Data democratisation: leveraging data to generate value

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Almost everyone is collecting data in some way shape or form – whether it is health data coming from wearable devices to personal information and interactions from social media sites. The same is true in the insurance sector.

Insurance companies are collecting more and more data through the proposal process, supplemented with data from public sources or industry databases. The idea is that ‘big data’ is the holy grail that will enable companies to secure the best risks for the best price — and therefore outperform the competition. 

However, the ‘big bang’ we have all been waiting for has not quite happened. What is the reason for this? 

The need to treat data as an asset

While companies in the insurance sector (as in other sectors) collect data, the data is not being treated like the asset it is. Data privacy requirements have scared some companies into locking that data up. 

In other cases, the data collected by one department is not shared with other departments. This is because teams often fail to appreciate the value of the data that they have. As a result, some companies have struggled to differentiate their service offerings because they are unable to fully and effectively utilise their greatest asset – data.

Meanwhile, the introverted actuary is oblivious to the fact that the data exists in the company and continues to bang the drum on how they need more data!

Can you imagine the potential gains that could be achieved if all of an organisation’s data was made available internally, with everyone knowing exactly how to leverage it?

"The reality is simple - the company that can gain competitive advantage from their data through use of technology will ultimately drive better value for the business and outperform their peers."

That is where the idea of data democratisation comes in. It’s the ability for everyone in an organisation to know what data exists, where it comes from and how to access it, in order to achieve an organisation’s goals. 

The data challenges that companies need to overcome

Data democratisation is indeed a worthy goal, but is easier said than done. In an organisation that has grown over time through acquisitions, understanding the various data systems that exist and what they capture can be a real challenge. Some systems may be so old that the in-house expert needed to unlock the contents of the system itself may have left the company logo ago. 

In some cases, while the data contents are known and understood, extracting the contents into an acceptable format may be tedious; for example, because the source records are still on paper files and in a different language!

Data driven innovation and disruption

Data is crucial for innovation and the foundation for future disruption. Tech companies, for example, know this. They have been solving data democratisation problems in heavily regulated sectors like banking through the use of data mapping tools, data governance frameworks and data extraction technology. 

Pioneering innovations, such as machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), need more and more data in order to deliver the benefits that they promise.

We have a wealth of experience in helping clients understand the value of their data and in working with them to utilise it effectively. Our aim is to take a holistic view of a client’s data needs and design solutions that will work to deliver clear, tangible benefits that meet their specific needs.

Please contact us if you would like to know more or to talk about any of the topics above. 

Further reading

Data science, ethics and actuaries

As insurance companies are using more and more data science models, collaborations between actuaries and data scientists will be the key to developing a robust framework for building trustworthy ethical models.


Find out more

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