How Insurers Can Use Data to Drive Digital Transformation

October 5, 2021

We are waist-deep in the information age. The ability to collect, ingest, process, and simply access data from many different resources is critical to maintaining a competitive edge in an increasingly competitive market. Readily accessible data benefits companies by accelerating their speed to process and act upon the information obtained at that time.

For most companies, especially insurers, collecting vast amounts of data makes it hard to synthesize and make sense of it all. Plus, major changes to business operations caused by the pandemic only accelerated the demand for processing and ingesting information.

Two years ago, we could take our time transitioning to more data-driven solutions, but the pandemic has forced companies to reconsider their immediate priorities. Now insurers must choose: stay stagnant and risk losing market share or invest in a digital transformation.

Navigating data and legacy systems

At the very least, 2020 and 2021 exposed how hard it is to extract information from legacy systems. What many insurance companies don’t realize is that their current systems are not structured for a data-driven future. Legacy systems prevent easy access to accurate data and businesses need modern infrastructure to keep up.

In a rapidly changing post-pandemic world, modern architecture is necessary for companies to innovate, compete, and adapt quickly to change.

At the same time, companies must prioritize finding data architecture that enables them to best serve their customers, retain talent, and grow their business.

Four pillars of digital transformation

Data Infrastructure

To aggregate all the seemingly unrelated pieces of data together, you need modern data infrastructure with a secure data pipeline so data can move accurately and efficiently. The faster you deliver data, the faster you gather insights, launch updates, act on those insights, and report on the current state of business.

Data Pipeline

Data pipelines are the arteries of any modern data infrastructure, helping data flow from point A to point B. Insurers collect a wealth of data and strategic data pipelines can cut costs, automate systems, and streamline processes for both employees and customers.

For example, underwriters need the information to do their job well and typically gather from several sources, especially for complex risks. Surfacing and exposing more data at key moments can aid a process that will always require a human in the loop.

Underwriters maximize the value of each risk, and some have more success than others. Making data more accessible and consumable across underwriters increases the ability to share the information which adds value across the entire underwriting community.

Data Governance

None of the above is possible without a governance platform that establishes policies, procedures, and operational standards. When organizations fail to care for the quality of inputs and subsequently fail to account for and manage end-user needs, it often results in vast quantities of dark and redundant data. How data is produced and stored, as well as engineering tools to visualize and consume, ensures that the entire data system is undergirded by robust governance, security, and accountability.

When aiming to use data collected about customers for analytics purposes, maintaining the ability to report on what data you have and the purposes for which you are using it at the individual person level is critical to staying in line with GDPR, CCPA, or any forthcoming privacy regulations. Strong data governance and data traceability programs are required to do this well.

Additionally, much is being made of third-party data in insurance. Data vendors claim to have some information about customers or prospects that you don’t have and understanding your own data may shed light on a different reality. You likely have the best data on your customers and customer preference, you just need to figure out how to use that data.

Without data experts, your digital transformation efforts will fall short. You need people who can build a connected system and move information to the front lines securely and without distortion.

It is and always will be about the people…expertise matters

We’ve discussed the hardware, software, pipelines, and things happening on the back end. But what about the front end? This arguably is the most crucial part. You need data experts on board to tell the story of your business and bring your data to life.

Nowadays, it is imperative to have data analysts and engineers sitting at the table when executives look at a dashboard and ask, “what conclusions can I draw from this?” or “where are we going to be in six months? one year? two years? five years?” The analyst, or at least a representative of the analytical organization within your company, should be in the room guiding the conversation and bringing your data story to life.

Today’s business decisions are less reliant on gut instinct and more reliant on patterns of information. Data experts are there to connect the dots and tell the data story so leaders can make informed decisions.


We specialize in digital transformations and recognize this process can be overwhelming. We help our clients think about their systems today, what their systems need to do in the future and present a roadmap for how and why they need to get there.

We identify custom data strategies that bring their business story to life. And we’d love to help tell your story and bring life to your data.

Connect with our Insurance Industry Account Director How the Insurance Industry is Preparing for 2021

Brittany Kohman

Business Analyst