Erica Mordue: How Big Data Is Transforming Compliance across the Insurance Sector

Erica Mordue is a Key Account Manager at Accuity, specialising in the insurance sector. We spoke to her about how the insurance sector can make the most of big data and use automation to gain a competitive edge.

As an Associate of the Chartered Insurance Institute and having worked as an underwriter and broker, what led you to your new role at Accuity?

As far as I see it, the fundamental purpose of insurance is to reduce uncertainty and allow activities to be conducted with confidence. Accuity does the same with its portfolio of solutions that help the insurance industry safely conduct business with the knowledge they are able to detect financial crime, comply with international sanctions law, and stand up to regulator scrutiny– while simultaneously improving the customer experience.

I was also keen to be at the forefront of the insurance sector’s transformation using big data, digital technology, and artificial intelligence techniques (AI). At the moment, the industry is very focused on what AI can do, and it excites me that Accuity is on the same path – exploring the enormous potential it can bring to financial crime screening.

We’ve already seen the start of significant changes to the insurance sector. What will the next few years bring?

There is a huge, ongoing transformation and I think, in 5 years or so, the industry will look very different. So much is changing, from the way data is gathered and used, to the way in which customers access insurance services.

The entire ecosystem will have to adapt. For example, organisations involved with insurance often operate in siloes, simply because of the global and sectoral-specific nature of the insurance sector. Underwriting tends to happen in isolation from sales, and data isn’t routinely shared across the business.

We’ve seen similar changes in digital technology across the entire financial services sector. Accuity has been at the forefront of these changes, learning and adapting from them in order to evolve our data and tools in the areas of payments, KYC, and financial crime screening. Our solutions have helped clients navigate the radical transformation and digitisation of the industry, enabling them to deploy business-wide systems, whilst allowing for nuances in regional process.

What impact is big data having on the insurance sector?

Since the industry first started, insurance has always been about data. The more insurers know about the risks they are being asked to insure against, the easier it is for them to set a price and level of service.
The firms that gain a real competitive edge in the next few years will be those that find efficient and effective ways to collect, clean, filter and analyse huge amounts of data, and use it to meet the rapidly changing preferences of customers – as well as stringent compliance requirements.

If you could give one piece of advice to insurers on the transformation journey, what would it be?

Always put the customer first. For all the talk about big data and how it’s transforming insurance, this is really about people. Customers matter, arguably even more so in a digital world. The big data revolution won’t transform the insurance sector unless customers are happy to go on the journey with you – and in practical terms that means that the customer service is always personalised and excellent, and that trust isn’t undermined.

Consumers have so much choice these days, and cost comparison platforms actively encourage shopping around. Customers make a decision and then expect it to happen. Even the briefest of delays could send them somewhere else in a matter of seconds. That means that compliance checks, from establishing the customer’s identity and risk profile to assessing any sanctions risk, has to be done at top speed – without compromising on quality, which could have implications for reputation.

Regulators have more power, and policyholders more rights, than before. Insurers have to tread the line between protecting policyholders and protecting themselves.

Despite this, sometimes compliance is only viewed in terms of the cost to the business, but that simply isn’t the case. Get compliance right and you can open up the possibility of real commercial gains.

What are you most looking forward to in the coming months?

It’s exciting to be working in partnership with the insurance sector to make sense of big data and what it can do for its customers. Digital tools and technology bring so much potential, but added value isn’t guaranteed – I’m looking forward to finding the best way forward, together.

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