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December 8, 2017

Strategies to Master Massively Big Data

Summary:

New variables and trends that arise can easily lead you astray from the original question you set out to answer.

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Telemetry, IoT, wearables, AI, chatbots and drones are tools that help group insurers better engage with customers and improve business processes. There is one thing that all of these technologies have in common: data.

Personal data to be precise.

Exactly how insurers will mine, manage and utilize the massive amounts of data now available from various internal and external sources may mean the difference between data mastery and data mystery for many carriers. In this blog, I’ll outline a few things carriers can start to think about as they incorporate big data into their corporate strategies.

See also: 10 Trends on Big Data, Advanced Analytics  

Start Out Simple and Stay Focused

Data science is composed of several disciplines and skill sets. AJ Goldstein does an excellent job of deconstructing this complex craft into what he calls, “The Data Science Process,” consisting of six parts:

  1. Frame the problem
  2. Collect raw data
  3. Process the data
  4. Explore the data
  5. Perform in-depth analysis
  6. Communicate the results

Goldstein says that, although data science is a large, complex paradigm, only about 20% of the skills needed will contribute to 80% of the outcomes. So focusing on that core 20% necessary to achieve the results you’re looking for will help simplify the process and keep IT departments focused on the goals you originally set out to achieve with the data.

Applications for big data in insurance currently center on providing solutions to tasks like premium setting, fraud reduction and target marketing. How this looks will differ across projects, but regardless of the application, data experts will collect data from various sources, analyze it and use it to draw conclusions about how the company can improve the bottom line and provide value to customers.

They don’t call it big data for nothing! The amount is gigantic. New variables and trends that arise can easily lead you astray from the original question you set out to answer.

Stay on track and focus on what you set out to determine. You can always circle around to address new insights later.

Mitigating Risks

Consumers know that sharing data comes with risks. Even the most hardened networks can be vulnerable to cyber-attacks and data breaches, leaving consumers understandably wary of how and with whom they share their personal information. Carriers that take the proper cybersecurity measures will be better prepared to ward off or respond to breaches. Obtaining accreditations such as ISO 27001 may help identify any gaps before hackers do.

Privacy is another important factor when obtaining and storing customer data. Consumers want to know what their data is being used for and be assured that it will not be used for anything else. If carriers can guarantee this, studies show that customers are willing to provide personal data in exchange for lower fees and improved services.

See also: Next Step: Merging Big Data and AI  

When the proper measures to manage big data are in place, an opportunity to form digital trust with customers is possible. If this is established, the possibilities are endless for the kind of engagement and relationships that can be developed and sustained. With information everywhere, people still value relationships they can trust. That’s never going to change.

Insurers have gone from seeing the value in data, to being able to analyze it, to capitalizing on automation that is now having an immediate impact on operations. The ability to automate business front-ends and back offices has in many cases catapulted insurers into the digital age, and most are landing on their feet.

This is due in no small part to strong leadership from CIOs, a shared understanding of what customers now expect and a mandate to provide it. Insurers that master big data will likely leap to the front of the pack. Those that see it as a mystery may quickly find themselves out of the race.

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About the Author

Mike de Waal is president and founder of Global IQX (www.globaliqx.com), a leading software provider of web-based sales and service solutions to employee benefits insurers.

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