OWIT Global: Filling Technology Gaps with Microservices-based Insurance Solutions

CEO Wendy Aarons-Corman talks to IIR about the company’s foothold in automated bordereaux management and its ambitions to bridge insurance technology discontinuities with modern technological solutions.

(Wendy Aarons-Corman, CEO & President, Americas, OWIT Global.)

OWIT Global (West Hartford, Conn.), a provider of insurance solutions built on microservices technology that fills technology gaps in the insurance value chain, came onto the scene in 2018, founded by insurance technology veterans. In a tried-and-true approach, the company sought a commercial foothold by addressing a problematic process in the insurance value chain, in this case, the manually intensive task of bordereaux management—the documentation of reinsured risks and related information sent among the entire ecosystem (MGAs, Carriers, Reinsurers, TPAs, etc.). The company has plenty of opportunity to help insurers automate bordereaux management—particularly in the U.S.—but it states its longer-term goal as providing the insurance industry with a fresh and much-needed option for supporting the superset of data exchange while extending legacy investments and getting new solutions to market with the processing pieces they need as they need it. As stated in on the OWIT Global website, “This team did not want to be another ‘me too’ offering and landed on insurance-specific, no-code microservices.” The company provides a catalog of microservices-based solutions designed to fill discontinuities in insurance systems, facilitate the extension of legacy systems to a digital ecosystem, and solve a range of solution needs from portals to policy lifecycle. IIR’s interest in OWIT Global was piqued by the relative obscurity of the problem it addressed when the company emerged a few years ago, but also by personal acquaintance with the company’s CEO and President, Wendy Aarons-Corman, whom we knew from her work at Duck Creek during the vendor’s formative years in the early 2000s. We recently caught up with Aarons-Corman to talk about OWIT Global’s work so far and its plans for the future.

IIR: How did you home in on the bordereaux management problem as you were forming OWIT Global with your colleagues?

Wendy Aarons-Corman, CEO & President, Americas, OWIT Global: After Duck Creek, I worked for Ryan Turner, which is a large brokerage/MGA aggregator. I was working with them as they were buying out MGAs and looking at the different technologies that MGAs had—the different processes—working with the CEO and the CUO and trying to figure out what the best approach was for technology and process. At that point I learned a lot about the bordereaux management problem in the industry.

Julian James, CRO and President, EMEA and AsiaPac, OWIT Global.

I couldn’t believe what a manually intensive process it was. IT resources are generally focused on core—policy, billing, claims—so, we saw bordereaux management as underserved marketplace. We had team of very experienced people who had worked with bordereaux in the U.S. The reason for that is that company were seeking to expand distribution, and the challenges of bordereaux management made it a much more difficult undertaking for companies to take on additional distribution partners.

We developed a solution called Bordereaux Central—BDX central. The “central” part is because it is a central ecosystem, a cloud-based environment built from the cloud down, where we have sources and receivers: TPA to carrier, carrier to reinsurer, MGA-carrier—it doesn’t matter where you are in the ecosystem. It’s a solution that consumes all different types of file types, cleanses the data, applies rules to it, does external data verification, allows you to manage the log of errors, push data through and it also does a little bit of ETL at the end to transform the data into the kind of normalized datasets that you downstream or to send out to other partners.  And, the onboarding and processing of the data is done through a no-code solution, fully baked.

IIR: OWIT has been making a name for itself based on bordereaux management, but I gather that’s clearly just a part of your larger ambitions.

WC: Yes, bordereaux is a subset of the overall strategy. We are highly focused on insurance digitalization, with data is at the core of it. So, while bordereaux is a huge pain point we can address, the larger picture for the industry is about insurance data transformation and exchange. That’s going to become more part of our everyday process of being able to communicate data versus portals.

We hear the term “digitization,” which I think is more a matter of taking documents and converting them into digital form. We’re focusing on digitalization, defined as the transfer of good data: it’s clean data, data integrity. For us it’s data integrity that we’re solving which is massive—massive—in our industry.

IIR: What does that say about your role in the industry. Reading your press releases, one might think of OWIT Global as a bordereaux management technology provider, but clearly that’s one application of your approach of filling technology gaps across the value chain.

WC: Right. I would say that we are a data digitalization management company. That’s what we’ve been heavily focusing on especially in the U.K. market, which is light years ahead of the U.S. market when it comes to processing and technology. Bordereaux is sort of passé over there, and of course there’s a lot of data exchange within the London market—we’re supporting all of that. In the process, we’re learning from the U.K. and other European markets what we need to bring into the U.S.

IIR: What has that meant for what you’re currently doing in the market?

WC: That and all our work has influenced how we can apply our technology. We do portals we do rating, we do document, we do integration services, we do log-in, we do party management—there are many parts and pieces and parts you can integrate with your systems.

From a confidence and security perspective everything is on AWS. We have a good secure environment for data. We have been assessed by large global reinsurance companies and carriers in terms of our security procedures. We’re in the process of getting SOC-compliant for 2023, so that all of our buyers will be very comfortable that we’re SOC I type 2 and SOC 2 type 2 compliant. That way they don’t have to go through the whole process, and we will be able to update our SOC compliance every year with our auditor.

Another advantage to our offering is the pricing model on our solution. We always look at GWP in terms of how much we’re spending on it, and most people spend most of their money on policy administration solutions and billing and claims. So, this is sort of a back-end solution. Sometimes it starts in the front end because for example we have a customer that is using U.S. in the front to get the data and then it goes through the other systems. The percentage of GWP for this particular product is in a sweet spot and allows for the customers to make a quicker ROI once they go with us.

Joel Otfinoski, Chief Customer Engagement Officer, OWIT.

IIR: How is this all working out, in terms of your success in the market?

WC: We’ve gained a ton of traction, People are coming to us now, and we have more customers coming on every year. COVID definitely had an effect on us in terms of the number of signings that we had done. A lot of people had said “no new vendors” while trying to figure out what’s going on with the industry. I remember when we started Duck Creek. I started on September 1, 2001 and the twin towers were hit 10 days later. We had no idea what the heck was going to happen to the insurance industry. However it seems to be pretty resilient, and OWIT managed to made it through COVID very well.

I think an important factor in our success is that we are ethical. I learned the importance of that when we were starting Duck Creek. Sometimes we’re not a fit for what people are trying to do, so we tell them that and suggest some vendors they might look at. We want the best fit because we want to have success as well and you know our reputation in the industry is important.

IIR: How did you arrive at the name OWIT Global?

WC: Actually it stands for “One World Insurance Technology. The interesting thing was that when we were beginning to build the company, we found out that is in the urban dictionary “Oh, I want that” so that was kind of a fun thing for us from a marketing campaign perspective.

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Anthony R. O’Donnell // Anthony O'Donnell is Executive Editor of Insurance Innovation Reporter. For nearly two decades, he has been an observer and commentator on the use of information technology in the insurance industry, following industry trends and writing about the use of IT across all sectors of the insurance industry. He can be reached at AnthODonnell@IIReporter.com or (503) 936-2803.

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