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The Impact of Data Volumes- Effectiveness and Proactiveness, Consolidation, Integration and Usage

By Ursuline Foley, Corporate CIO, XL Catlin

Ursuline Foley, Corporate CIO, XL Catlin

In recent years, especially since the financial crisis of 2008, data has finally been recognized as a key asset of the company and this is also true in the Insurance Industry. For an industry that has gone through decades of M&A, resulting in companies having multiple operational systems which lead to multiple and complex operating processes, this does beg the question for many insurance companies as to where to begin caring about the data? Which data is more important or is it all equal?

While companies would like to tackle the full data management and reporting problem in one go, it does require resources and hence prioritization is critical for success along with a roadmap and incremental delivery against it until the vision is achieved.

There are a number of places that companies can start to manage their data:

-Active Executive sponsorship from the senior leadership

-Data Governance is critical (business ownership, governance process, tools)

-Finance partnership and active involvement (this is critical since most business data impacts the financial results either directly or indirectly)

-I.T. partnership with the appropriate data management skills and techniques in warehousing, data mastering, data conforming, data quality and reconciliation techniques

Data management could start in a number of places. Here are some suggestions that have worked successfully with the right disciplines and governance in place;

-Finance: Start with the financial metrics, measures and e-enterprise hierarchies. This would require all source system data that impact the financials to be standardized (AKA Conformed) to a common data warehouse structure in a way that would support frequent and consistent ease of use. Some data may require additional standardized processing to be established such as; earnings patterns, taxes etc. This work could be undertaken source system by source system and once completed for finance can then be expanded on for to include other domains such as claims, underwriting etc.

-Claims: Claims data management and process standardization can result in measurable efficiencies in the claims process that can impact the bottom-line and also help to refine underwriting terms.

-Pricing: With the appropriate underwriting and actuarial support this is certainly a valuable place to start which can lead to sophisticated real-time pricing analytics that can impact revenue.

Cloud Computing—benefits for insurance sector and how we embraced it

As Cloud computing has become more matured and its many offerings better understood, it certainly provides opportunities for the Insurance Industry to also leverage capabilities available in the broader industry without bearing the full cost and support burden itself.

It is important to include; Security, legal, compliance, business owners, Internal Audit, procurement and I.T. in evaluating any cloud offering! In my experience, it is also important to understand your options in terms of which aspects of the service are shared with other clients versus dedicated, especially as it concerns data and supporting services!

Equally important is to understand how the Cloud application solution fits into the enterprise data architecture— understand your trade-offs! For example, you may be buying a valuable application service in the cloud but it may come at the expense of an increase in data integrations, data reconciliations and transmitting large volumes of enterprise critical data in the midst of a time sensitive business process.

The areas that we see insurance companies can currently benefit from exist mostly in the non-insurance specific offerings, although we anticipate this to change in time. Hence, the more matured enterprise application service offerings we see relate to—Human Resources, Facility lease and space management, some areas of Finance processing such as Accounts Payable, Travel and Expenses, Procurement processing. Some smaller offerings exist for Financial Filings, legal etc. XL Catlin is already dependent on Cloud application services in the areas in a number of these areas.

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