Settlement processes between insurers and brokers are among the more complex processes in industrial insurance. Premiums, brokerage fees and claims payments are usually not settled individually among each other, but in collective settlements carried out on a monthly or quarterly basis. Insurers and brokers use the terms bordero, agent or insurer collection settlement or brokerage or commission settlement in this context. Tax settlement also frequently falls within this range of topics, as payment flows between the end customer, broker and risk carrier must also be settled here.
- How do collection and settlement processes work in industrial insurance?
- What are the current challenges for these settlement processes?
- What would an “ideal world” for digital intermediary or insurer billing look like?
- What is the BiPRO’s approach to solving the problem – what is behind standard 430.7?
- What are the processes of BiPRO standard 430.7?
- How does the standard find its way into practice? What does DIOPLUS mean in this context?
- What is the Projectscope?
- Who are the participants?
- Why is the dissemination of this standard so successful?
- For which industrial insurers and brokers is the BiPRO agent settlement interesting?
- Who can participate in DIOPLUS sub-projects and follow-up projects?
1. How do collection and settlement processes work in industrial insurance?
Industrial brokers and insurers manage their customer data, offers, policies and claims in separate systems. This also applies to any underwriters or reinsurers involved. The insured client pays the insurance premium either to the broker or to the insurer, who then passes on the shares for the other parties involved. In the simplest case, the broker receives the gross premium from the end customer and passes it on to the insurer after deducting the brokerage and, if applicable, tax. Depending on the complexity of an industrial insurance contract (many covers, several insurers involved, international business with different currencies and taxes), very complex payment flows can arise.
2. What are the current challenges for these settlement processes?
When payments are combined in a collective settlement, such as all premium payments of a month between a broker and an insurer, a certain sum is transferred via a bank account and a settlement document (bordero) is exchanged as an attachment. The challenge for brokers and insurers is to reconcile these statements: are the sums or offsets correct, which contracts must be marked as “paid”, where have only partial payments been made, etc.? Since brokers and insurers give their offers or policies different numbers, a clear allocation of individual payments is not always possible. Different formats of the settlement documents such as table contents, sequence, net/gross differentiation etc. make this even more difficult.
3. What would an “ideal world” for digital broker/insurer billing look like?
In an “ideal world”, brokers and insurers would exchange unique numbers and identifiers in real time across the system boundaries of brokers and insurers throughout the entire life cycle of an insurance policy – from the initial offer to the policy, various policy addenda and claims settlements. In this way, all administrative and payment processes can always be clearly assigned. The same contract would then be found under “contract number 4711” in the insurer and broker system as well as in the monthly collective settlement documents. If this data were exchanged digitally via interfaces between brokers and insurers, 99 percent of all billing processes could be carried out fully automatically. The manual search and allocation of individual settlement items would be completely eliminated. Clerks could concentrate on correcting a few incorrect entries or clarifying open items.
4. What is BiPRO’s solution approach – what is behind standard 430.7?
The Industry Institute for Process Optimisation, BiPRO for short, has set itself the goal of standardising cross-company business processes. Its penetration is very high in the private insurance business due to the strong economies of scale, but in industrial insurance the acceptance is significantly lower due to complexity, lower unit numbers and also lower digitalisation depth.
Standard 430.7 has changed this and accelerated the spread of BiPRO in the industrial insurance sector. From a technical point of view, it covers settlement across all types of underwriting and settlement, from insurer collection to management and participation business to intermediary collection. The settlement data between the participating companies is exchanged via a web service. In recent years, the standard has been revised in various projects involving more than 25 companies. A newly revised BiPRO standard 430.7 has been available since the end of 2019.
5. What do the processes in BiPRO Standard 430.7 look like?
The following graphic shows from an overarching perspective which processes are taken into account in the optimisation of settlement traffic in the standard:
The process describes the transmission of settlement data that a settlement agent wants to communicate to a settlement recipient. In management and participation business, for example, this can be the manager sending a premium or claims settlement, in insurer collection the insurer sending a commission settlement, or in intermediary collection the intermediary sending his settlement to the insurer.
The standard itself does not use the terms “insurer” or “broker”, but differentiates between “provider” and “consumer”: Provider and consumer in this context refers to making available as well as using interfaces between technical partners in the insurance market. In the case of the billing standard, brokers and insurers can act in both roles. Example: The insurer is a provider if it makes technical functions available to the consumer, e.g. a broker, via BiPRO interfaces.
Therefore, standard 430.7 clarifies the following important points as preconditions:
- The partners have reached an agreement in the area of settlement in the management and participation business as to who will act as a web service provider and who as a consumer.
- The actors must have reached an agreement on settlement traffic that includes the transmission of settlement data according to the sub-process. In addition to the general agreement, this concerns:
- Who settles the accounts: intermediary, underwriter or insurer?
- Type of settlement data (which types are supplied, e.g. collections, disbursements, brokerage fees, OPs or account statements)?
- Level of detail (are line items and/or balances provided for certain settlement types?)
- Data scope (is further inventory data supplied in addition to allocation data and the actual booking data)?
- Time and period (are event-driven deliveries possible, when and over what period of time are regular deliveries agreed)?
- Selection criteria (is data provided on the entire account, individual contracts, customers, claims, etc.)?
6. How does the standard find its way into practice? What does DIOPLUS mean in this context?
Despite successful standardisation, dissemination in the market often takes several years: project partners have to find each other individually, negotiate detailed requirements and adapt existing systems. The idea of the BiPRO-DIOPLUS “digitisation offensives” is to implement adopted standards in a binding manner. In DIOPLUS, participants commit to implementing the standard within a certain timeframe by means of a “Letter of Intent”. In order to keep to the schedule and realise the project goals, a steering committee supports all project phases.
At the end of 2019, the first phase (first mover) of DIOPLUS began on standard 430.7 Intermediary Collections. Currently, eleven first movers and three followers are implementing this and are thus productive. In 2021, the implementation of downstream processes, such as the transmission of open item lists and clarification requests, followed. At the end of 2021, the follow-up project Leadership and Participation started with five participants, and since the beginning of 2022, seven companies have started implementing insurer collection (from the broker’s perspective, commission settlement).
7. What is the exact projectscope of BiPRO DIOPLUS Intermediary Collections?
For the first phase, the scope is defined as follows: Based on the BiPRO standard 430.7 (Release 2.8), the settlement between intermediary (VM) and insurer (VU) in the so-called intermediary collection (broker collection) is implemented as a web service in the participating companies. This includes:
- Transmission of the settlement in the intermediary collection from the intermediary to the insurer
- Transmission of clarification requests for settlement from the insurer to the intermediary
- Transmission of the OP list from the insurer to the intermediary
- Transmission of clarification requests on the OP list from the intermediary to the insure
The scope of the standard implementation basically extends to all types of underwriting in the relationship VM-VU, VU-VU and VU-VM (sole underwriting, management and participation). The implementation for a VU-VM and VU-VU settlement is not excluded in the same time window, but is not part of the project in the first phase.
8. Which market participants are taking part in the standardisation?
After the first movers, other participants – industrial insurers, brokers and software providers – have joined. The circle of supporters is growing continuously:
- Allianz Life Insurance Company
- Aon Versicherungsmakler Deutschland GmbH
- ASSFINET GmbH
- AXA Group AG
- Barmenia Krankenversicherung AG
- The Haftpflichtkasse VVaG
- Ecclesia Holding GmbH
- ERGO Group AG
- Gayen & Berns – Homann GmbH
- Generali Deutschland Services GmbH
- Gothaer Allgemeine Versicherung AG
- HDI AG
- Martens & Prahl Versicherungskontor GmbH & Co KG
- R+V Allgemeine Versicherung AG
- Smart InsurTech AG
- SV SparkassenVersicherung Holding AG
- Insurance Chamber Bavaria
9. Why is the dissemination of this BiPRO standard more successful than other standards?
The standard solves an operational problem that all market participants share. The topic of intermediary or insurer billing is not a field for differentiation in competition, unlike the product or coverage-oriented standards. The complexity of the data model is also kept within bounds, if one compares it, for example, with the insurance-specific standards in the area of TAA (rating/offer/application). The cross-company exchange of information was therefore able to pick up speed quickly. All participants are united by the desire for more efficient and leaner billing, which can only be achieved through joint optimisation and standardisation of processes.
10. For which industrial insurers and brokers is the BiPRO agent settlement interesting?
Since the topics of bordero, broker or insurer collection settlement or brokerage or commission settlement incur high costs for every broker and insurer, the standard is in principle interesting for all market participants – provided a certain transaction volume. The larger the number of insurers with whom monthly settlements have to be made (and vice versa from the insurer’s point of view), the more worthwhile it is to deal with an automated, digitalised solution. If most of the partners with whom the insurer/broker settles have already implemented the standard, the topic becomes even more attractive. In the end, it must be evaluated how quickly the one-time costs of a digital connection are amortised by saving the monthly manual billing efforts.
11. Who can participate in DIOPLUS sub-projects and follow-up projects?
DIOPLUS is open to all members of BiPRO and the German Insurance Association (GDV). What is important is the commitment to a binding, productive implementation. There are a variety of support options for newcomers, such as a number of implementation teams and sponsorships. All participants contribute to the financing of project management and support. This can be requested from the respective DIOPLUS project leader.
Further information (only available in german):
- Versicherungsforen Leipzig: Use Case Bordero-Erstellung – Wie der Sammelabrechnungsprozess zwischen Marktpartnern in der Industrieversicherung skalierbar wird
- Podcast: Digitale Vermittlerabrechnung mit BiPRO aus Maklersicht – mit Holm Schröder von AON
- Podcast:BiPRO in der Industrieversicherung am Beispiel Vermittlerabrechnung – mit Markus Heussen von b-tix
- BiPRO Norm 430.7 – Uebermittlung Abrechnungen
- BiPRO Norm 430.7 – Anhang Sequenzdiagramme