Key takeaways from Plaid's facilitation of a digital makeover in financial services can be incorporated into the nascent digital revolution in health insurance and employee benefits
Plaid’s most consequential achievement — facilitating the banking and financial services sector’s digital makeover — serves as a prime example of what’s possible when development-killing barriers are removed and a new era of connectivity is delivered to a sector ripe for digital disruption. Plaid’s ultimate legacy lies not only in the industry it has already transformed, but in how other complex ecosystems are adopting its middle-layer, many-to-many platform business model. Health insurance and employee benefits — a diverse ecosystem of carriers, tech platforms, consumer applications, HR and benefits companies, online marketplaces and brokers — has commenced a similar digital revolution. In order for groundbreaking tech platforms to truly transform this industry, the health insurance and employee benefits space needs digital infrastructure — the “plumbing” — that facilitates the exchange of data and transactions within the industry’s complex system of insurance carriers, benefits brokers, agents and related stakeholders. Developers and tech platforms have found it challenging to address these pain points while also building the user journeys envisioned. They hit a “data wall” that they assumed would not exist. They often end up spending as much time, resources and energy on building the data and connectivity necessary to power their application as they do building the features and functionality they set out to create: because the infrastructure they assumed would exist, does not.