Are You Afraid of the Dark (Data)?

Data drives almost every aspect of business these days. From improving operations and identifying growth opportunities to better servicing customers, the value of data is unmeasurable. For group insurers, these customer and market insights come from a variety of sources and are critical for enhancing customer engagement, improving underwriting processes, and more. Unfortunately, some data remains hidden either due to legacy system integration issues or worse – it remains in paper form. This inaccessible, untapped data is referred to as “dark data” and it can be as scary as it sounds. Its impact can be felt throughout several group insurance processes such as delayed claims and business process automation.

At the core of insurance operations is the reliance on customer data to drive underwriting, distribution, claims processing, and customer relations. Due to this need, the insurance industry is ahead of many others in storage, access, and utilization of customer data. Because of the vast amount of original data remaining on outdated systems in rarely used formats, or other incompatibilities, a large portion of insurers’ data may be inaccessible in today’s automated systems. This missing data can affect underwriting, delay claims processing, and limit other process automations. Shorter cycle times, faster claims turnaround, and better customer satisfaction can only be achieved with complete customer data. While there is a challenge of accessing “dark data” cost-effectively, it is essential for growth.

With emerging and maturing artificial intelligence and data analytics platforms, there is light at the end of the “dark data” tunnel. AI technology can access mass data volumes and use sophisticated systems to extract data from multipage documents and multi-format image types, perform entity recognitions, and filter information for further review. Advanced workflows can also scan the data for missing customer information and errors and provide additional efficiencies. AI and data analytics platforms can be incorporated into an existing system to create data feeds, visualizations, and pricing scenarios for the underwriting process. As they are customizable with scalable ingesting capabilities, AI and predictive analytical tools can operate in tandem with a general system upgrade.

Reaching into the hidden corners of data stores and accessing their valuable information brings “dark data” into the light and provides maximum value across the group insurance enterprise. With the right technology and a single-system integration, important information is processed and distributed throughout the organization allowing for streamlined operations, improved distribution and underwriting, and enhanced customer engagement. With the bright light of technology, the dark doesn’t have to be so scary anymore.

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