Open Insurance: What is it?

Open Insurance: What is it?

It’s human nature to define, categorize, and compare — even when it’s not necessary. For example, many of us are familiar with the idea of open banking, but we can’t tell you exactly what it means. We only know that banking is much easier and more convenient as a result. At Zinnia, we believe that Open Insurance will make the insurance industry easier and more convenient as well, and not just for consumers. 

In some ways, Open Insurance reimagines how life and annuities are created and enforced from end to end. In other ways, Open Insurance doesn’t change anything about how insurance works, it just makes the business of insurance work much more effectively. 

Our goal with Zinnia Open Insurance is to seamlessly connect people, data, and technology to create a more intuitive, collaborative, and enjoyable journey from end to end in the life insurance and annuities lifecycle. It’s about empowering exceptional experiences and outcomes for everyone.

What does Open Insurance Mean for Carriers?

For many years, the gap between what modern consumers expect and the experience that life and annuity carriers deliver has continued to grow. Legacy systems, complex offerings, push distribution models, and paper processes no longer serve the consumer effectively, or any other stakeholders for that matter.

At Zinnia, we’ve combined our rich heritage of insurance expertise and pioneering technology to help carriers close the gap and deliver exceptional risk-based outcomes for life and annuity customers and other stakeholders. As a result, Zinnia Open Insurance will enable carriers to dramatically accelerate product innovation and speed-to-market: from lead to origination and distribution, from pricing to trading to administration, from customer service to a deeper, more meaningful level of consumer engagement.

What does Open Insurance Mean for Advisors?

Advisors continue to play an important role in life and annuities sales but may lack the digital tools needed to deliver a modern and easy buying experience that meets consumers when, where, and how they want to be met. 

Zinnia Open Insurance will empower advisors with a 3600 view of the entire sales process. It will empower advisors with data to enable secure engagement with authenticated stakeholders, including carriers and consumers, at any time.

What does Open Insurance Mean for Consumers?

Simply put, Zinnia Open Insurance powers exceptional insurance experiences. At Zinnia, one of our top goals with Open Insurance is to deliver transparency for everyone, but especially for consumers who depend on life and annuities for the protection, security, and financial wellness of their families.

Why Zinnia Open Insurance?

We have deep knowledge and expertise in insurance and technology and never accept the status quo. We are bold, courageous, and think differently. And we collaborate as partners with each other and our clients.


Introducing Zinnia: Bringing Open Insurance to the L&A Industry

Today I’m thrilled to introduce Zinnia, our new company founded on SE2’s rich heritage of insurance expertise and enhanced by entrepreneurs from the world of technology and data. Zinnia will focus on delivering clients across the industry a modern Open Insurance experience and the tools to reimagine how life and annuities are bought, sold, serviced, and experienced.

The life and annuities market (at least in our humble opinion) continues to be overly complicated with multiple points of friction that result in a disjointed experience for consumers, advisors, carriers, and reinsurers across the value chain. We think this asset class deserves to shine alongside many other financial wellness products where the experience is inviting, transparent and frictionless. With Zinnia Open Insurance, our goal is to eliminate complexity and friction and ultimately simplify the experience for clients and customers. As a result, we want to enable accelerated growth of this industry at a pace that reflects the real value these products provide.

Zinnia will continue to offer TPA services, of course, powered by our current platform that includes admin services, hybrid origination and distribution, customer engagement, and fund management. Over time, we will introduce more products and data capabilities that will enable us to deliver on our Open Insurance promise.

The Zinnia Open Insurance Platform

At the heart of Zinnia is a powerful system of record that provides a trusted source of real-time data on every policy and customer. Built using smart contracts and digital ledger technology that updates in real-time, Zinnia can now deliver a single source of truth — a golden record — that can be distributed securely and effectively across the entire insurance ecosystem. The Zinnia system of record is built using Daml thanks to our partnership with Digital Asset. Daml allows us to securely share real-time data updates across the insurance value chain.

Our unique combination of insurance experience (our people!) and technology is critical to moving the needle in the L&A industry. Our focus is on outcomes and experiences, including making life and annuities products a better deal for consumers. Ultimately, we will have succeeded if Zinnia results in lower fees, makes products more accessible, and helps more families achieve financial security.

Welcome to the era of Open Insurance! We’re eager to collaborate with the industry to create transformative insurance experiences together. We encourage you to reach out to us to begin your journey or accelerate it

Warmest Regards,

-Michele Trogni and the entire Zinnia team

Zinnia Open Insurance: Powered by A Golden Source of Record

Zinnia Open Insurance: Powered by A Golden Source of Record

When you want to check the status of an Amazon order, you simply go to and look it up. When you want to check the status of a new insurance application, it will likely take several touchpoints (4-5) before you get a definitive answer. Does it really need to be this complicated? We believe the answer is a resounding NO.

Amazon provides a real-time window into your order because data flows seamlessly behind the scenes. As a consumer, we don’t care if we purchased directly from Amazon or from a third-party seller. Or who ships the order. The only thing that matters is the outcome. When will I get my package?

Insurance follows the same sales cycle as other products: develop, launch, transact, manage the relationship, execute. Today, it takes an average life insurance carrier 16-18 months to launch a new product, months to sell, weeks to underwrite, approve, and issue the policy, and years before a claim is made let alone processed. How can we make the cycle more efficient and effective?

A Single Source of Trusted Data

Many of the challenges at the heart of the insurance business could be overcome if there was simply one source of truth available to everyone in the process in real-time, auditable, and non-debatable. For example, selling policies.

Today, the processes involved in selling policies are often reliant on static data sources lodged in different systems. When stakeholders need to check the status of a policy sale, they rely on emails, calls, texts, faxes, and even snail mail — to get a reliable answer. Every one of these touchpoints adds days and dollars to the cost of selling that policy and adds undue strain to the candidate policyholder.

A single source of truth — a system of record — available to all parties in real-time through business-critical channels would eliminate unnecessary touchpoints and improve the experience for each stakeholder involved in the transaction. And not just for the new policy application process, but across the entire policy lifecycle.

Improving Outcomes with the Zahara System of Record by Zinnia 

Zahara is Zinnia’s system of record, the pipes that will enable the seamless flow of accurate, real-time, and secure data to the parties that need it. In more technical terms, Zahara will be a powerful, cloud-native system of record built on smart contracts and distributed ledger technology that serves as the trusted source of information, anytime and in real-time.

Zahara, like everything we do at Zinnia, is designed to improve outcomes across the L&A lifecycle. It powers our vision of a more open and effective insurance industry and is being built by industry experts, data scientists, and technology innovators working together to transform the business of life and annuities.

Zahara enables Open Insurance by making data standardized and transparent. It will facilitate access to golden source data by any authenticated party playing a role in a transaction, regardless of company affiliation. It will be a set of services that the insurance industry can use within their existing ecosystems – even if you aren’t using other Zinnia products. It’s a bold vision of a more open industry by Zinnia that works the way your business works, just better.

NIGO Must GO: Welcome the Era of Open Insurance by Brad Medd

“Not in good order.” NIGO is insurance speak for applications that are missing information and cannot be processed until that information is provided. It’s also a roadblock that doesn’t need to occur in the 21st century. The paper, the person/processor, and the mistakes could all be eliminated in a fully digital experience. Instead, the industry still relies on phone calls and faxes, call centers, and operations teams – each introducing manual inputs into separate systems.

Traditionally, carriers have come to SE2 for help improving administrative processes which are often symptomatic of a larger problem, but not the actual problem itself. When a policy is NIGO, for example, the call center takes over the task of getting the missing information. Many of our customers come to us for help with call center operations to streamline these types of tasks, but the root problem – why is there missing information – is not addressed. 

For any given problem, there are things that can be changed – and things that can’t. It’s important to recognize that the insurance journey is unlikely to change. The types of transactions that need servicing, e.g., paying bills, filing claims, etc., aren’t going away. We can make them digital, which is certainly an improvement in the overall experience, but does digital bill pay address the root problem of missing information? Not necessarily. We need to go further, and to make accurate and trusted information available to all authenticated stakeholders on demand, within the systems carriers are already using. We describe this as Open Insurance.

Open Insurance describes a fundamentally different approach to the business of insurance where information flows freely to the parties that need it, when they need it. Our vision of Open Insurance stands in stark contrast to today’s industry filled with siloed legacy systems, sequential steps, file-based integration, paper forms, and manual processes.

Enter Zinnia Open Insurance

To achieve the vision of Open Insurance, we brought together industry experts, data scientists, tech innovators, and entrepreneurs – the result is Zinnia. Our goal at Zinnia is ultimately to show the industry that there is a better way.

It starts with a robust system of record that is available to all parties in real time, so people who need information only have one place to look. In the new business process, for example, parties should never have to spend valuable time trying find out where a new policy application stands– that information should be transparent and available within the CRM or distribution systems they are already using.

I’m describing a level of interoperability that may not seem feasible for L&A until you look at other industries. With an ATM card, you can withdraw funds from your account no matter who you bank with, and a NIGO is not a concept you would entertain. We need these types of strong standards and best practices to achieve a level of interoperability that will improve the life and annuities experience for all parties.

We also need to reimagine how we build new products so we aren’t starting from scratch each time. Policies are essentially contractual obligations, and if we can create granular, structured “smart contracts,” we can assemble new products from these well-defined smart contracts like you would build with legos because like legos these smart contracts are built with standards that allow them to interoperate. This will also enable the industry to bring products to market much more quickly and eliminate the multiple points of reconciliation that are required when building new products today. And all of these smart contracts and transactions are then recorded using digital ledger technology to ensure traceability and trust.

The goal is to drive transparency end-to-end by making indisputable data available as needed. It will require discipline, new industry standards, and participation by all parties, including regulators. This is the way forward, and we call it Zinnia Open Insurance.

Zinnia: The Path to Value for the L&A Industry by Michael Celi

The insurance industry has been slower to digitally transform, however, in my mind, the seemingly slow pace of change is, in fact, in line with the natural cadence of this industry. 

Unlike new product sales in other industries, it takes years for life and annuities products to pay back. On the consumer side, the time between when a policy is issued and when a claim is made is also typically measured in years. In addition, this industry is highly structured with very well-defined processes and guardrails.

Creating a Path to Value for Carriers

Carriers know they need to modernize, and most of them have spent years and millions of dollars doing so. What hasn’t been readily available is the detailed roadmap to getting them there, including milestones clearly marking “value delivered.” Instead, most carriers have had to settle for discrete functional improvements – not a compelling path to value.

This is why we’ve created Zinnia, a new company that combines our rich heritage of insurance industry expertise with great technology to will help carriers deliver exceptional risk-based outcomes in the life and annuity sectors. At Zinnia, we believe the path to value for carriers will be built on a foundation we call Open Insurance. 

The most important thing to understand about Open Insurance is that it’s about bringing transparency to what has traditionally been a black-box industry. We’re not talking about “opening the kimono” and exposing the inner workings of the industry. Instead, we want to develop systems where data flows freely to the authenticated stakeholders that need it. 

The status of a new policy application should not be a mystery that requires multiple phone calls and faxes to figure out. That information should be accurate and available on-demand as needed. And not just application status, but all policy and policyholder information that is required at any given point in the lifecycle.

Delivering on the Impossible

Everyone talks about unlocking the existing data inside legacy systems and/or creating new systems that capture useful data. But instead of generating disconnected data, let’s aim higher. Let’s create a new data model that captures every single customer interaction – including offline events – and plots them on a timeline. From business initiation to policy issuance, servicing events, life events, third-party data – EVERYTHING.

At Zinnia, we are connecting all aspects of the cycle, categorizing and contextualizing every interaction so carriers can play a far more valuable and recurring role in their customers’ lives. Has a policyholder recently had a new baby? Is a policyholder applying for a mortgage? This is transparency in action.

With Zinnia Open Insurance, we aim to keep it simple for our customers so they can focus on the complexities of running their businesses. We know the industry, we understand the cycle, and we’re not going to tell our carrier partners to change the way they do things. 

We are going to help them seamlessly connect people, processes, data, and technology to create a better experience of insurance for everyone. Zinnia. Life More Open.