Questions selected from Modern Insurer’s theme focus questions on Technology. Answered by Brent Baldwin, Engagement Lead, Duck Creek Technologies.
As the importance of combining both internal and external data increases, how can high-quality data be accessed at a reasonable cost?
Any modern insurance system is going to generate tremendous amounts of data internally, and add to it with myriad external data sources. The smartest modern insurers will take advantage of this internal and external data to fine-tune their offerings and rates. Indeed, many of the insurers with which I’ve worked have built homegrown solutions to bring data from their disparate systems into a common data warehouse.
This may seem like a sensible deployment of time and money to handle what is ultimately a very sensitive and significant resource, but in reality this often means an insurer has to deploy multiple teams building code and sanitising data. This also includes all the pain of long-term maintenance and technical debt as the system inevitably drops behind the most up-to-date platforms available commercially.
For instance, many insurers find their in-house technology is not capable of providing the business analytics capabilities needed to make key decisions – so the data was there, but not being actioned and harnessed to its full potential.
In response to this, Duck Creek has evolved its capability over time, and our current Data Insights offering provides a pre-built, well-documented solution for extracting data from across our Suite into a normalised data warehouse.
Our Business Analytics and Reporting module provides a fully-featured analysis and reporting capability built on top of the data warehouse.
Investing in advanced analytics positions insurers for success, empowering more nimble decision-making based on quality data. Combining traditional data with new external data sources can also provide insights that create new value for insurers, but the differentiator is an insurer’s ability to easily analyse and draw conclusions from this data for business intelligence.
With a plethora of innovation amongst technology providers and insurtechs what advice can you give when choosing a vendor, solution and implementation strategy?
Always skate to where the puck will be, not where it is right now. When analysing the next step for your organisation, think more about where you want to be in three or five years than you do on what the company does today.
One of the biggest issues I see in the market is carriers that want to move to a new technology and force it to do the same things their old system – that they desperately want to escape – used to do. As you’re looking ahead and considering partners, I’d also look for ones with the right people powering them.
That’s not to say you’d expect a startup to have a long history of success for its products, but you would expect the people that are the heart of that startup to have plenty of experience and past successes. If you build your business around experienced, passionate people, it’s not a guarantee of success, but it gives you more ability to adapt to the unforeseen, and it makes success more likely.
Other advice I would give is to look for evergreen technology systems – those where the onus of maintenance and keeping up to date is on the technology provider, as opposed to a burden on in-house IT teams. This will enable you to focus on your business, not the technology underlying it. Deploying technology that has the ability – built into its architecture – to evolve with the times and plug in to new opportunities is clearly the way of the future.