It’s All About the Data…and Using It

The other day I interviewed Karen Furtado of Strategy Meets Action (SMA) on the Top Ten Imperatives for Insurers in 2011 for an upcoming issue of Insurance Unplugged. The number-one driving force of most of these imperatives (based on insurer input) comes down to data and using it to understand markets, distribution, consumers, product delivery, intelligent underwriting, communication, and much more. And although data and analytics have always been seen as essential, they’re now a must.

Companies ranked “charting a path for market growth” as one of their top imperatives, which involves having access to and looking at external data to determine which emerging growth industries make sense for them, and to analyze their existing and potential distribution channel in these areas. This data includes analyzing SIC codes and seeing which agencies are marketing to these SIC codes in specific geographic areas. This allows for better product development and enhanced targeting of potential clients with the expertise of agencies already in the marketplace.

In using external data to analyze what makes sense for an MGA, wholesaler or carrier and with which retailers to partner, another imperative for 2011 is also addressed: getting a product to market much faster. Not only are insurers looking at technology to provide quicker turnaround on products to agents but they’re also looking to determine which products/programs to develop. External data is key to a fast path in new product launching.

We’re seeing our ProgramBusiness Storefronts (wholesalers, MGAs, program administrators, carriers) using data to develop products and get to market more quickly. They’re developing and launching innovative programs, including products for regulatory business interruption, tattoo salons, medi-spas, food contamination, equine mortality, and much more. They’re looking at data to find niches, analyze business needs based on legislation and emerging trends, and partner with retailers that are also looking to expand their books of business in a challenging market.

How are you using external data to determine in which markets to enter or expand? What new programs are you planning to launch for 2011? Let us know.