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Why insurance businesses should think beyond data to achieve continuous intelligence.

By Kumar Manu


Despite the push across industries to disintermediate as a way to “go digital”, many businesses continue to depend largely on consultative selling, personal relationships, and human interactions to educate and engage their customers. Insurance agents and brokers for complex product sales are an example of this phenomenon. However, these are also the very businesses with significant opportunity to harness the power of data to amplify human efforts. Said differently, these are the businesses primed to go beyond data.


Businesses can use data to gain continuous intelligence about their organization – between functional silos, across organizational borders, and throughout the extended value chain. This continuous intelligence unlocks tremendous business value by promoting the sharing of a single source of truth across the entirety of the organization. Consider an agency or broker with a myriad of sales sub-processes, generating massive amounts of data but with no seamless way to integrate it all. This results in monthly reports cobbled together by analysts, duplicated data in disparate Excel files, one-off reports emailed throughout the organization that frequently get “buried” under a mountain of communications. The result is not just a waste of time and resources but a delay in critical insights and informed decision making that leads to a shortfall in premium and commission growth.


In order to stay on the forefront of their industry, insurance businesses must find a way to quickly and efficiently scale the digital divided in a meaningful way. Continue intelligence does just that. It takes companies beyond data and provides them with actionable insights that allow for more strategic decision making.


1. Develop a common system of record. Technology underpins every business process, but it doesn’t mean that each process requires its own system and reporting. Rather, having a way to see the interconnected picture will set an organization up for successfully gathering continuous intelligence. Whether this common system of record is generated in-house or shared from carriers, wholesalers, or sub-agents, having a unified picture is the critical first step.


2. Make it meaningful and interactive. Long gone are the days of settling for data visualization. Charts, graphs, and dashboards are only as valuable as the story they tell. Instead, provide your organization something to rally around and make your rallying point easy for anyone in the value chain to identify trends and outliers (for example, the contribution of different elements across the sales ecosystems such as producers vs. carriers vs. wholesalers vs. sub-agents.). It’s important that team members throughout the organization are able to deep-dive across intra-company layers and silos, as well as across inter-company borders.


3. Make it personal, available, and collaborative. Present data-driven insights and the ability to make decisions in the format that matters to the viewer. This means more than just thoughtful data security. Present it to the Principal, Line of Business Managers, Area Managers, Producers, Carrier Partners, etc. in a way that makes most sense to them. This means showing them the relevant information in a display that is most actionable – tablet, desktop, mobile, etc. This type of relevance breeds collaboration and better decision making across members of the organization.


Imagine a broker business being driven by continuous intelligence. Imagine each individual contributor in the ecosystem turning into an empowered leader and strategic decision maker. Imagine the impact on premiums and commission growth as a result of a connected ecosystem. Imagine realizing significant revenue lifts by going beyond data.

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