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Nathan Golia
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7 Opinions on Big Data: Defining It, Using It, Storing It and More

At the recent insurance industry trade shows, "big data" was the talk of the floor. Here are some thoughts from the community on challenges and applications of it.

As Insurance & Technology collected preview quotes from insurance industry players before the recent ACORD/LOMA and IASA trade shows, much of the anticipation was around "big data." The broad, vague term means different things to different people, though, and like many buzzwords suffers a bit from overexposure. But most people see the potential of advanced data and analytics to make insurance operations more efficient and effective. So here are some of the insights I've heard over the past few weeks, at trade shows, in other interviews, or in webcasts and published reports — from all types of industry players, on some of the big topics in big data.

By adding video and pictures, it makes what used to be big data into gigantic data. How do you make it structured enough to find that needle in the haystack?

Peter Marotta, enterprise data administrator, Verisk Analytics

It's estimated that there's a 66% probability that at least one of the cars involved in an accident with a lawsuit involved has an event data recorder. We have the ability to import the data from that into a claim file. It would turn every adjuster into a sort of CSI investigator.

Greg Horn, VP of Industry Relations for Mitchell International

The property space is troubled primarily due to weather, but there are a lot of things underlying the weather issue that make it difficult to write. Is it underinsured — a lot of times homeowners do upgrades on their home, extensions or models or second stories, and they don't always call their insurance carrier. Are there signs of neglect? We take a tremendous amount of data to build a predictive model of what is happening at the home.

Dax Craig, CEO, Valen Technologies

There's something here in this new economy of taking data and monetizing it. There's a convergence between our physical locations and context — like people going somewhere and checking in, or scanning products in a stores. It offers an opportunity to talk to them right there while it's relevant. How do we use this rich data and go thru this hierarchy of customers buying?

Mike Slattery, VP, Telematics at AAA

Relatively few insurers capture, persist, and analyze Big Data within their computing environment today, but those that do typically leverage traditional computing, storage, database and analytics. Very few insurers have invested in specialized Big Data infrastructure, but a significant minority (15-30%) is planning to do so within the next 12 months.

Novarica, Analytics and Big Data at Insurers: Current State and Expectations report

Sometimes it's not 'is it more data,' it's 'is it the right data.' When you develop a model, you're going to find 15 to 20 things, capture what you need to get and not be so data intensive after that.

Gary Ciardiello, principal, Ernst & Young

Big data has a central role to play in developing brand resilience at a time when social media has emerged as a major brand battleground. Insurers can harness big data to sense negative disruptions in social networks and respond accordingly..

Deloitte, Insurance Tech Trends 2012: Elevate IT for digital business report

Nathan Golia is senior editor of Insurance & Technology. He joined the publication in 2010 as associate editor and covers all aspects of the nexus between insurance and information technology, including mobility, distribution, core systems, customer interaction, and risk ... View Full Bio

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