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Data-centric approach to drive insurance

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Insurers today face a myriad of challenges especially when it comes to finding product differentiation in a highly competitive market.
Kelly Preston, data analytics manager at SilverBridge, believes one of the best ways to overcome this is to embrace a data-centric approach towards the business.
“The insurance industry is dominated by siloed, legacy systems that can easily create confusion when it comes to communication between the insurer, the agent or broker, and the customer. These silos can often hinder the ability of the organisation to view the information stored across the different business units. Realistically, there simply is no unified view of the customer in this environment,” she says.
In an era driven by consumer demand for more personalised experience, this is proving to be a significant issue. Customers do not want to wait several days for the insurer to investigate their profiles. They expect virtually real-time solutions. Part of these expectations have been driven by a better educated customer base and part is a result of the emergence of nimbler fintech organisations capable of doing exactly that.
“What differentiates these fintechs is their ability to innovate quickly but also to effectively use the data at their disposal for improved decision-making. Data-centric companies collect and harvest information from everywhere. One of the keys to becoming data-led is to return to basics – address the business problem that needs solving and only then find the data that would be relevant to the business model and competitive positioning.”
However, many insurers face the problem that the data is scattered throughout the organisation because of it coming from a siloed point of view. This makes it almost impossible to view a central source of reliable information.
But it is not all doom and gloom, says Preston.
“A single, integrated view of the data of an insurer enhances the understanding of customer behaviour and has the potential to uncover unmet insurance needs. Additionally, those insurers that have a complete view of their data can extract enterprise-wide insights into marketing, sales channels, insurance claims, underwriting, finance, risk, and compliance.
Data-centric organisations embrace a culture that strives to ensure that [data] is regarded as an asset and not a liability. For this to work in changing the organisational mindset, data becomes central to operations while remaining independent of the application used to capture it.
“This move away from an app-centric IT environment will also better align the technology capabilities of the company with its insurance business priorities. With this approach, data will be consolidated and stored in an enterprise database that starts functioning as a strategic asset.”
Preston says that insurance is an information-related business where data is king.
“It is therefore imperative that changes in technology embrace the data and not the vehicles of distribution. Inevitably, it will disrupt the traditional insurance model and will enable insurers to thrive in an evolving marketplace. It will go great strides to empower them and help provide a holistic view of the data and develop products aligned to specific customer needs,” she concludes.