Insurance APIs - Part I: What They Are, How They Work, and Why Insurers Should Care

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The capabilities provided by today’s technology have become a game changer for many industries — including insurance. One such technology that has experienced increased popularity among insurance organizations over the past several years is an application program interface, or API. 

Simply put, APIs allow computer programs to communicate and share information. In part one of this two-part blog, we’ll explain the basics of insurance API integrations in helping organizations better understand what this flexible and modern technology is and how it works. Next month, we’ll take a deeper dive into specific use cases in the insurance industry.

So What Is an API?

An API is an external component of a software program. You can think of it like a handshake between insurance companies and third-party software developers – allowing the developers to access and integrate insurance-related data and services into their own applications. 

Serving as a “middleman” between two different software applications, APIs allow the programs to talk to each other and share info in a standardized way. An API greatly enhances the software’s ability to interact with multiple programs across various systems and operating platforms – like a translator between two different language speakers! 

For example, if you check traffic on a maps app on your phone, the maps app is likely using an API to get info from a traffic service. Your request for road conditions goes from the API to the traffic service, which then sends the info back to the maps app in a way that shows the info you need. APIs make it all happen.

User Interface: Human to Computer

The term interface means a point where two systems, subjects, organizations, etc. meet and interact. When referring to a user interface, we are describing the means by which a user and a computer system or device interact.

Every insurance organization utilizes some type of user interface during the course of business. Examples of this human-to-computer interaction include keyboards, mice, commands and menus — all of which allow communication between the user and the computer.

Application Interface: Computer to Computer

While a user interface is a human-to-computer interaction, API is computer-to-computer, passing data messages from one device or program to another in a precise format.

A software program can talk to other systems by way of an API. The parameters that are passed and shared between the two systems help to define the services one system can deliver to another. The job of the API is to simplify and concentrate internal capabilities into a more accessible form that an insurance organization can use to automate a wide range of key business solutions.

Insurance API Integration

In the insurance industry, APIs provide insurance entities with a flexible and streamlined way to automate a multitude of workflow processes — without the added expense and business interruption of replacing existing systems, configuring codes or hiring additional staff. 

From applications to rating, quoting, underwriting and claims management, insurance API integration is the key to unlocking enterprise-wide, out-of-the-box automation, without having to hire an army of developers — completing complex system configurations and deploying extensive user training. 

Stay tuned! In part two of this blog, we’ll look at the benefits and features of insurance APIs, along with specific applications for insurance entities. Subscribe to our list so you don’t miss out:

About Surefyre, Inc.
Surefyre is a highly configurable insurance automation platform and agency portal focused on digital distribution and automated workflows. Our application program interface platform makes your life easier by automating the submission, rating, quoting and binding process for all P&C insurance products.

To learn more, contact Shawn Gonzales, Advisor & Account Executive, at or 415-480-9283.

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Shawn Gonzales
Advisor & Account Executive