Celent sought to understand the role and importance of data in the insurance industry and examine where insurers are in terms of investment in data-related technologies and in Big Data in particular. To do so, Celent launched a survey in February 2013. Their main findings are:
    • Velocity and variety of data are the most important challenges faced by insurers, but volume, finding value and veracity of data are less problematic.
    • Licensed software and vendor installations are the most popular type of tool set, and a variety of teams are present in most insurers with a mix of data analysis skills and presumably different responsibilities to look at data.
    • A minority of insurers are using external data, but with the growing amount of data sources that are now openly available via Internet sites, social networks and media, insurers understand there is potential value in leveraging external data sources in different domains of their business.
    • Insurers think their industry still struggles to find value in Big Data.
    • Insurance companies do not anticipate that customers’ expectations will change the way they use data in order to provide innovative insurance products or better meet underserved client segments.
    • Insurers leverage data analysis technologies to improve their business basics with growing interest in cloud-based analytics, but Big Data-related technologies are still unknown for many insurers.
    • Pricing optimization, customer segmentation, underwriting and fraud detection are the priority analysis insurers want to perform when leveraging Big Data infrastructure.
    • Insurers are taking a pragmatic approach to data and adopting new data technologies, but there are significant gaps in insurers’ perception of their competitors and their customers, which Celent feels is a key strategic issue.
    • Insurers should not believe that competitors are laggards, and they must treat data as critical raw material. In addition, we think the insurance industry is set for a step change in customer engagement.
    For the full results of the study, please contact info@celent.com.

    CRAIG BEATTIE is a senior analyst in Celent’s insurance practice, based in the London office. He brings extensive experience in the use of enterprise architecture and applications architecture practices in the insurance industry, working within insurers. Mr Beattie has advised insurers on IT strategy, legacy modernization, insurance vendor analysis and enterprise architecture topics, principally in the EMEA region. Contact Mr. Beattie at cbeattie@celent.com

    NICOLAS MICHELLOD is a senior analyst in Celent’s insurance practice and is based in Zurich, Switzerland. Mr. Michellod has 15 years of experience in the financial industry acquired in the banking and insurance sectors. During his insurance years, he held different C-level positions and has led a claims system replacement project. Mr. Michellod research has concentrated on continental European insurance markets with a specific focus on France and insurance systems including life policy administration, document automation and risk management systems. Contact Mr. Michellod at nmichellod@celent.com.