In preparing for my recent article in INN, titled “The Path to Analytics is Paved with Good Data,” I had the opportunity to speak with Paul Luongo, president and CIO of Shared Technology Services Group Inc., the IT service company for the Plymouth Rock Group of Cos., based in Boston.

Paul's team has been aggressively pursuing a data analytics-based strategy because he believes that's the future of customer relationships in the industry. "There are fewer physical connections with customers—it's more an electronic relationship," he says. "We need to know as much as we can about that person and what their needs might be."

By applying analytic tools to the company's data, Plymouth Rock can answer questions such as “What type of business do we seem to be selling mostly? Where do our rates have a sweet spot? Is it the sweet spot do we want our rates to have? How many quotes are coming in, and how many sales are generated from quotes?” Add to this information gained about claims information, frequency of claims, household information, named operators and insureds versus non-insureds on a policy. The possibilities are endless, Luongo says.

At the core of Plymouth Rock's intelligent approach is an enterprise data warehouse, coupled with a master data management effort. This helps the company move toward a “single version of the truth,” in which information is consistent across the enterprise and all its channels. "Having the data managed this way allows us to make one decision across the company,” Luongo says.

Of course, such capabilities don't happen overnight. What's essential is insurers evolve themselves into analytics-driven cultures, Luongo says. “Capture the data, and then develop your business use on top of the data,” he advises. “But don't get tied up with how you're going to use the data because that will continue to evolve over time.”

Listening to the business is another important part of becoming an analytics-driven culture, Luongo adds. “You talk to somebody from the insurance business, and they want to know their loss ratio in that particular territory, or that particular segment of business, or this particular household income level,” he points out. “They're already telling you what they want to use the data for.”

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