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How Insurers Are Using Big Data to Generate Breakthrough Results

Posted on August 11, 2016 by Libbie Cedeno in Producer Selling Tips

vertafore coffee laptop big data analytics

Wake up. Grab coffee. Go for a walk. Drive to the office. Talk with your insureds. Reach out to new prospects. Go home. Have dinner. Watch the ball game. Repeat.

Does this sound familiar?

Humans are creatures of routine. There’s nothing wrong with that.

Routines give us control. Control gives us power.   

Do you know what else gives us power? Knowledge. And before you jump down my throat saying "thanks for the cliché", I want to talk with you about an entirely new way producers can acquire knowledge and how it’s shaking up everyone’s routine.

We know from last week’s blog roughly half of all insurance organizations (agencies and carriers) are embracing big data analytics, but many companies are still trying to figure out how to make sense out of the flood of information they now have access to.

It’s throwing off their routines.

To their credit, these organizations understand the value available to them when they make sure the right tools, right people, and right routines in place to interpret the data.

From improving customer experiences, to turning marketing art into marketing science, and even determining which products people will want before they know they want them, big data analytics is helping sales teams create some pretty amazing new routines.  

Let’s explore some of the fascinating ways sales teams are using big data analytics to change their routines and close more deals:

1. Fix Your Retention Problems

Before we dive into opportunities for individual producers, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at how some of the larger insurance organizations are already using big data analytics to switch up their routines.

MetLife utilizes the MongoDB Database system, a flexible tool for storing and manipulating large amounts of data, to create a 360-degree view of their buyer’s journey and the numerous sales touch points available to them. Their system analyzes potential touchpoints to help predict important forecasting data points like new business close rates and customer attrition rates. Their ability to interpret and forecast data isn’t a magical crystal ball capable of predicting the future, it’s a real tool that allows the company to think more strategically about their best practices and procedures for engaging with prospects and insureds.  

Let’s say you want to focus on retention. With the right tools in place, it’s possible to take a look at your data and determine that majority of the business you’re losing occurs when a customer is under 35 years-old, has less than 2 policies, and has not responded to any marketing emails in the last 6 months. With this type of visibility you could put a new procedure in place to have make sure accounts approaching these qualifications are automatically flagged so you or a member of your team is notified to reach out by phone for a personal conversation with the insured in an effort to save the account.

The examples are endless, but the idea remains the same. Big data analytics create visibility, allowing teams to align around common goals. Longer-term, more strategic planning leads to new innovation, so long as you have the right tools in place.

2. Acquire New Customers Smarter, Not Harder

For those more focused on new business, you already know you need to step up your sales and marketing efforts (year after year) in order to compete with an increasingly cluttered market and new offerings from insurtech companies.

While all serious insurers have been using big data to make underwriting decisions, Progressive Insurance is leading the way in how they target their sales and marketing messaging to precisely defined targets.

Head of media for Progressive Andrew Quigg stated in an article with that as a result of big data analytics, Progressive was “finally able to ask and answer questions that we had always wanted to investigate.” He also noted utilizing big data analytics will "allow us to eventually gain a competitive advantage by using data to make smarter, more efficient advertising buys."

This is a real-world example of big data analytics having a serious impact on Progressive's media buying routines and in turn, allowing them to think strategically to make informed decisions.

While you might not be able to build your own off-site, high security data center called “the bunker” like Progressive did, I can assure you there are already new analytics tools available created to have an immediate impact on your business.

vertafore executive dashboard big data analytics

3. Insurance Quote Link Tracking

Finally, when creating proposals for commercial insurance, the process often feels like a proposal gets sent into a black hole from which it may never return.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have visibility into whether or not your potential client is viewing your quote?

Just like the insurance industry, many other industries (higher-ed, government, medical, etc.) require some sort of documentation and formal bid to win business. This often comes in the form of an RFP (request for proposal). A friend of mine, who manages marketing for a higher-ed software company, empowered his sales people by creating a method for them to include links into their RFP’s that are trackable.

In short, if a buyer is looking at the RFP and clicks on a link for more information, to watch a video, or takes any other action, that click is tracked and an alert is sent to the sales person’s personal messaging channel on Slack (the team’s internal messaging system). Don’t worry, this tip still works if you don’t use Slack, so keep reading.

The sales person knows the RFP is being viewed and can take the appropriate action. Not only can they see if a prospect is clicking links, but they can see what links are NOT being clicked, and identify trends amongst prospects who never ended up turning into customers.

If you’d like to set this quote tracking and alert system up yourself, here are a few resources to help you out:

-   Track your links with Google Analytics. Here are some instructions from Google on how to set up those tracking parameters.

-   Use a free Zapier account to get the Google Analytics real time data (data about buyers clicking your links) into a Google Sheet.

-   Then have that information from Google Sheets pass, via your free Zapier account, over to your Slack channel (or other communication channels).

If the above resources are a little over your head, not to worry, just pass them along to your marketing or sales operations managers and they should be able to help get you set up quickly and easily.

This is How You’re Going to Succeed With Big Data Analytics

The very first thing you should do is grab a copy of our free e-book Moving your business forward with Data Analytics: Strategies and solutions to help companies of all sizes derive big value from big data.

The e-book is about 25 pages, it’s interactive, and no matter where you’re at with analytics, it’s focused on providing you with an answer to the million dollar question: How can I make big data analytics work for me? 

Download the eBook

And if you still don’t believe me about the whole idea of routines, maybe this will change your mind.

Libbie Cedeno

Ms. Cedeno is a member of the Small Agency sales team at Vertafore arming independent insurance agents with the most complete and adaptable technology in the market. Libbie has 12 years of experience in a variety of different roles for prominent insurance companies like Allstate, Liberty Mutual, and Travelers. This experience makes her uniquely qualified to provide her customers with expert advice about how they leverage technology to accomplish their business goals.


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