By Saurabh Tiwari
As the value chain continues to become more digitally connected, insurers have the prerogative of better understanding customer segments and partners, and adapt to consumer needs in near real-time. In the near term, most of the digital insurance consumers will likely be young, educated and with higher levels of income.
To meet customer needs, most insurers have already started to collect a wealth of data. However, they have been slow in monetising this asset. To understand and meet consumer needs, there is an immediate need to create new business lines or models to capture the value of data and analytics. As more and more insurance consumers shift online to interact, compare products and prices, and make purchases, the volume of available data is increasing exponentially.
Over time, Big Data and refined models will work for allowing risk pricing at an increasingly granular level. There is nothing to deny the fact that the insurance industry is a major component of the economy. It enables individuals and companies to take more risk, which further empowers innovation and growth. And the fuel of the insurance is data.
Technology revolutions of the last few decades and falling cost of technology create new opportunities for insurers to harness the data.
Data-enabled processes will minimise friction and streamline the customer insurance journey, from request for coverage to claim. Digitalisation will thus help improve the customer experience and also the efficacy of back office processes. The true opportunity, however, lies in leveraging the collected data to fundamentally change how a particular business operates and delivers value to its customers.
Engaging with customers
Most insurers are striving to fundamentally change their relationship with consumers through the use of real-time monitoring and visualisation. Consumers who agree to let insurance companies track their habits can learn more about themselves, while insurers can use the derived data to influence behaviour and reduce related risks. For instance, in the auto insurance industry, telematics is being used to monitor driving habits and behaviour of the consumers in real-time.
Apart from providing digital transformation, use of more data and better tools to collect and report on data means better compliance. And this is particularly because insurance companies are subjected to increasing regulatory mandates at various levels. As insurance companies consider new uses for the data they collect, they must also be aware of the mandates from multiple agencies. In all the cases, the ability to collect, report and use data makes regulatory reporting easier and more consistent.
Yet another important reason why insurance companies need to embrace data is for fraud detection. One of the biggest issues that insurance companies are facing right now is fraud. According to most insurers, 1-1.5 out of 10 claims is fraudulently filed. This is alarming, given the limited number of policyholders that an insurance company may have. While some policyholders do it sloppily, some do it meticulously and get away with it. With the use of Big Data analytics, a large amount of data can be checked in a short amount of time. It includes a variety of Big Data solutions, such as social network analysis and telemetric. This is the biggest weapon insurers have for detection of fraud while filing claims.
The writer is CTO, Policybazaar.com