Poor data integration is limiting the effectiveness of insurance firms

Technology is critical for strengthening insurance underwriting but poor data integration is limiting its effectiveness, a new report by Accenture has claimed.

The advisory firm’s survey of commercial underwriters in the US found that 93% perceived investment in insurance technology and systems as the best way to improve underwriting quality – two-thirds added that it was already making a significant difference.

However, more than half claim it has also increased their workload and 81% say that is due to a lack of data integration.

“There is no question that technology has brought a step change in the quality of insurance underwriting in recent years,” said John Mulhall, Accenture management consulting lead in North America. “But the full benefits of technology investments in terms of productivity and efficiency cannot be achieved without broader data and process integration across the organisation.”

The survey also asked what measures underwriters will invest in over the next three years to improve effectiveness. The respondents said they would prioritise process automation (57%), predictive analytics for risk evaluation and pricing (51%) and external data to evaluate risk (51%).

“Underwriters must often re-enter data to and from multiple systems and must rely on an employee base that is subject to turnover. Automated underwriting systems offer the promise of better information and greater efficiency through the reduction of re-working and errors,” said Michael Reilly, managing director in Accenture Property and Casualty Insurance Services.