Analytics continues to show importance in insurance

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24 February 2015
Tom Scales
As I am sure all our readers know, data analytics is a critical area for insurers. Few industries have as much data, and do as little with that data, as the insurance industry. This was reinforced today when EXL announced their acquisition of RPM Direct, an analytics company focused on insurance. Personally I find the use of analytics fascinating and see it every day when I get phone calls and emails that are clearly targeted at me. Sometimes it reaches the level of creepy -- like the targeted ads on Facebook after I search for something on Google. Those searches follow me around for months. Good thing my searches are pretty innocuous. I do suspect I confuse their algorithms, as I am both a member of AARP and the father of four children under the age of five. I would love to see insurers do more, but suspect they're caught in the age old trap of 'who owns the customer'. Most insurers with which I work still abide by the philosophy that the agent owns the customer. My usual reaction is "STOP THAT". Yes, that bluntly. Our world is changing and consumers want convenience and ease of access. The idea that a first time Life insurance buyer, say age 30, would ask an agent to come to their house actually makes me laugh. They'll buy on their tablet and their phone. It's time for insurers to step up and understand that. Once they do, the power of data analytics and data mining will be huge. Think of the data -- beneficiary data, life event data, so much about their customers and their customer's families -- all going to waste. I keep saying that a company that doesn't have baggage will come into our market and change things. The heart of that change will be phone/tablet/web sales backed with analytics. Is that Google, Facebook or my favorite prediction Amazon? I don't know, but it sure will be disruptive. Good for EXL for catching the wave early.

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