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Digital Transformation

Making insurance documents programmable

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By Mang-Git Ng

Insurance companies that fail to adopt a modern approach to complex paperwork, like the Acord forms, will fall behind upstart challengers that are the vanguard of Insurtech 2.0.

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Making insurance documents programmable

Insurance is unable to modernize

Unsurprisingly, insurance ranks near the top for most paperwork dependent industries. Every process including quoting, binding, claims, and proof of insurance is codified by endless documents.

The existing insurance experience, for all parties (consumers, brokers, carriers), is hampered by the high effort required to prepare documents. Let’s take the process of buying a policy as an example:

  1. Collecting data
  2. Preparing multiple forms for various quotes
  3. Setting up a quote for signature (e-sign or wet sign)
  4. Repeated creation of the Certificate of Insurance (Acord 25) for each named insured

Most insurance agencies leverage multiple tools just to complete the task above, yet none of these tools talk to each other. The process ultimately takes multiple days between information gathering, communication overhead, binding and then the ongoing issuing of new Certificates of Insurance.

It’s no wonder that GEICO still holds a competitive advantage simply by being able to provide quotes in under 15 minutes (8 minutes to be precise).

Standardization of insurance paperwork

ACORD is an industry organization that was created to bring order to the chaotic world of insurance through standardized forms. Of course, even with all this standardization there are still many bespoke forms floating around in the industry, from carrier specific documents to state specific addendums. The permutations of documents are infinite!

Beyond just agreeing on forms, the forms themselves can be quite complex and often require years of industry experience to truly understand how and when each form should be completed. For example, the ACORD 101 is just a common overflow document for many of the other documents, ACORD 130, 131, 25. Adding to the complexity, there are generally accepted best practices when completing these forms that are just not documented in the instructions.

Each and every one of these quirks present a challenge to making insurance documents programmable.

Programmable insurance documents V1

There are a whole crop of insurance providers that offer users a “digital” only experience. The Insurtech 1.0s are a great example of how fast growing technology-enabled companies can scale through the digitization of one type of insurance, focusing on one type of insurance narrows the number of documents they need to automate. So they could afford to hand-code bespoke solutions for automating the forms. Once the investment in making a specific form is digitized and made “programmable” it acted as a moat allowing them to scale faster than the competition that are still manually completing documents with people.

Make all insurance documents programmable

As the industry has evolved, the need for a comprehensive, flexible, programmable documents system has become clear. Building this system and creating the proper abstractions to handle all insurance documents requires considerable engineering resources and is honestly outside the core-competency of most insurtechs. They are great at operationalizing and selling insurance online, not wrestling with PDFs and the nuances of the PDF file type.

Fortunately, Anvil, a platform built for developers creating applications around PDFs, has solved these challenges. Some of the insurance specific challenges that Anvil has been able to address include:

  • Allowing insurance experts to set up PDFs to be completed over API
    • A drag-and-drop UI for turning PDF documents into templates
    • Auto-generated data payloads to test against templates
  • Accessible tools for insurance experts to encode the paperwork process
    • Dynamic logic for selecting the correct fields to complete
    • Auto-incrementing page numbers for dynamically generated pages
  • Comprehensive API for developers
    • Flexibility when integrating a new document into the system
    • Triggering signature requests for binding quotes
    • Webhook notifications when specific actions are completed

Leading insurtechs are built on Anvil

Anvil’s unique combination of accessible business tools combined with robust developer APIs are powering a new generation of insurance companies. Our growing list of insurtech customers includes top names like:

Anvil’s insurtech customers exist across the entire insurance stack; from AMS (Agency Management Systems) to specialty insurance to BNPL for insurance companies. Anvil powers everything from data collection to document preparation and e-signatures, providing a single comprehensive platform for addressing all insurance paperwork needs and making all insurance documents programmable.

Want to learn more about how you can build your insurtech on top of Anvil?

Reach out to Anvil's insurance account executive Patrick Daniels directly at or test drive a free account at

Sign up for a live demo

Request a 30-minute live demo today and we'll get in touch shortly. During the meeting our Sales team will help you find the right solution, including:
  • Simplifying data gathering
  • Streamlining document preparation
  • Requesting e-signatures
  • Building and scaling your business
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