Could Location Data Be the Golden Thread?

In a world of confusing, unstructured data, do location coordinates provide an anchor for all the new information becoming available?

In insurance, location is everything. It helps insurers understand where the risks are, whether there has been accidental (or deliberate) accumulation of risk and where their customers are. Location helps insurers optimize their distribution strategy, their claims services deployment, their supply chain and even how they market and advertise their services. The technologies of location intelligence and weather prediction also naturally converge to help anticipate the impact of hail and storm, and allow insurers to proactively advise their policyholders to act (although only half of policyholders who are warned of an impending event actually take action). Bringing weather and location information together creates an environment where insurers change from being reactive to being proactive. New touch points are also created with policyholders (as opposed to a single annual request for premium), with the potential both to add value to the insurance proposition and also to improve loyalty Some might reasonably argue that weather forecasts are already available from the news. Perhaps one task for insurers going forward is to create a more effective interlock between weather forecasting, policyholder behavior and premium reduction? Increasingly, location is being seen as a subset of big data rather than a stand-alone technology. In a world of data where 80% is unstructured and uncertain, do the coordinates of location provide some sort of anchor for all the new information becoming available? After all, what could be more certain than where something or someone is physically located? Imagine if location data became the golden thread that tied all insurance information together? For many, location information still equates to mapping and "flat" visualizations. It is fundamentally descriptive in nature, albeit providing effective illustrations of potentially complex issues. As location intelligence increasingly aligns to predictive and cognitive analytics, perhaps the "power of place" may start to assume new meaning? Location data is becoming increasingly pervasive in the insurance industry. The connected car, the connected home and the connected person all have a location component. Perhaps the future for insurers isn’t just around being "data-driven" but "location-data-driven"?

Tony Boobier

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Tony Boobier

Tony Boobier is a former worldwide insurance executive at IBM focusing on analytics and is now operating as an independent writer and consultant. He entered the insurance industry 30 years ago. After working for carriers and intermediaries in customer-facing operational roles, he crossed over to the world of technology in 2006.


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