrier panel at the same
meeting, and how far down the road carriers are when it comes to thinking about
how they can open their systems appropriately to their agent force.
Coming out of that meeting, I would say there were a few things
that stood out:
Security of data and information when transferred via API
Real education on APIs and why agencies should care
How carriers and vendors are already using APIs
Carrier concern over what data is accessed and by whom
Similar vendor concerns, especially when allowing third-party access
The API Work Group may be able to provide information on all of
these topics. On our next monthly call, we will focus on more definite
direction on the specifics work products we should produce. These will possibly
include a document providing information on the primary concerns. We also may
address which aspects agencies should inquire on with prospective API vendors. I
would also think we will consider some other education piece on the benefits to
agents and customers of access to data. But internal workflows and interaction
with clients and prospects seem to be the two dominant focal points initially.
Our purpose is to get the conversation going, and get issues on
the table. We heard from some agents at the ACT Meeting discussion that there
is some apprehension about sharing data - Weve heard the same from vendors and
carriers too, so that is something we will need to talk about in terms of the
value of a data partnership. There may be growth in comfort with data access as
participants become more familiar with the process. Thats where education is
going to be important.
I am excited about where we are going to go with this. We have 52
people in the API Work Group; 11
agents and association reps, 18 vendors, 2 consultants, 21 carriersour largest
work group ever at formation, and the group has had a ton of
interest from people wanting to sign up. This is a really good sign!
From the Editor: Learn more about the ACT API Work Group here. Let us know if youre interested in joining the conversation!
Steve Anderson is the President of SteveAnderson.com,
providing a wide array of technology education. Steve also Co-Chairs the ACT
API Work Group with Duke
Williams, the founder of Simply Easier Payment, EchoSage, SehHey, and