Imagine a time in the not-too-distant past when hundreds of pages of facultative life insurance applications came to reinsurers via courier service or slipped from shuddering fax machines every day.
Headache forming? Now envision an elegant software solution, called FAC® Console, that could be downloaded and allow these same carriers to instantly submit cases to multiple reinsurers with a click.
FAC Console arrived in 2000 and launched a quiet revolution in facultative underwriting. Almost overnight, carriers that downloaded the software were able to dramatically compress the facultative submission process from weeks to days, while saving on copying, mailing, and delivery fees. Yet, like any utility after 20 years, FAC Console needed to evolve; its developer – RGA – is now leading a new transition into the cloud with a next-generation solution: FAC Exchange.
The Secret History of an Industry Innovation
Many an industry veteran could be forgiven for not even recognizing the name FAC Console, despite the software’s pervasive use among carriers and reinsurers. Part of what makes FAC Console so unique can be traced to its unusual history. Offered without software licensing or usage fees to carriers and at a nominal fee to reinsurers, FAC Console resolved a mounting industrywide challenge: transmitting facultative cases to reinsurers could take days and sometimes weeks. RGA recognized that the Internet could speed the submission process, and FAC Console was born.
FAC Console became the industry standard for the transmission of facultative cases, but while many in the insurance industry are now actively using the technology, surveys suggest users are frequently unaware of its origins. FAC Console’s under-the-radar nature was originally deliberate. The service was, and remains, carefully neutral, walled off from undue influence by any single carrier or reinsurer, including RGA. The software’s intent was to overcome a shared, industrywide barrier and, to that end, the system was architected to be carrier and reinsurer agnostic at every level.
An Exchange for the Better
Yet, if FAC Console’s ubiquity was the secret to the technology’s remarkable success, it also posed a challenge. Growing demand for frictionless and accelerated underwriting has prompted carriers to digitize every stage of the insurance value chain, from underwriting to claims assessment. This means seamlessly integrating multiple operational or “underwriting workbench” technologies into highly secure and interconnected cloud-based systems. This eliminates time-consuming and unnecessary data entry and enables the strongest data privacy and security protections.
It’s difficult to overestimate how important such a business-to-business connection is becoming for carriers, yet FAC Console transmits in only one direction: cases are transferred to reinsurers via the tool, then reinsurers must reply with a decision via email, fax, or SFT/text or other methods. FAC Console, a technology requiring manual installation and data entry in an increasingly integrated, automated world, began to require an update. In fact, the shared platform was slowly seeing carriers seek to implement alternate transmission methods to overcome some of the limitations of FAC Console.
It’s difficult to overestimate how important such a business-to-business connection is becoming for carriers.
It was time to prepare a next-generation solution that could replace FAC Console and offer new features to meet the needs of a changing industry. Like its predecessor, FAC Exchange enables carriers to electronically send facultative cases to multiple reinsurers from a single point. But this is where the similarity ends. Already in use and designed to fully replace FAC Console, FAC Exchange also allows reinsurers to send quotes or decisions back using the tool.
Such two-way information transfers change the game. With incoming and outgoing transmissions supplied in a standardized (ACORD) format, customized data formatting is no longer needed. Also, FAC Exchange directly integrates with carriers’ underwriting systems through an application programming interface (API) and a cloud-based system. Data flows between and within systems seamlessly, offering end-to-end security and eliminating the need for inefficient manual entry. Pooling data allows for deeper analysis and promises to enhance the accuracy and consistency of risk assessment.
From the start, RGA knew that FAC Exchange would have to be a solution that worked for everyone. So, the company consulted underwriters from carriers and reinsurers large and small, and carriers’ and reinsurers’ needs were built into the technology’s design.
From the start, RGA knew that FAC Exchange would have to be a solution that worked for everyone.
FAC Exchange’s developers also considered the sustainability of the software. To future proof FAC Exchange, developers built flexibility into its code. It can handle new and different forms of data, and already developers are at work on a string of feature requests and functionality updates in response to carrier and reinsurer requests. FAC Exchange represents the latest innovation brought to market by RGA and will continue to receive investment and evolve alongside the industry.