November 27, 2017

To you or me, Dear Reader, data may just seem like an incomprehensible jumble of random 1s and 0s. But some so-called experts in the insurance industry now apparently believe the wretched stuff could turn out to be of some use after all.

According to a study carried out by LexusNexus Risk Solutions, almost nine out of ten insurers would now say of data, as Tom Hardy kept remarking of people in the BBC’s hilarious period comedy Ta-boo!, ‘I have a use for you.’

Inspired perhaps by Prime Minister May’s resolutely optimistic description of Britain’s future relations with the EU, LexusNexus have called their report on insurers and their growing love affair with data Deep, rich and meaningful.

Amongst other fascinating information, the report reveals that just 4% of motor insurers now make no use of data whatsoever (readers may perhaps have some idea who these resolutely anti-data motor insurers are). Whilst 11% of household insurers find they can get by perfectly well without it.

But, as with hard drugs, or the eponymous finger ornament in interminable fantasy trilogy The Lord of the Rings, the question of whether you’re using data or the data is using you is never entirely clear.

Eighty two per cent of motor insurers and eighty five per cent of home insurers said they anticipated being ‘transformed’ by data over the next few years.

For now, of course, most seem to think they can ‘handle it’. But let’s see how they feel a few years down the line, when they find they can no longer get by without what at first seemed so benignly empowering.

Data, of course, means different things to different people. Seventy per cent of motor insurers told LexusNexus they felt its main benefit was a means to ‘a more targeted and enhanced customer experience,’ while most home insurers just came flat out and said ‘more accurate pricing’ is its main advantage.

Other stuff insurers thought data might be good for included marketing (motor 70%, home 46%), fraud detection (motor 51%, home 54%) and operational cost savings.

LexusNexus man Marty Mathews enthused that “data and analytics empowers [sic] insurers by giving them a holistic view of customer behaviour, their individual risk and the ability to link valid information to real-time interaction. This helps insurers to not only understand risk, but also spot profitable opportunities and apply the right strategies across their books.”

What? Sorry. Must have dozed off for a second there.


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