Panel discussion: Graham Jackson, IBM UK Ltd

Graham Jackson, associate partner, insurance, IBM Global Business Services explains how firms can exploit technology in the current economic downturn.

"The thing that I think is important is to understand what people are actually doing in the market, some of the initiatives they are looking at around technology and how they are actually addressing issues that are important to them," he says. View the video to hear what Jackson has to say next.

For more information about Graham Jackson’s comments please visit: IBM 3T 2020

View from the panel

It was interesting, from a panelist's perspective, to see the different take on the common topic of 'The rising cost of claims and the impact of the economic downturn' followed by the panel members. There was an interesting mix of the broad and the narrow, the general and the specific, and with views naturally biased to the panel members' positioning in the insurance market.

But a recurring theme was information, and the potential benefits from more effective use of data, for all its wrinkles, using proven technologies and techniques which are not all that widely used today. What makes this an even more attractive area in the current economic situation, is that there is scope to use technology to exploit the data you already have, without the need to invest in heavyweight IT infrastructure.

I strongly believe these tools (data warehouses and datamarts, MI dashboards, statistical modelling tools, etc) can allow management to better understand what is going on in their businesses at a much more granular level than just from the monthly performance report which often has just a few high level KPI's, maybe a trend line, and typically a not-very-scientific analysis and commentary.

Have you considered where you are placed in this information domain? Do you have an information agenda; where do you sit on the information maturity scale, what are the information agenda initiatives currently on the stocks?

And more questions -

Today, do you have a view on claim handler performance at a highly granular level; e.g. average time to settle, average claim settlement, legal fees vs predictable fee on motor injury claims, settlement values vs Glass Retail for motor total losses, supply chain SLAs, and so the list goes on?

And the list will change over time; what will be the final requirements for MoJ, what KPI's will be needed to manage within the MoJ environment, what is being done now to prepare for its arrival?

As a claims manager, when did you last develop an hypothesis around claims cost drivers and test that hypothesis with relevant data and using an appropriate statistical technique. Or are the truisms of the industry so well known, that they no longer need validation or further development?

And while the all-pervasive 'average' affects our daily lives, very seldom does the concept of 'variance' cross our paths, although the increasing number of Lean Sigma initiatives we are engaged in within insurers is changing that.

If your responses are more NO than YES, then almost certainly you're the devil without the detail!

Graham Jackson is associate partner, insurance, IBM Global Business Services.