Ignoring data and analytics ‘crazy’

Ignoring data and analytics ‘crazy’ | Insurance Business

Ignoring data and analytics ‘crazy’
Ignoring an investment of time and money in data and analytics is “crazy,” according to one industry leader.

The latest Insurance Business poll found that while 41% of respondents planned to invest a lot in data and analytics over the coming year, nearly a fifth of respondents (19%0 said the practice was a waste of money.

Steve Dymond, general manager of business & information systems at Insurance Advisernet Australia, told Insurance Business that ignoring data and analytics is not an option for forward-looking brokers.

“What really interested me about the results is that potentially 1 in 5 or 20% of respondents think it is a waste of a time and money to invest in data and analytics which is just crazy,” Dymond said.

“It sort of astounds me that that would be the case.

“I’ve got to say that the insurance industry is probably a little bit behind. If you ran that poll across other industries, and there have been plenty run like that, you’d never find 20% of people saying data and analytics isn’t worth it.”

Dymond stressed that the right investment will be key to determining future success as planning and strategising are paramount.

“All I can think is you’ve got aging business owners and you’ve got some sort of stigma about it that it is expensive and hard and that’s why it is not worth it.

“The other problem you have is if you just get a new, shiny dashboard and put it in front of people, it is not really doing anything, it has got to form part of a cog out of the strategy that you have.

“If you set up a report to see how many Twitter followers you’ve got, that’s cool but it’s not actionable intelligence, you aren’t learning anything from that.

“The results are really interesting to me as, being a broker, it is nice to know that some of our competitors out there think that.”

Dymond, who has been part of Insurance Advisernet’s 18-month program to implement Microsoft Power BI (Business Intelligence) data and analytics in their business, said the benefits of data and analytics outweigh the cost in time and money of their implementation.

“We are gaining new insights that weren’t possible before because of the way that data is visualised and laid out,” Dymond continued.

“Data helps you make decisions based on facts and do it quickly as well.

“To gather this sort of information in the past and put it in a format that people could understand used to take a long time and now we are talking about seconds for something that sometimes took days so it is a hugely efficient way of helping the decision making process.

“There are some things in our organisation now that, because of the way we set our world up, things are now a lot quicker  which means our customers get responded to quicker and are happier so the time saving is a massive deal.”

Dymond said that he believes brokers who ignore investment in data and analytics could suffer in the long-run as the industry continues to change.

“You know what brokers are like, they’ve all got their relationships but at the end of the day, looking long-term if you are not jumping on this I think you are going to struggle. I really do,” Dymond said.

“A lot of these guys are making decisions based on their gut which is fine and works for a lot of people but I don’t think that’s the way it is going to be for businesses in the future.

“If you look around, it is a foregone conclusion that this is an important part of business.”

For more of Dymond’s thoughts on data and analytics and the way they are affecting broking businesses, be sure to pick up a copy of the next issue of Insurance Business magazine.