The data debate: you show me yours…

While comparing the UK home claims market to its European equivalent is a bit like apples and pears, there are still lessons to be learned from our continental counterparts.

When it comes to collaboration and data sharing, insurers across The Channel have a significantly different approach and, as a result, are reaping the rewards.

That was the opinion of Michael Porter, SVP International, CoreLogic, who was speaking during a far-reaching panel debate on data and information sharing at the ILC specialist conference, The Environmental Challenges of Property Claims, which took place at etc.venues, London in June.

Best use

He was joined on stage by Rachel Cheyne, Meteorological Data Analyst, WeatherNet; and Laura Lazarus, Supply Chain Lead, Property & Specialist Lines, Aviva, in a discussion that considered how data can best be used to drive carbon emissions reduction.

Mike said, “The claims process is an insurer’s core value. It’s the number one way they can differentiate themselves on price and customer value, so it’s not surprising they’re nervous about sharing their data.

“But in Europe there is a huge level of collaboration between insurers in terms of data and best practice. They are so much more willing to improve their own profitability and underwriting outcomes by sharing data across the market.”

Good data

Emphasising how good data can drive efficiencies and reduce emissions, Rachel explained that predicting weather events can dramatically impact the volume and value of claims.

She said, “Weather forecasting is one of the most forward-thinking data sets that insurers have access to. It allows insurers to mitigate risk and to take the message to the policyholder. Our research found that if you warn a homeowner that a flood is coming, 50% will take action. Imagine the effects on indemnity if we can reduce flood claims by half; and think of the wastage that is avoided, the sofas that aren’t thrown away, the repairs that don’t need to take place…”


However, with so much data available these days and a potential conflict with privacy laws, the challenge for insurers is knowing what data to harvest and how best to use it.

For example, Mike said that in terms of measuring the carbon cost of a claim, it might one day be necessary to record what time contractors arrive on site and how many cars are used. For the time being, the benefits of this data do not warrant the investment, but the trick is knowing if and when that might change.

He said, “In software we say everything is possible, it’s just a matter of time and money; you need to be prepared to spend the money and take the time.”

Unintended consequences

Further, there is also the law of unintended consequences to consider. Laura pointed to automation as a perfect example. She said that while it can streamline process, what impact will it have on employee engagement?

She said, “We have a lot of data, but the challenge will be understanding what data we’re going to need in the future that we don’t have access to already. There will be more opportunities to learn from data, but we need to be clear about what we’re measuring and undoubtably there will be short-, mid- and long-term thinking in this.”

She concluded, “This is an industry-wide issue so we’re going to have to behave differently and collaborate more.”

The event was supported by headline sponsor CoreLogic and sponsors Gateley Vinden, Polygon, QuestGates, RSK Group and JCS Jewellery.


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