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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries
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London insurers ‘lagging on big data’

The London insurance market is in danger of lagging behind global competitors by failing to collaborate in its use of big data, insurance software business Xuber has warned.


25 JUNE 2014 | BY JUDITH UGWUMADU

In the first chapter of its new report published today, Mind the gap: the devil is in the detail, the firm said the London market needed to work collectively to aggregate and analyse the wealth of data held by brokers and carriers. Xuber said the insurance industry was built on a significant amount of data, but has still not yet unlocked its real value.

Richard Clark, Xuber head of business development, said: ‘There is deep sense of pride rooted within the London market; its idiosyncrasies provide it with a strong footing within a rapidly changing global market.

‘Having said that, the market faces several challenges over the coming years if it is to maintain its stronghold – and one of these is the need to utilise its data.

‘The London market has so far failed to collaborate in its attempts to leverage data. A market or company’s use of big data provides it with a point of differentiation from its competitors.’

Clark said it was no longer a case of it being a value added service, but rather integral to survival – a ‘Darwinian challenge’ with those left behind unlikely to survive.

The report covers a number of areas including, the power of data and whether individual firms lose their competitive edge by sharing data, and the ownership of data.

The report also considered the importance of maintaining data integrity throughout the migration process and also discusses how the London market should approach big data to ensure it is sourcing elements of real value; what tools are available to sift through this data.

Big data was also a matter for debate at Xuber’s recent Mind the gap roundtable, at which senior figures from the local market discussed London’s role as either a leader or follower in this area.

Ian Summers at insurance brokerage firm Qualitas echoed Clark’s thoughts, asking why the industry was not sharing data, and reminded the group that big brokers are already using big data to stay ahead of the pack.