High-performing insurers know that if they expect to surpass competitors in the race to keep up with the industry, they want analytics on their side. But as insurers cope with the rapid pace of change, how can they harness the full potential of analytics? Accenture’s cross-industry survey of 600 analytics practitioners in the United States and United Kingdom revealed three key success factors when using data.

While insurers have long used analytics to price and underwrite risk, cross-industry results indicated growth in analytics use is predominately found at the functional unit level, particularly in customer-centric areas:

  • More than two-thirds of surveyed firms use analytics to drive decisions around customer retention and acquisition. Those firms are seeing tangible outcomes.
  • Sixty percent of practitioners are using analytics to generate a better customer experience, with more than half seeing strong outcomes as a result.

Analytics and the customer

The chart below illustrates the particular areas where companies are using analytics:

Business areas in which companies are using analytics
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Key success factor #2: Data expertise

Analytics users see data as an increasingly valuable source for generating new ideas and opportunities for the business, for example:

  • Twenty-five percent of respondents surveyed in 2012 rely on data “to a great extent” for new ideas—up from 12 percent in 2009.
  • Sixty-two percent of firms rank “quicker/more effective decision-making” as a top priority from the use of analytics.

Data as a source of inspiration

When asked about the extent to which data provides the business with an important tool for identifying opportunities, respondents replied:

The extent to which data provides the business with an important tool for identifying opportunities
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Key success factor #3: Sourcing analytics talent

Having the right people working with data has never been more critical, but talent pool constraints reach across all industries. Accenture found that 59 percent of firms report turning to external analysts and consultants for assistance—up from 53 percent in 2009.

When it comes to effective analytical capability, having the right people focused on the right set of problems is critical. Even though many organizations are seeing tangible outcomes, others are struggling to see a meaningful ROI. Join me next week when we’ll take a closer look at why companies are not seeing the results they expected.

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