The Growing World of Data: It’s Not Just for Actuaries Anymore

By Jane Zawistowski April 6, 2015

There was a time when actuaries were the insurance professionals who most often delved into the deep waters of loss cost and premium analysis.

But times are changing. Today, as data has become bigger and more accessible than ever before, those who work in marketing, sales, underwriting, and claims are using statistical and social media data to help their companies grow.

To see the many applications, you just need to think of the departments within an insurer and their individual goals.

For marketing, the goal might be to develop a targeted campaign that will help generate new policyholders. The staff could analyze historical data about loss ratios and other variables to identify a target market with the greatest potential for growth. They could also combine that data with corresponding engagement data from social media and potentially devise highly effective marketing strategies designed to facilitate rapid growth in historically profitable segments.

In underwriting, the goal might be to evaluate the book of business and collect higher total premiums. By analyzing the data, the staff might be able to uncover rate-redundant classes with potential for growth and rate-deficient classes that might require higher premiums.

Underwriters might also be able to use data from emerging technologies, such as vehicle telematics and the industrial Internet of Things (IoT), to award schedule rating credits and monitor whether rate-deficient commercial lines classes have implemented sound loss control.

The claims department might want to become more efficient and improve customer service. By looking at claim frequency and severity trends, the department’s leaders might be able to identify which areas require the most staff and resources to meet customer demand. They could also use social media data to help improve customer experience. For example, some reinsurers are superimposing social media posts and images over maps of catastrophe stricken areas to gauge whether claims-handling resources are distributed to policyholders in greatest need.

User-friendly data

Gleaning insights has become easier than ever before thanks to software that can perform powerful calculations and produce a variety of helpful illustrations. With a spreadsheet, actuaries can develop customizable exhibits that professionals across an organization can use to display trends and develop strategies.

At ISO, we’ve recently enhanced our interactive suite of experience compilations, ISO Experience Profiler, with new modules for the diverse inland marine insurance market. The new modules contain historical data from more than 100 classes of personal and commercial inland marine insurance and can generate custom charts and graphs for company presentations. That actuarial data will be critical to understanding the nature of the risk across the entire policy life cycle as emerging classes of business, such as mobile device insurance, grow with the introduction of new IoT products.

ISO Experience Profiler, formerly ISO DataCubeTM, contains a range of aggregate data, including written and earned premiums, incurred losses and claims, loss ratios, and causes and locations of loss. In addition to the new modules, the suite provides data for five other lines: businessowners, commercial auto, commercial property, general liability, and homeowners.

If you haven’t used the suite yet, I urge you to give it a try. To learn more or schedule a demo, please contact me at JZawistowski@iso.com or 201-469-2222.


Jane Zawistowski is Director, Data Products for ISO Insurance Programs and Analytic Services.