What Is SignOn Once?

And What Can It Do?

SignOn Once, developed by ID Federation Inc., is an insurance industry initiative aimed to allow business partners to connect electronically to other, multiple business partners with one secure sign-on process.

A major potential use of SignOn Once is for independent agencies to connect securely to insurance carrier partners via their agency management systems.

SignOn Once encompasses:

  1. A business and legal framework.
  2. Technology rules.

The elements of SignOn Once are defined in the Trust Framework, available on the SignOnOnce.org website under “Getting Started.”

“Insurance agencies have an average of 30 IDs with carriers per employee,” explained Brian Bartosh, CIC, LUTCF, president of Top O’ Michigan Insurance Agency and an ID Federation board member. “An agency with 20 employees would then need 600 sets of credentials. Right now it can take a week to credential a new employee or de-credential a departing employee.”

SignOn Once holds the promise of reducing the resources that carriers and agencies must devote to online credentials for websites. It can be attractive to carriers, stated Bartosh, “because it can help protect the security of their systems” by creating more certainty about who is logging in to their systems.

What Is ‘Federated Identity’ Management?

Federated identity is “a system that allows individuals to use the same user name, password or other personal identification to sign on to the networks of more than one enterprise in order to conduct transactions.”

The ID Federation framework for the insurance industry calls for use of electronic “tokens” in lieu of passwords for individual users to securely access the websites of business partners.

What Is the Mission of ID Federation?

“Our mission is promoting information security and identity management for trusted transactions across the financial services and insurance industries for purposes including but not limited to reducing transaction friction, lowering cost and bolstering independent agent access.”

SignOn Once: What’s the Latest?

ID Federation leaders have made progress on key issues since ID Federation unveiled SignOn Once in May 2014, notably including:

   – ID Federation selected a third-party service provider for certifying implementations of SignOn Once.
   – Two major agency management system providers made significant steps toward implementing SIgnOn Once.

Management System Vendors Begin to Implement

Vertafore and Applied Systems, two major agency management systems popular in the independent insurance agency distribution channel, are each working toward implementation of SignOn Once as “identity providers.”

An “identity provider” (as defined by the Trust Framework) — such as an agency management system vendor — would issue electronic tokens on behalf of individual users at insurance agencies and other firms.

A “relying party” — such as an insurance carrier — would accept and rely upon the token as authentication of each individual user. The benefit: Each individual user would need only to “SignOn Once” via the management system, rather than signing in with a typed password for each insurance carrier’s website. Agencies and carriers thereby would save time and cost, and increase the security of system access and insurance transactions.

Federated identities are used in many industries. The ID Federation’s Trust Frameworkoutlines a set of technologies agreed upon for an identity provider and relying party to implement to securely share user identities.

ID Federation Names 3 to Board

Read here about industry leaders who have joined the board of ID Federation.

What’s Next? Time for Carriers to Consider SignOn Once

The more carriers and solution providers that participate in SignOn Once, the more that the entire industry and consumers benefit, noted Jim Rogers, assistant vice president, eBusiness, The Hartford, and an ID Federation board member.

Jim Rogers

The three key pieces of information for carriers to consider are:

  • Membership Pricing: How much it costs to join ID Federation.
  • Participation Agreement: What members agree to do.
  • Trust Framework: How the technology works.

Information available here: SignOnOnce.org/getting-started

Coming in 2017: Face-to-Face Meetings

ID Federation is planning informational meetings for 2017. Still in development, these sessions will be a tool to help insurance firms explore how to implement SignOn Once to benefit all parties in the insurance transaction. Stay tuned for more information.