Modern mapping software can help insurers spot areas of high risk or even instances of fraud
World changes and challenges
Not even the most advanced mapping software in the world could prevent the upheavals of the last few years: from the global economic rollercoaster that has marked much of this decade, to population shifts, to sudden disasters attributed to the effects of global warming.
Perhaps the industry that has felt most impact from these events is the insurance industry.
Can Big Data help alleviate the burden that this deeply traditional business now bears? Perhaps…
PricewaterhouseCoopers certainly seems to think it can. In a report on the industry published last year, PwC notes:
“Big data and small analytics are starting to help insurers improve their overall performances by facilitating greater pricing accuracy, deeper relationships with customers and more effective and efficient loss prevention.”
It goes on:
“Technolog offers insurers great promise for developing a competitive edge, but only if they can effectively analyze the huge amount of data that is now available.”
Without divulging any sensitive company information, we wanted to find out how our insurance clients have been using our mapping software, since the PwC report was published.
Based on the sample feedback we received, it seems that our insurance mapping software falls into the type of technology adoption that PricewaterhouseCoopers so enthusiastically encouraged. Knowingly or unknowingly, many of our clients have taken on board the bones of the report’s recommendations and are seeing the benefits of making the most of their location data.
Are we surprised? Well, not completely – mapping data has a long association with the insurance industry. Sanborn Maps, which helped insurance companies estimate fire liabilities on buildings, were introduced as far back as 1867!
How companies are using insurance mapping software:
Speed of analysis: this is a recurring feature praised not just by our insurance clients, but all our clients. Why trawl through pages of an Excel spreadsheet when a single map will tell you all you need to know? As one client remarked: “It’s the visuals that make all the difference.”
More targeted marketing: “One size fits all” is not a valid concept anymore. By plotting demographic data on a map – age, income or ethnicity, for instance – our insurers have implemented product plans or altered premiums to suit particular customer segments.
Spot clusters that suggest high risk areas: another example of how mapping Excel data can provide insights previously hidden away. eSpatial analytical tools – radius maps and heat maps in particular – were a feature particularly cited for helping insurance clients spot trends that could suggest potential fraudulent activity.
See correlations between different sets of data: closely tied to the previous benefit. Mapping software allows insurers to organize, add and cross-reference large amounts of information. Relationships that were previously hidden are now clearly visible. Some clients report they have greatly improved their predictive analytics by blending actuarial models with Excel mapping data.
Better allocation of agents: how people buy insurance has radically changed over the last 15 years. While many consumers will purchase online, others prefer the more traditional face-to-face approach. Our mapping software tells insurers where that approach is most effective. The result: agent productivity has significantly improved.
In a disaster, visualize impacted locations and gauge damage: we live in an unpredictable world, so when things like natural disasters occur – flooding, for instance – data needs to be collected, assessed and reacted upon as quickly as possible. eSpatial allows insurers to quickly upload Excel data and, through its visualization – rapidly gauge the extent of damage to particular geographic areas and their inhabitants. This facilitates a speedier response to claims and aids planning for the future.
Keeping up with changes to rules of compliancy in a global market: One of our international clients uses eSpatial insurance mapping software just to get an overview of compliancy regulations around the world. Before considering launching a product in a national market, he clicks on a country and an information box attached to a map pin provides an overview of insurance regulations and quirks in a particular market.
The above are just a few insights into how insurance companies are using eSpatial to make their business better – but each insurer inevitably discovers its own particular use for the software.
If you haven’t done so already, try eSpatial (you’ll get the full version completely free for 7 days) and see how your business can use it to make the most of your Big Data.