Sectors

Big Data: Ready for Takeoff?

Insurance technologists, like their peers across industries, have been tasked with untangling the concepts of big data and analytics. The buzzy terms have taken over not just tech circles, but seemingly the entire corporate enterprise, as all business units look for solutions to tap into the supposed wealth of consumer and market information that provides a competitive advantage.

Establishing data management standards and expertise, and understanding data warehousing, are key projects that insurers must complete before they can tap into the wealth of available data, says Susan Helm-Murtagh, VP of analytics at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Raleigh, N.C.; 3.7 million policyholders).

“The thing that isn’t being talked about when people talk about big data is the importance of data management,” she says. “If we don’t understand data certification and standardization, how to build data models and exchange data with an increasing number of partners, we’re going to have problems.”

All companies struggle with reaching a consensus on the definition and scope of big data, as well as where to begin and its potential applications. But insurance companies have always, in a way, been stewards of big data, industry experts say. And so for many insurers, the journey to an analytic enterprise begins at home, in using newly available technologies to build a framework around that data.”

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