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Delving into data – developing insurance with informed decision making

Mon 28th Jan 19

In her keynote opening address at CES 2019, IBM Chairman, President and CEO, Ginni Rometty, spoke of the importance of big data to the insurance industry, saying that “data will fuel transformation in every customer segment covered by the insurance industry”.

In his latest article, our Executive Chairman, Tim Ryan, shares his thoughts on making the most of data capture and analysis to develop insurance for the future.

As an industry, we’ve been ruminating over big data for several years now and, as the potential of data grows, the things we can achieve with it expand as well. So, what’s stopping us from grasping big data and making everything that we can of it?

It’s only fair, I think, to point out that, when it comes to using data for informed decision making, the insurance industry is perhaps not as archaic as it’s sometimes perceived. In fact, our industry is built on data – giving us the information needed to successfully underwrite risks and to assess claims, not just for insurance policies written in the modern era but going back even to the Dark and Middle Ages when guilds protected master craftsmen in the event of a loss.

Back to today, though, while it’s clear that data isn’t being used to its full potential anywhere, in the insurance industry we’ve been working new data opportunities into our trade for decades. Whether that’s adding new layers, such as behaviour based scoring and demographics, into our risk assessments and underwriting criteria, through to drilling down on digital preferences to create more personalised customer communications.

Of course, in our world of continuous change, to keep pace with the curve is almost impossible. Time, resources and, to a degree, resistance to change, all mean that the majority of businesses are not taking advantage of data capture and analysis tools as soon as they are readily available. But with the potential to transform productivity and profitability, you can be sure that we’re stepping forward to develop our businesses. Using new data capture techniques, advanced analytics and artificial intelligence systems to inform our decision making at every stage and for every customer segment.