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Data Push to Decision Pull

Data Push to Decision Pull

Posted by Dawn Mortimer on

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You don’t know what tough is, back in the day when I had to walk uphill both ways to school…” I remember my grandfather saying to me when I would complain about something. As I think about data in today’s P&C insurance world, I am reminded of this saying as data was harder to come by and insurance companies often made choices based upon what was available, not necessarily the full picture.

It wasn’t that long ago that data was scarce, and we had to take whatever data we could get. In fact, traditional reports and business intelligence were born to satisfy this need. Take as much data as you can get and publish it as a report, the more data the better. I call this the “Data Push” paradigm.

In today’s world of plentiful data, this paradigm is unworkable. You can’t push all the data an insurance company has into usable reports because, between all the internal and external data sources, it is basically infinite. More is not better; it is just overwhelming. For example, if an insurance company is leveraging telematics and the average car creates 5 to 250 gigabytes of data an hour, you can’t push that data into a report and make sense from it. That would be absurd.

We are all starting to adjust to this new reality. Storing and processing data has gotten so cheap that all of our organizations are hoarding data, otherwise known as data retention. But to what end? How is the company able to recognize what is important and take action?

It’s great to have data, but data is just a means to an end. To effectively solve present-day business problems, we can’t start from the data. We need to start with the decision (e.g., Should I accept this risk? Am I liable for this claim? Should I expand into more states/countries in order to grow the company?), and let those decisions lead us to the data that is needed.

In short, we need to move from "Data Push" to "Decision Pull”. Starting from the decision forces us to think about the decision-makers: people like underwriters, CAT managers and executives. What are their processes? What systems they are working in? How can they get the information they need in the moment to make the most informed decision?

These users need a unified experience: persona-based applications, for decisions within and about the insurance lifecycle, embedded in their everyday workflow, with outcomes measured and tracked in real time.

The right solution will bring together advanced analytics, leveraging real-time operational as well as external data, integrating into the core P&C insurance workflows and systems, while ultimately extending the data into the digital experience to drive smarter internal decisions and better customer outcomes.

I will be delving into this topic further in my webinar tomorrow, “Drones: Soaring to New Heights in the Insurance Journey,” hosted by Insurance Networking News. There’s still time to register. Also, my colleague Jason McDonald will use Guidewire Live Spotlight to illustrate the “analysis – decision chasm” in a blog post next Monday, September 28th.

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