ILC Rising Star Interview: Carla McDonald, Product Director, Claims, LexisNexis Risk Solutions

Tell us about your role. What do you do, and what do you find most interesting about it? 

After 10 years of working in financial services, I joined the data, analytics and technology provider to the insurance market, LexisNexis Risk Solutions as a senior product manager, in September 2018. I first focused on managing existing product updates and enhancements then moved to lead product development with particular responsibility for our new ADAS product – LexisNexis Vehicle Build.  At the end of 2021, I was promoted to my new role as director of product management, focusing on the collection and use of highly granular, market-wide claims data within the customer journey.  We’re concentrating on home and motor claims data first but will move on to commercial. 

There are lots of interesting aspects to this job but perhaps the most fascinating is that through data, we are solving some long-standing problems for the insurance market so that insurance providers can make a more accurate assessment of risk at pricing, underwriting and claims.  The potential this has to change the perception of insurance is exciting. For example, as a claims professional, wouldn’t it be great to know all the past claims related to a property?  Insurance providers have often said to us ‘If only walls could talk’. Well, they can through highly granular claims data gathered from across the market. 

What made you want to work in this industry? 

When I joined LexisNexis Risk Solutions, I knew nothing about the insurance sector but was excited about the prospect of being part of such an innovative organisation as well as the role I could play in helping to make insurance something people really value and engage with.

During my interview process I was struck by the team’s commitment and vision – how they wanted to be seen by the insurance market and how they wanted to provide solutions that would delight our customers’ customers. I found this passion and dedication very inspiring and it was one of the main reasons I wanted to be part of the team.

I think the insurance sector is pretty exciting right now, with a huge amount of innovation and change. I genuinely love every day at work, and have the privilege of working with some amazing clients and colleagues. The energy and passion that people have in the insurance industry inspires and motivates me every day. It’s infectious!  I personally want to see progress in the sector, I want to make things happen, and I am surrounded by people that want this too. 

It is also a sector that has a high representation of brilliant, talented and inspirational women. The progress being made to increase female representation in the sector, particularly at senior level, is immensely motivational for me, and I have worked with and learned from some amazing women during my career.

What do you see as the greatest opportunity for the industry in the next 12 months?

I think that the increased use of data will continue to be an area of growth over the next 12 months, not just driven by new pricing regulations but to do more for customers to help them mitigate risks, particularly in relation to weather events.  Access to new data sources such as information from satellites and aerial imagery, may allow insurance providers to process home and commercial property claims more efficiently and accurately for example. Also, data from connected cars and autonomous vehicles will open up the opportunity to use real-time data to understand how vehicles are driven – which in turn will lead to wider take up of usage-based insurance.  There is also the use of data to support digital and automated customer journeys across the insurance workflow. Pre-fill solutions can remove the reliance on consumers to complete long forms and complicated question sets.  This makes the whole process much less time-consuming for the customer but also helps improve the quality of data used for quoting, resulting in more accurate pricing and perhaps most importantly, reducing the risk of underinsurance.

How would you like to see the industry change for the better in the future?

The insurance sector has made great strides in improving diversity and inclusivity but there is always more that can be done.  

From a data strategy perspective, I think the greater use of pre-validated data at the claims stage could help transform the claims experience for customers and ease the burden on claims teams.

In a LexisNexis Risk Solutions survey conducted amongst homeowners and renters[i], two thirds of consumers thought it is somewhat or completely acceptable to manipulate the information that they provide when using price comparison websites, to get a cheaper home insurance quote. It could be the number of claims, or it could be the nature of the incident, but the fact remains that if fraud is found then the policy becomes null and void, so data manipulation has serious implications for the customer as well as the insurance provider.

Solving these different dynamics comes down to understanding more about the customer at each point in the insurance journey through claims history gathered from across the market. We believe this solution can help insurance providers remain competitive, with price points that really reflect the customer’s risk, and products and services that meet their needs.  This is aside from the efficiency savings through, for example, automated verification of past claims and fraud risks flagged at claim – reducing the potential for friction with genuine customers.

If you could give your 16-year-old self a piece of advice, what would it be?

Feel the fear and do it anyway!  Sometimes there are tasks or challenges to face that may make you nervous or you want to shy away from. In most cases these are actually opportunities and should be embraced.  Often the things you find most daunting are the most rewarding, so I’d tell my 16-year-old self to be brave!

[i] LexisNexis Risk Solutions was not identified as the sponsor of this research, which was based on an online survey of 3,083 residential homeowners and renters (including 1,576 homeowners and 1,507 renters). The research was completed during 2019


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