Analytics Maturity: Dastardly data and despicable solicitors

UK primary solicitors insurance is a battleground. The contest is fierce and underwriting hard.

The large claims continue to stress the scant premium pool. Unrated carriers continually enter the battlefield, taking market share and perpetuating the depressed rates.

"War is ninety percent information."
Napoleon Bonaparte, French Military and Political Leader

My recent skirmish took part when I was working with the broking team. I performed the detailed pricing analysis as part of a team of experts.

The loss ratio was too high for the lead market. Our broking fee ran into a few million pounds, which fully justified the amount of time and effort.

UK Solicitors is a large market, which has an important part to play in the running of our economy. Solicitors provide professional services in conveyancing, tax, corporate and criminal legal advice.

Insurance is key to allow solicitors to trade, and provide a safety net to their clients.

There should be opportunities to segment the book, determine key risk factors and cherry pick the good risks. The challenge though is lack of quality data.

The DELTA framework provides some insight to why UK Solicitors fails, and what needs to be done to correct it.


The DELTA framework is the brain child of Tom Davenport - I highly recommend you read his book, Analytics at Work.

Find out more

Most underwriters are at the stage 1 level in the data section of the framework:


Stage 1:

Some local data storage, but limited data capture of key risk factors. Difficult to connect exposure, premium and claims data. Claims data is limited to corporate record type data fields such as date of loss, date of payment and amount paid.

To succeed in UK Solicitors, the underwriter needs to progress to being more advanced on the DELTA framework. Moving from stage 1 and getting up to stage 3 data standards.

What does this mean:

  1. Build a consistent data collection process
  2. Implement data cleansing to ensure data is high quality and meaningful
  3. Structure the data to allow easy analysis by actuaries and underwriters
  4. Seek for the extra data, the unique insights to allow underwriters to out select their peers
  5. Organise the data so the hub from which the spokes hang is the solicitor firm. i.e. premium, exposure and claims hang off the firm.

Until one of the UK insurers take this step, UK solicitors will remain a muddy, bloody battleground. One littered with the corpses of slaughtered underwriters.