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Let's Talk About APIs - Part 3 - Why API Standards

News / Aug.21.2018
Let’s Talk About APIs Series
Part 3: Why API Standards

(Note: This is the third of a multi-part series on APIs with CLIEDIS.  Read Part 1: Defining ‘API’  and Part 2: The Yin and Yang of APIs and Data Feeds)


In the first two articles of this series we made the case for APIs. As a standards organization, when CLIEDIS thinks of APIs we think of API Standards. Why is it necessary to standardize?

Many carriers are currently working on their digital roadmap, expanding web capabilities and introducing mobile applications. It is guaranteed that APIs are part of that picture. Without any API standards, each carrier will design their own set of APIs for their target audience, without collaboration with other carriers. There will be no consistency, neither in the roadmap nor the API design. As these functions become available for distributors, the risk is a distributor’s system will need to support different designs and expectations of APIs for each and every carrier. A distributor will have no consistency in API offerings across insurers. The cost to support the differences in APIs may outweigh the benefits. We need to ensure this does not happen.

Through standardization, CLIEDIS can prescribe:

A Common Language. We want to ensure a single way to ‘Ask and Answer’, so that systems understand one another and can communicate.

Consistent Behavior. We need clear expectations of what each API will do. For instance, at an ATM, when you do a withdrawal, you expect it to access the right account, verify funds, and debit your account when you get your money (but not if you don’t). You go in with clear expectations of how it should behave.

Repeatable Design. If done right, design decisions will work for any API. This is critical as we move from one API to two or twenty. Standard design principles allow companies to rinse and repeat their API technology for many functions and users.     

An Industry Level Roadmap. Each carrier will undoubtably build and maintain their own digital roadmap for client and advisor based APIs. For the distributor market, CLIEDIS is in a position to define a roadmap that gives the distributor the biggest benefits across carriers. Just as we have with prioritizing data feeds, the same needs to happen for APIs.

API standardization is necessary for this industry to achieve the benefits of this technology. We need to collaborate now before it is too late.

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Next up in this series: The CLIEDIS API Strategy. Stay tuned!

In June 2018, CLIEDIS announced a major effort to develop API standards for the insurance industry. To learn more about this initiative, come to our next webinar on August 22nd.

For more information on the API work being done by CLIEDIS, please contact Tana Sabatino, Implementation Services Specialist at CLIEDIS: tsabatino@cliedis.ca or, Darlys Corbitt, Executive Director at CLIEDIS: dcorbitt@cliedis.ca.

Tana Sabatino
Implementation Services Specialist
CLIEDIS
Email: tsabatino@cliedis.ca
Phone: 415-431-6666

Darlys Corbitt
Executive Director
CLIEDIS
Email: dcorbitt@cliedis.ca
Phone: 519-702-7643

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