You can't manage what you can't measure, and business intelligence is only going to become more important in today's increasingly online, mobile and cloud-based economy. B2C and B2B customers alike produce reams of information about their habits and preferences, and it's up to producers to collect and act on that data. Nowhere is this truer than the insurance industry, where hundreds and even thousands of variables factor into every sale and transaction.
Unfortunately, many insurance professionals are having a tough time implementing sound BI practices into their firms – especially when they try to do so in-house. Just as you wouldn't hire a plumber to write your insurance, you shouldn't ask your agents, customer service reps or IT generalists to write your company's BI. For that, you need professionals who are well-versed in cutting-edge business IT solutions – and the insurance industry as a whole.
Yodil Senior Vice President Aviva Philips and Mountain States Insurance Chief Risk Officer Beau Irwin presented a session at ACORD LOMA called “Plumbers Don't Write Insurance,” a comprehensive guide for implementing BI at your firm. They'll answer a variety of questions on insurance industry BI, including:
- What problems are insurance professionals encountering in implementing BI solutions?
- How can you give the right BI tools to the right people?
- What approaches have successful and unsuccessful firms already tried?
- How can you delegate analytical tasks to stay focused on your insurance business?
- What are the current best practices for implementing a new BI solution?
- How can experienced BI professionals help you streamline your organization?
To relate material to carriers, agents and other Forum attendees, Irwin will also discuss the specific BI challenges he and Philips solved at Mountain States. Their advice will be useful for anyone interested in improving their BI, from companies just getting started with data mining, to firms that have already developed their own solutions. “No matter where you are with BI, we can help you,” Philips says. Here's a peak at the content they'll be offering.
Quality AND Quantity
It's not enough to have a small amount of useful data or large amounts of fluff. What's important is to have “insurance data within an insurance context,” says Philips. “There are new and additional metrics based on others' data sources, and more information is available about customers. They're putting their own information out there themselves.” Consumers and B2B customers alike are active on insurance websites, e-commerce portals and social media, and the most successful companies will use all of that data for targeted marketing and effective policy writing.
Of course, all the data in the world won't help your practice if you can't use it properly. “Remember that BI is not about the tools you put in front of your data,” Philips notes. “BI is all about the data itself, and being able to really manage it and understand it.” More important than the specific tools you use for data aggregation and collection are the people who transform customer information into increased sales and repeat business.
A Must-Have for the 21st Century
Like many other web-based and electronic innovations, BI is now a competitive disadvantage for firms that don't have it. “Today the price point is much lower, and as a consequence, BI is no longer a competitive advantage, it's a must-have,” Philips stresses. In the age of big data and predictive analytics, customers expect laser-targeted marketing and rapid answers to their questions. “Whether you're talking to analysts, customers, agents or providers, you need to be able to create those answers quickly,” she says.
Still, even the best BI systems require their users to understand, structure and properly analyze their incoming data. “As people buy horizontal tools, you need to think about the vertical solutions you're trying to put out there,” Philips says. “It's more than just a slick-looking presentation.” For key tips on how you can implement cutting-edge BI at your own firm, be sure to attend “Plumbers Don't Write Insurance.”