Canadian Underwriter

Executives want insurance decision-making to be faster: PwC report

June 29, 2016   by Canadian Underwriter

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Executives want decision-making to be faster, especially in insurance, banking and healthcare, according to a report released earlier this week by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

Analyzing data on a computerThe 2016 Big Decision Survey, released on Monday, focused on how enterprises around the world, including Canada, are limiting risk and leveraging data to make the decisions that will give them a competitive edge. The survey involved more than 2,100 company decision-makers and leaders across 15 industries, including insurance, banking and capital markets, healthcare, communications, energy, utilities and mining and technology.

Among the survey’s findings:

  • Although companies are beginning to understand the power of forward-looking predictive and prescriptive analytics, there are still a surprisingly low number (29%) of companies who use predictive analytics;
  • The three most important big decisions facing executives are launching new products and services (31%), entering new markets (17%) and investing in IT (15%);
  • Companies are looking to grow in new markets and a large portion of them (48%) describe themselves as highly data driven;
  • Executives have great ambition to increase decision speed and sophistication. Executives want decision-making to be faster, especially in banking, insurance, and healthcare. But decision-makers say there’s even more work to be done on sophistication; and
  • A significant role for machines is emerging. Forty-one per cent of leaders say big decisions will require analysis using machine algorithms.

“Data can be an extremely underutilized tool, and a company’s capability to access the right data, at the right time, and then look at it through the right lens, can make or break a bottom line,” said Dan DiFilippo, PwC’s global and U.S. data and analytics leader, said in a press release.  “Leaders are stuck at a crossroads, with 28% of decision-makers polled stating that they’re just trying to survive in a state of disruption. This survey demonstrates the often unrealized value of data to lower the inherent risk in decision-making, and sheds light on how companies can reassess the data they have to become stronger and increasingly competitive.”

An executive at one North American insurance company said in the report that the company currently employs data analytics “to help us understand what has happened. We’re in the process of looking to leverage data to help us better predict what will happen.”