AAIS has developed openIDL, an open blockchain network that streamlines regulatory reporting and provides new insights for insurers. I interviewed Joan Zerkovich, VP of Operations at AAIS, about her experience with design thinking in developing openIDL.
Q: Explain the benefits of DT to AAIS’s efforts around openIDL?Zerkovich: Design thinking is critical to our efforts around openIDL. The problem we were addressing is that statistical reporting is not meeting the needs of any of the key stakeholders—i.e., carriers, regulators and advisory organizations. In order to improve the system, we had to bring all of the parties together to build empathy for one another, agree upon what needs to be solved and then agree upon the solution. The design thinking workshop approach helped us accomplish this.
Q: What surprises, unintended consequences or other sorts of revelations came about using DT that otherwise might have gone undiscovered?
Zerkovich: The regulators were surprised to learn about how much work and expense was incurred within carrier data centers regarding data calls. They didn’t have the perspective that all 50 states impose operational overhead on the carriers, not just their state.
Carriers share the same values as the regulators. They both want to understand the health of the insurance marketplace and ensure it is fair for consumers. The carriers would like access to the reports that state regulators are creating from data calls to better understand their performance relative to the entire market.
Both groups had lost the institutional knowledge that the role of the advisory organization is to have access to regulatory data for product development. This is something both groups value once reminded.
The regulators and the carriers came to a new realization of how we could all help one another and, for the first time in over 80 years, agreed to work together collaboratively on regulatory reporting.
Q: For someone wanting to explore utilizing DT, what first steps advice can you offer?
Zerkovich: Partner with someone skilled in the design thinking process to facilitate two or three sessions and train internal staff in the techniques. There are subtleties in how you guide people to build empathy, to think creatively and to come together on next steps. IDEO is the most recognized expert in the field. AAIS used IBM’s design thinking practice.
Learn more about openIDL at https://aaisonline.com/openidl and in the Carrier Management article, “Why Open Source, Blockchain-Powered Infrastructure Matters,” by Joan Zerkovich.