March 21, 2023

Gone are the days when insurance sales were made by a man in a suit with a briefcase full of pamphlets and a quota to meet. 

Successful insurers today can leverage huge amounts of customer data, with data-driven companies 58% more likely to beat revenue goals versus those who aren’t data-driven. 

In an industry like insurance, taking advantage of customer data enables keen, strategic management of the entire insurance marketing life cycle – allowing insurers to generate a direct correlation between customer cost of acquisition and that same customer’s lifetime value. But as the vast stores of data generated by the industry continue to grow, it becomes increasingly easy for insurers to lose sight of what data is relevant, what is superfluous, and who needs what to succeed. Without transparency and open communication throughout an insurance organization, precious data is liable to go to waste.

Don’t settle for silos
Insurance organizations were collecting vital customer information years before the ‘age of data,’ yet many are still unsure of what data to use and how best to utilize it. Such confusion often stems from the fact that many insurance organizations are legacy enterprises, built on infrastructure that is ill-equipped for today’s deluge of information. 

When organizations aren’t structured with data sharing in mind, it becomes difficult for any given team or department to disperse or receive relevant facts and figures from other teams. It’s no wonder that 40% of executives cite lack of alignment within any organization as a barrier to adopting big data.

Each department within an insurance firm relies on unique sets of data to achieve success, and unique measurements to gauge that success. That’s why marketing data, sales data, and claims data are all generally gathered separately. However, when data management is siloed in this way, data storage becomes muddled and incomplete across the organization. And even if these disparate silos do utilize the same data, they may be contextualizing it in different ways, yielding different understandings of the data points they share. 

Let my information flow
To alleviate the challenge of siloed information, insurers first need to recognize that data is not flowing throughout their organization in the most effective way. 

Before pursuing concrete solutions, organizations must build a collective understanding of their data processes – making sure that each and every department is aware of its own data needs and missteps, as well as those of other departments. Once all departments are on the same page about the need for standardized data sharing, shared data sets and KPI’s for measuring performance will likely fall in place.

Achieving a unified measure to guide an entire enterprise also requires that organizations standardize the understanding of that data as well, meaning all departments have a similar context for the data they receive. For example, if the marketing team and the product team each receive the same KPI, but only the marketing team sees it as a positive indicator while the product team views it negatively, it points to a larger organizational issue around how data points are defined and perceived.

Data-based decisions
Breaking down siloed barriers and creating a unified metric of how data is stored and utilized will allow departments to work towards the same organizational goals, even as they work individually and achieve their own unique KPIs. Doing so will give every department a fuller view of the data at their disposal, allowing them a more holistic understanding of how to improve their performance within the big picture of the organization.

If successfully realized, this bigger picture will allow marketing and claims teams to work together more closely and cohesively – sharing a higher volume of relevant customer information and ensuring profitability through a higher volume of accurate leads. So, for example, marketing data can now inform policy and claims decision-making, increasing pricing accuracy.

Insurers that facilitate the flow of data across their organizations stand to see positive results in as little as a year, achieving better pricing and higher profitability. But for this streamlined data communication to take hold, there must be not only a technological shift in the insurance industry, but a cultural one as well – a reimagination of what it means to collect, store, and utilize data, and how data operations can be optimized for the future.

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