Analytics capabilities are seen by insurers as essential tools for intelligent claims handling, so much so that technology suppliers are moving to embed analytics offerings within claims administration systems. Two leading experts, while underscoring the value that analytics can bring to claims handling, offer a cautionary note about over-reliance on silicon tools to the exclusion of the skilled and experienced, carbon-based forms.
We’d like your thoughts: Can data and analytics improve claims handling in your organization?
Embedded analytics and modern administration systems
Back in April, we used this space to describe a trend towards embedding analytic capabilities into production systems. The driving impetus was to increase the utilization of the analytics as decision tools by knowledge workers.
Technology suppliers are recognizing this trend and are finding business opportunities as a result. A recent example was the purchase of Millbrook, a data management and business intelligence solution provider, by Guidewire Software.
While the acquired technology will be available to non-Guidewire customers, the main focus is to embed the technology within the Guidewire suite and and integrate the data. Quoted in a release announcing the purchase, Jack Plunkett, senior field consulting director, Guidewire Software and co-founder of Millbrook said, “Our approach creates a BI foundation for embedding advanced business intelligence into the day-to-day workflows of insurance professionals.”
Analysts concur that this is a direction for the future. Concerning the Guidewire/Millbrook deal, Gartner’s Kimberly Harris-Ferrante, told Insurance & Technology, “Embedded analytics is a characteristic of the next generation of insurance systems”.
The opportunities abound, when integrated with human factors
As important as analytics are, beyond software, there is a second point of integration that is more critical: Human integration. Independent consultant, Mark Gorman recently worked with Stephen Swenson, insurance development executive at SAS on a report for claims executives on how to expand analytics usage.
In an interview with Carrie Burns at Insurance Networking News, Gorman and Swenson consistently cited the importance of analytics as support for, not replacement of, skilled claims professionals. “We have to make sure we have the right people focused on the right decisions,” Gorman says. “This is where predictive analytics is being used to support decision-making, not to replace it.”
A big part of this is to help seasoned claims professionals understand the value of the analytics. Making the technology easier to access (by embedding it, e.g.) is one technique. According to Gorman, “Providing automated information and decision support to get them up and running and productive faster is increasingly becoming a driver in the market.”
Claims professionals frequently see the value of data because they tend to have a broader vision of how the data can help them do a better job. Gorman notes, “we’ve been able to find out that there’s oftentimes more vision than people within the organization know because they just haven’t asked the question and removed the constraints.”
At the end of the day, people will make or break any system, and people need time and help to understand the value of the system. Gorman says, “If ‘believership’ can be built with the people who are responsible for the operations and processing of the organization, true change starts to take place.”
What do you think?
We may be just at the beginning of the golden age of data in insurance. What to you think this will mean for claims? Will embedding the technology help? How best can knowledge workers be supported.
Give us your analysis.