Introducing the Clearcover API, making car insurance available anywhere
By Adam Fischer, Vice President of Product at Clearcover
By now most everyone is familiar with the common refrain made popular by Apple, “there’s an app for that.” What a lot of people don’t realize is, in order for there to be an “app for that”, there needs to first be an “API for that.”
Many interactions a consumer has with technology today are driven by a rich set of flexible and efficient Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). APIs allow disparate systems to securely and quickly communicate with one another in order to pass data and complete complicated tasks to help achieve important results on behalf of consumers.
Some of the most disruptive companies have found ways to take frustratingly old industry technology, add in novel enhancements, and wrap it all in a set of modern APIs. In doing so, these companies unlocked untapped potential no one knew was possible.
So we decided to do the same thing with insurance.
Enter the Clearcover API.
In an industry that is still hiring COBOL developers, the Clearcover API makes selling and servicing insurance easy.
Build trust through partnerships
As an insurance start-up, we knew that a lot of potential customers wouldn’t know who we were, and if they did, we would have to do a lot of work to earn their trust. From a product and engineering perspective, the best solution was to focus our first API efforts on getting our product distributed as widely as possible, effectively creating a partner-centric distribution model.
We imagined that our partners could help introduce us to potential customers in moments that are relevant to purchasing auto insurance. Our hypothesis was that if you trust our partners to help find you a car or manage your finances, then you might just trust them enough to offer you a reputable auto insurance company.
In exchange for helping introduce us to our future customers, we are able to offer our partners entry into a $230 billion auto insurance market with seamless and easy integration options.
Though it’s early, we think this approach is starting to catch on.
So how does it work? Our distribution API endpoints allow for a diverse set of partners to present different types of sales opportunities.
Quote API allows our partners to securely pass us data about their user and quickly get back a Clearcover auto insurance quote. Each quote also includes an attribution link that allows the partner to send the user over to Clearcover to complete their purchase.
Lead API is a product that many of our partners from outside the insurance industry are integrating with in order to securely send us rich data on a user but, instead of getting a full quote, they simply receive the attribution link in the response. While Quote API needs to have some very rigorous validations that will reject a request with invalid data, Lead API allows a partner to pass whatever data they have and will throw out any bad data but still return a 200 with an attribution link. Lead API is ideal for partners who have a lot of customer data and need more than a simple referral link.
SmartLink is the easiest path of integration and allows partners to attribute traffic to our platform via a simple link that can be shared in email, a banner ad, or even a physical mailing. Additionally, SmartLink allows for multiple vanity URLs per partner, which can allow unique campaign tracking to see how effective certain channels are.
Delight through ease of purchase
Once our partner introduces Clearcover to a potential customer, they experience the easiest car insurance purchasing process ever. While we aren’t the first insurance company to offer insurance through partnerships, we believe we have the best experience to complete the purchase and convert our customers. How? Through our Flow API.
Flow API has one goal — to make car insurance buying as effortless as possible. Flow API analyzes the data received from any of our distribution APIs, calculates which questions of the insurance application have already been answered by that data, and then only displays the remaining unanswered questions to the user.
When you combine Flow API with a user experience focused on making the purchase process easy, available on any device, and demystifies complex coverage options, you really have a special opportunity to delight the customer and give them an auto insurance experience like they’ve never had.
Keep earning trust through great service
Acquiring customers is certainly important, but we believe that providing amazing service to keep them is just as vital. That’s why we then moved our attention to expanding the Clearcover API to build an industry-leading service experience.
Customer API is what drives our powerful Android and iOS mobile apps. Users are able to see their ID Cards, payment info, documents, and submit Claims all through our Customer API. Our mobile Claims submission significantly accelerates the process and we’ve been prepared to pay customers within a day post-accident.
Policy API is used with select partners to allow us to securely share important policy details. For example, if a customer runs out of gas and has to call our Roadside Assistance partner, our Policy API allows their customer service rep to verify coverage and get our customer help as soon as possible.
We also use Policy API internally as well. Let’s say a customer calls our dedicated Customer Advocate team and requests a printed copy of their ID Card. Instead of spending a lot of engineering resources building out a unique UI for these types of requests, our Advocates simply send the request to a Slack chatbot who will use our Policy API, Amazon S3, and the API of our printed mail vendor to immediately get the ID Card printed, stuffed, and mailed to our customer.
After six months, we’re confident in our accomplishments so far. We’re working with over twenty partners, gained thousands of customers with over 80% of them using our app, and processed hundreds of claims while providing same day digital estimates with our mobile claims submission process enabled by our Customer API.
While the response has been overwhelmingly positive, we’re just getting started. The Clearcover API can easily be used to provide a broad variety of integrated end-to-end insurance experiences for our partners. For example, imagine a Financial Services partner displaying a users’ monthly payment amount in their app alongside their current bank accounts or a car shopping website that knows your current coverages and provides a “total cost of ownership” quote so customers can get a complete view of cost.
And that’s just talking about today.
As vehicle ownership and capabilities change, we need insurance technology that can change with it. One of the questions I get the most from family and friends is, “What are you going to do about autonomous cars?” While no one has a crystal ball for predicting how exactly autonomy, mobility, and other massive shifts in the Automotive space will net out, what is clear is that we’re ready for whatever the future might bring because we are focusing on building an insurance platform instead of just an insurance company.
We’re grateful that our customers have given us the opportunity to continue to transform an industry and we hope to continue to earn their trust while also saving them money along the way.
To learn more about the Clearcover API, visit: https://clearcover.com/api/