Dialogue Exchange, a UK-based independent credit and political risk insurance platform, has created a set of free, open common standards for single credit risk insurance, as part of wider efforts to bring the market into the digital age.

Launched today, the single risk credit data standard sets out unified terms for field names, counterparty industries and cover required for structured credit transactions across a number of deal types. The aim, Dialogue CEO Ben Heaney tells GTR, is to reduce ambiguity and duplication, so that industry stakeholders can easily exchange and use data for their own needs regardless of how it was created or collected.

In an exclusive interview with GTR, Heaney says that this standardisation will enable a digital foundation for automatic underwriting and deal flow, ultimately paving the way for the full digitalisation of the industry.

“When we launched Dialogue as an independent neutral marketplace that serves the whole global credit insurance industry, the first problem we came across was, what’s the data standard that’s going to underpin it? Everyone was using their own terms,” he says. “A broker or an underwriter would use a slightly different word to mean broadly the same thing. We recognised that we needed to standardise these basic terms not only for the scalability of Dialogue but also for the rest of the industry, so whenever a broker or an underwriter, or whoever, commissions someone to make a tech solution, the field codes are already standardised for everyone.”

By creating data integrity, accuracy and consistency across the market, this solution solves for many of the inefficiencies that are not served by some of the more general insurance data standards, such as those developed by Acord and the London Insurance Market Operations & Strategic Sourcing (LIMOSS).

While not a standards-setting organisation itself, Dialogue used its position as a neutral intermediary between insurers and brokers to bring together 12 credit and political risk insurance (CPRI) brokers, underwriters and market specialists, including Chaucer Syndicates, Euler Hermes, Liberty Specialty Markets, Sompo International, Talbot Underwriting, Tokio Marine, Miller Insurance Services, Cofarco, Aon UK and Aon France, to thrash out the terms that would eventually underpin this data standard.

“It’s taken a long time, but not because of any particular difficulty in getting everyone to agree on what the terms were,” says Heaney. “The heavy lifting has been around crunching all of the different terms used, finding where the conflicts are and then going back to the industry and discussing which will be the one we use. There has been a lot of continued enthusiasm across the spectrum of syndicates, company markets, Lloyd’s brokers, and overseas brokers around solving this, and the market has really come together.”

This initiative mirrors several others across the trade landscape, as participants seek to make the underlying documentation and processes digital-ready ahead of the anticipated end-to-end digitisation of trade. In shipping documentation, the Digital Container Shipping Association (DCSA) has recently published data and process standards for the electronic bill of lading . Meanwhile, the Swift-led ISO 20022 standard, due to be implemented in part by the end of this year, is creating a global, open standard for payments messaging.

“Data standards are the essential building block for any successful market modernisation initiative,” says Heaney. “Creating the world’s first non-proprietary, free, open standard dataset specific to CPRI will dramatically reduce data entry time and cost while improving accuracy. The platform is ready, the data standard is in there, and we’re ready to help anyone that needs help on their internal system.”

The new standard is now available for all brokers and insurers, and has been implemented into the Dialogue platform, which finished beta testing in December 2020.