The insurance industry has been collecting vast amounts of data for decades, but until recently much of the value of this data to insurance stakeholders – customers, producers and carriers – has been left untapped.  Legacy insurance systems have labored to keep up with new products, new financial and regulatory requirements and increasingly digital customer expectations. The combination of updating, repairing, replacing, layering upon and decommissioning components of older systems has resulted in a jumble of old and new technology in which data has been lost, discarded and trapped in functional silos.  As a result, the insurance space has seen minimal data powered innovation – until now. Carriers are awakening to a new understanding of the power of capturing data and using it cooperatively – internally and externally – to make the entire insurance process more efficient, more effective and more transparent – for themselves, their producers and their customers.

Understanding the customer journey 
Analyzing data from submission through claims and delivering that information seamlessly to interconnected teams allows a carrier to rotate through a true 360º view of the customer. Understanding the customer’s route through the carrier’s ecosystem, where there are potential communications gaps, chokepoints, uneven appetite or lack of clarity in the claims process can empower a carrier with the insights needed to improve customer service and personalize messaging throughout the entire customer journey. A deep understanding of the customer experience also allows carriers to focus on nurturing existing relationships and put extra attention on retention. However, for one to truly have such a comprehensive view of the customer, systems need to be designed and built to efficiently and effectively share data across departments.  The data flow for each function must reflect not just the incoming functional need but also the outgoing cross functional need.  Only then can each function truly come to life, breathing in the data needed for itself and breathing out the data needed elsewhere, all oriented toward service to the customer.

Creating enhanced relationships through transparency
Data sharing doesn’t have to be one-way. The sharing of information among carrier, producer and customer can significantly strengthen relationships long-term. For example, when conducting a site visit of a property, either virtually or in person, a carrier collects data that it uses to inform its risk calculation. Sharing this data back with brokers and customers allows the customer to become more resilient and make potential changes that will benefit them in the long run. This transparent sharing of data reinforces a commitment to the customer and places a premium on relationship building.

Helping partners be more efficient

The best designed systems meet people where they are.  Creating a submission process that leverages data and machine learning allows producers to send in submissions in any format they choose.  The work of digitizing that information into carriers’ systems should be done by the technology, not the producer.  Along the way, the carrier can call upon external data to supplement and validate the submission, leading to fewer questions and faster underwriting review.

Improving underwriting process 
Effective use of data in the underwriting process can help streamline decision making and augment human judgment, making the underwriting process faster and more transparent. By delivering precisely the right information, at the right time, underwriters are liberated from the tedious work of duplicate entry, manual lookups and side calculations to focus on what people do best:  being creative, solving problems, explaining options, making decisions, building trust and helping producers to be their best in the marketplace. 

From faster and more transparent claims service to more thoughtful underwriting decisions and tailored product offerings, data is the engine transforming the middle-market commercial insurance space.  And, like so many other dynamics in this amazing business, data and technology solutions are most powerful when they are done together. 

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