Insurance Times asks industry experts how data driven insights can streamline operations and drive innovation

WE ASKED: How can commercial lines brokers harness technology and data driven insights to enhance customer service, streamline operations and drive innovation in today’s insurance market?

Vicky Rowlay, national director at Arch Insurance 

Arch's Vicky Rowlay

Vicky Rowlay

The ability to harness risk-relevant data from the broadest spectrum of reliable sources, including the client, insurers, third-party providers and other external parties, is perhaps the most critical component in the commercial broker’s ability to enhance every facet of its customer offering and capabilities.

It is about tapping instantly into the rapidly expanding data universe precisely and extracting that information – whether that’s about a building’s structural materials, causes of downtime in manufacturing processes, or the emergence of new ransomware strategy – which can elevate our understanding of the client’s exposure to the next level.

The goal must be to create a technology-driven ecosystem that can integrate the latest information from multiple information streams into every risk submission. Creating that high-resolution exposure insight from the start will ensure speed, efficiency and accuracy at every stage in the insurance process thereafter – from product development through to claims response.

By developing such an effective risk information pipeline, this will also remove much of the submission toing and froing that is often required by underwriters to fill risk information gaps – and the relationship between broker and insurer can evolve to become less transactional and more partnership based.

There is no doubt that the brokers that will thrive moving forward are those, who are today, building that fully optimised data environment that will help streamline every process and facilitate innovation through supporting a more collaborative relationship between broker and insurer.

Wayne Jefferson, head of eTrading at Applied Systems


Wayne Jefferson

The simple answer is a broker should, first of all, step back from day-to-day business and take a proper holistic look at their existing system capabilities, the pros and cons of their existing technology and what they really need. If the brokerage already has a broker management system – and most brokers do – they should then make sure they are accessing all its functionality and ask questions of their provider and internal teams to ensure that this is the case. Is it, for example, able to tap into and digest not only the brokerages own data sources on customers and markets, but plug in data – ideally via an API (application programming interface) – from third-party specialist providers?

Being able to do this can really enrich their risk profile insights, enabling a more efficient and customer-focused service. Their system should enable them to access, analyse and manipulate this data and to pull off insightful reports.

Technology in the insurance market has moved on at pace in recent years, with cloud-based digital solutions opening up so many different opportunities for brokers to enhance their customer journey, streamline workflows, automate manual administrative processes, improve risk selection and deliver a slick and seamless advice-based service for clients. A broker needs to ensure simpler tasks are handled efficiently to ensure their skilled staff can focus their time and effort on the more technical needs of their customers.

And if a broker’s existing BMS cannot deliver on this, then now is the time to consider a change, as switching from one system to another is now, thanks to modern advancements, no longer the headache that it used to be.

Stuart Grieb, managing director of retail at Brown and Brown Europe

Bif debate

Stuart Grieb

Insurance brokers dutifully and busily tap away on keyboards every day to create risk transfer profiles for their customers, to present to the marketplace and to present advice to their customers. For all but the most simple needs, this is created in a multitude of formats, rekeyed multiple times and effectively lost, given that it isn’t captured as structured data.

Structured data richness is critical to harness the power of what can be achieved and is vital to unlock the answers to the questions asked. Technology can play its part in helping brokers here.

The richness created through the use of technology will turbocharge brokers’ ability to provide competitive benchmarking information for customers and markets. In turn, this will drive better outcomes through the presentation of risk, risk mitigation, coverage, pricing and deductible differentials.

What happens next? Will anyone ever need to rekey unstructured data? Will this customer and market data, with appropriate permissions and authority gateways, be shared so seamlessly as to make decisions and automatically pay claims? Will brokers be critical in this future? That’s up to us. I think more so. Time will tell.