(Image credit: Dollar Photo Club.)
Insurers seeking to differentiate themselves today need to think beyond providing outstanding product and service and extend their efforts to developing lifelong relationships with their customers, according to Bob Weishaar, VP and chief analytics officer of Motorists Insurance Group. As part of its ongoing transformation, the Columbus, Ohio-based insurer is building an insurance-specific modern analytics platform (iMAP), using Saama’s (Campbell, Calif.) Fluid Analytics Engine (FAE).
“We’re a relationship-driven company, and we want to make sure that we’re investing in a way that supports that into the future,” Weishaar comments. “What we want is a platform where we can capture all of our data assets and are able to act on them when the time comes.”
Saama describes its capabilities as enabling its insurance customers to build open, company-specific analytics platforms that integrate disparate data types and sources into a unified analytics ecosystem that taps into a “Data Lake.” The vendor says its iMAP big data architecture enables the merging of internal structured and unstructured data with external data sources, such as real-time geospatial data, syndicated data and social media to provide business insights for distribution, claims and underwriting decision-making.
Motorists sees the iMAP build-out a foundation for adopting future capabilities that also equips the carrier to better solve current problems. For example, in the insurer’s legacy environment, analyzing influences on retention rates across the states it does business in required tapping into disparate systems. Only limited amounts of data could be accessed, and teasing it out of mainframe systems required targeted efforts and special expertise. Saama’s technology provides a foundation for a truly digital relationship with customers and agents, according to Weishaar.
“As customer expectations evolve, our ability to understand our relationships with agents, and to provide a 360-degree customer view for the agent or customer, becomes increasingly important,” Weishaar says. “When we’re communicating with agents, we want them to know that we know them, and to have at our fingertips the information that helps us to understand their needs and answer their questions.”
“The speed with which we will be able to understand our customer needs based on insights from the iMAP-derived analytics will help us to leapfrog the competition,” Weishaar adds.
Linking Decisions to Consequences
Motorists is currently populating the iMAP platform with a view to focus on customer-related analysis and has gone live for one line of business, with other lines mapped out for the first quarter of 2016. Over the longer term, the insurer plans to apply to other operational areas. “I’d put 360-degree customer view highest on the list, but we’re also looking at price sophistication, underwriting sophistication and fraud analytics,” Weishaar reports. “Knowing our customers better help us to guide agents to grow their business as we identify the types of customers that resonate with our value proposition.”
Having data gathered centrally will also help to guide decisions in other operational areas, enabling what Weishaar terms coordinated decision making. “Sometimes in a company, the decision is made in one place but the consequences of that decision are felt in another,” he observes. “Without having a central repository, you can’t learn from that experience. We want to be a learning company, and one that is able to link decisions to consequences.”