This is the first in a series of conversations with AAIS leadership to get to know them, their background and the unique work they're doing within AAIS to further the insurance industry. In this edition, AAIS Views spoke with Ruturaj Waghmode, VP of Data Solutions, about his career, our openIDL blockchain technology, the member benefits of openIDL and what else AAIS is doing with data.
Tell us about your background.
Ruturaj Waghmode: I have more than 15 years experience leading transformational programs and enterprise solutions for companies in a range of industries, including insurance, banking and financial services around the world. To sum it up simply: I'm a technologist who solves business problems.
How have attitudes toward data evolved over your career?
RW: Integrating data and sharing information between entities and organizations – whether they are business-to-business, business-to-customer, regulated or unregulated – has historically been more difficult, complex and effort-intensive than it needs to be. The fundamental barriers, historically, have been a lack of trust, a lack of a clear ownership model, concerns around security, and general technical difficulty in being able to share information. It’s precisely these factors that have impeded the openness within the insurance ecosystem.
In the past, participants and stakeholders within the insurance industry have been especially risk-averse and have taken a conservative approach to sharing data. The ideology has always been that ‘once I let go of my data, I will lose control of it.’ But we have been seeing incremental shifts in this thinking and the approach to data integration and information over the past decade. We want to be able to leverage data more fully but need the means to overcome these barriers. The open Insurance Data Link (openIDL) distributed ledger platform was expressly created to overcome these issues.
How does openIDL address these historical challenges?
RW: openIDL is an open blockchain network that streamlines regulatory reporting and enables the efficient, secure, and permissioned-based collection and sharing of statistical data. openIDL establishes the security and integrity insurers need to be confident about sharing information, knowing that the data is theirs – that it will only be used when they consent and for the purpose that they have consented to. There is complete transparency, with parties having full visibility and control over who has accepted their data, and most importantly, they have the right to revoke those permissions that they have provided.
By overcoming these historical hindrances, openIDL is not only easing and enhancing regulatory reporting for stakeholders but opening the door for insurers to achieve greater insights from their data that they can use to capture a variety of advantages – from better managing their portfolios to improving target marketing, to name a few.
How is your role at AAIS advancing these efforts?
RW: My team and I are focused on optimizing the value of data for AAIS Members. A big part of that right now is supporting Members as they onboard to openIDL, then working with them to ensure they derive full value and optimize their experience with openIDL as it evolves.
What does it take for a Member to onboard to openIDL?
RW: The new All Access Membership at AAIS includes membership in the openIDL, now a Linux Foundation Project promoting open source development. Members simply stand up a dedicated, private node that allows them to interface on openIDL. It requires a one-time conversion of data to a common data standard and, for the insured, an internal vetting of security and compliance architecture with their IT team. There is work needed upfront, but done once, it will pay dividends for the insurer going forward. My team helps AAIS Members every step of the way.
What does your work entail beyond openIDL?
RW: As an advisory organization with a community-focused model, AAIS is very focused on using data from across the industry to benefit our Members in new products and better services that benefit not only our insurance community but their end customers, the insureds. AAIS has spent years investing in modernizing our own infrastructure for the benefit of our members – and we are now translating that investment into real value for our Members.
My team and I are always looking at “problems” as opportunities to better serve our Members and our industry – whether by revolutionizing regulatory reporting or enabling new advancements in products and services. Today, we as an industry know we can do much more with our products and services in an open federated ecosystem – and we already have many more new and innovative solutions and opportunities percolating. We will definitely have much more to share in the weeks and months ahead.
AAIS is unique in providing an All-Access Membership model that enables its Members to participate in openIDL and take advantage of all the products and services AAIS offers.