Implementing a data-driven claims process has been on insurance companies’ agenda for some time now. The full implementation will take some time, but as data is a numbers game, the more you have, the more you can do. We recommend that every insurer start collecting structured data as soon as possible.

This post outlines the three sources of data you should start looking into. Maybe you can find ways to start collecting some data points right away.

New to data and all of these various definitions? Get a crash course in structured and unstructured insurance data before continuing to read this blog post.

1. Internal data

This is the data that lies right under your nose; the knowledge in your claims adjusters’ heads, the medical records in your system, medical advisor assessments, and the decisions you deliver to your customers.

There is a lot of valuable data to collect right in the insurance companies’ operations. But as the process often combines various systems and manual steps where no or little data is usually collected. So, how can one start extracting internal data? Here are four steps:

1. Claims mapping

What interactions do customers have with you, and what information is being processed during a claims assessment? Map out the process and make a long list of all potential data points.

2. Data prioritization

The next step is to organize and prioritize all the data points on what should be collected.

3. Data extractions

Now it’s time to find automated and structured ways to collect the data. Depending on where you are in your digitization process, you might need to rethink some of your techniques.

Before you start extracting and storing data, make sure you do it in a compliant way and, for example, separate personal information.

4. Ongoing data capturing

The last step is to set up an ongoing data capturing process to help the system connect the dots to find the data points, even if the sources vary.

2. External data

McKinsey predicts an explosion of data from smart devices as more and more of our devices become connected. For A&H claims, smartwatches and medical devices that track personal health signals will become more important for risk assessment and claims handling. You, as an insurer, should keep your eyes open for these as they can help you understand your customers in entirely new ways.

Other types of external data sources can enrich your data, such as hospitals, police stations, and other governments with valuable data.

3. Shared data

One thing insurers need to rethink is how they view data ownership. As the amount of data correlates with value and accuracy, insurers must be open to a win-win approach. Your partners and competitors will benefit by sharing data, but so will you, your customers, and the industry. A more transparent process is also what the EU open insurance initiative covers concerning sharing insurance-related data via APIs.

Data aggregation and benchmarking across the industry create greater consistency and accuracy in claims assessment by combining rich data with insights from all claims. Again, this would increase efficiency, decrease costs – and improve customer engagement.