The term digital transformation has been in our vocabularies for many years now, but its meaning took on new importance for ThreeFlow in June when we reached a significant milestone: over $1 billion of premium under management.  

This was more than just another number, another metric to track. The news is a testament to where the entire industry is headed. It’s not only a signal that digital transformation in the employee benefits industry is desperately needed but rather, for the first time it is now possible to achieve. Despite that this is a fragmented, old industry. Despite that it's complex. Despite that there are no data standards. It’s possible to fix, and possibility is a really powerful thing to have on your side.  

From problem to possibility

For a long time, the benefits industry had focused on solving inward-facing problems rather than collective ones. And for good reason. The regulatory requirements, data security needs, and competitive environment disincentivized open systems.  This meant that organizations adopted tech stacks that only worked for themselves without considering the need to exchange data and information with external business partners. Without collaborative and connected tools, there were no common threads, and systems and organizations became siloed. Frustration abounded.

Now, we see that modern brokers and carriers are no longer satisfied with siloed systems or manual workflows. They understand what other industries figured out years ago: digital infrastructure is good for business. It improves the customer experience, creates better economics, and enables new strategies across the entire value chain. Embedding a technology layer into the industry may arguably be the next most critical competitive advantage to pursue.

When we're connected, our possibilities expand. As we loosen the reins on access, we can start thinking creatively about our businesses and partnerships. The talented people in our industry have been long-constricted by outdated and self-imposed boundaries. When these are removed, everyone benefits, all the way down to the employee.

The shared system with staying power

There was a moment in the late '90s when the idea of a benefits administration system was new to the industry. The phrase "benadmin" didn't even exist yet. Some brokers and carriers embraced the new idea quickly and used it to beat their competition. Fast forward a few decades, and benadmin systems are commonplace for employers, and the post-sale employee benefits experience has improved considerably because of it. 

Now, we're seeing the same phenomenon affecting the presale experience after building the first Benefit Placement System (BPS). Ten years ago, adoption would have been slow. But the trend toward digital transformation is helping organizations see it as an accelerant for their business rather than a threat.

ThreeFlow's founding vision was to build the digital pipes that power benefit transactions. We knew that level of interoperability would make it possible to connect people, systems, and information–leading to better decisions. 

Now there's a real opportunity to embrace the idea of interoperability as a fundamental tenet of our industry, with a BPS acting as the catalyst. Those that do will drive better outcomes for themselves and their clients. It's pretty apparent, to us at least, that history will rhyme here. We're going to keep driving this possibility forward.