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No need for ‘massive upfront investment’ to get data analytics to work: Insurance Analytics summit speaker


June 29, 2017   by Greg Meckbach, Associate Editor


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Insurance professionals who are implementing data analytics need to focus on what they want to achieve and need to deliver value quickly to senior business leaders, a Travelers Canada executive suggested Thursday at the Insurance Analytics Canada Summit.

“The focus of Travelers has been to really simplify our approach to analytics and it’s all about achieving return on our investment in analytics,” Travelers Canada chief actuary Erika Schurr said at the summit.

During a presentation titled Having a Bigger Impact: Making Analytics Real for Business, Schurr told summit attendees how Travelers companies in Canada and elsewhere used data agility, data blending and self service.

Data agility is defined as “how fast can you extract value from available data and how quickly can you translate that information into action,” Schurr explained on one of her slides, noting this was used in a Travelers joint venture in Brazil.

In Britain, Travelers used data blending in its direct-to-consumer effort in small business.

“Data blending is really about having a straightforward way to extract value across multiple data sources,” Schurr said at the summit, held at the Toronto Marriott Downtown Eaton Centre Hotel.

In Travelers’ project in the United Kingdom, data blending “was about leveraging multiple sources of data,” and “overlapping that kind of traditional analytical data” with “immediate live data and finding a way to connect them,” Schurr suggested.

“You need a link along the chain at each point,” she explained. “It doesn’t matter what it is. You just need a way to link them.”

Self-service lets business users perform queries and generate reports on their own, “with nominal IT support,” she explained.

In Canada, Travelers users self-service in analyzing the “broker journey” in its personal lines business, she suggested.

“The goal was to deliver a strategic personal lines data set that tied our quotes, our policies, claims, third party data altogether – data blending – to allow our product folks to do their deep analytics and reporting,” Schurr said. “There is an iterative nature to quoting and patterns of activity that you can see going across the broker journey and how they interact with each of our systems. The goal was to get something that business users could really take and use.”

But Schurr cautioned that when implementing data analytics, insurance professionals “need to start delivering value” to senior leaders quickly.

“You don’t need to have this massive upfront investment before they achieve some results and it just gives support for further investment down the road.”

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