CEO Challenges in a Data-driven Era

An ongoing challenge for many industries is the high volume of data received, and the insurance market is no exception. Thousands of spreadsheets are being presented each month, containing information on premiums written, premiums paid, and claims made. Each spreadsheet can contain thousands of rows of data with multiple columns, so a single document could contain millions of individual cells of data. CEOs across the insurance industry are therefore faced with the big challenge of managing and handling vast amounts of information.

In 2010, my brother Richard and I launched VIPR to develop software solutions for the insurance industry, having recognised a massive opportunity to help insurers get to grips with their data management problems. At that time the industry was reliant on age-old manual processes and it was clear that manually checking and organising mass data was becoming virtually impossible. The industry was standing still and needed to embrace the digital revolution in order to speed up processes, standardise and improve the accuracy of data, as well as produce reports for regulations that were on the horizon.

Whilst you would think the industry would welcome new technological solutions with open arms, this was easier said than done. Our challenge was trying to get CEOs who had used the same processes for decades to agree to change, and invest in new technology – not an easy task. However, the value of our of products and the benefits they could bring was easy to understand, and although it took time, they are now widely used by industry. This includes our best-selling data management software, Intrali. It is one of the most extensive self-administered bordereaux management solutions in the London Market and is currently used by over 30 clients.

A few years ago The London Market Group (LMG), released its London Matters report which highlighted challenges within the industry, particularly its diminishing share with emerging markets. In response to the report and in order to improve business with London, the London Market Group has been on a mission to make London an easier place to do business with. This places a huge emphasis on modernisation and new technology to improve the way business is processed in London. Although this spurred the industry to embrace technology, the market is still slow to change. More CEOs need to realise the potential and pick up pace. Costly IT failures in the past cannot be allowed to stifle future innovation and should not be used as an excuse for inertia.

Much of our success has been down to recommendations from clients but also the fact that our business model is centred around them. They are what drive our innovation and opportunities for product development. This is what makes us disruptive in the industry.  Although we offer ‘out of the box’ solutions, our software systems are tailored for each client based on their needs. We listen to them and forge strong relationships from the very first meeting. We get to know what they do, their processes, their struggles and build solutions based around this information. For us the customer is number one.

Innovation can come from collaboration and should be considered by CEOs as an advantage to get ahead of the competition. For example, we recently launched an industry-first solution, in partnership with ACORD Solutions Group, Inc (ASG). ASG provides full scale automation services and solutions for the global insurance industry. Together we launched an automated ‘US to London’ data exchange between global Managing General Agents and London carriers, which enables straight-through processing of bordereaux data.

In an age of modernisation in the insurance industry, much of the market is moving away from manual practices and embracing the benefits of standards-driven automation. However, until now, there have been no major advances in straight-through bordereaux processing between the US and London markets. This initiative is a major step forward for the market which will hugely benefit the global industry.

As data accelerates, more products and solutions are being brought to the market, which means more competition. It may be a challenge but we see this as an advantage. We analyse the market and create products that are the very best and are tailored for what our customers need in order to thrive. Unfortunately the IT industry is littered with products that often do not achieve what they promise and are simply just not fit for purpose. Our products are designed to make the complicated simple, allowing the industry to effectively improve processes and understand their business better.

As new technology innovations come to the market to deal with data, new trends will become apparent in the insurance industry – it’s happening and will continue to do so. CEOs shouldn’t avoid the inevitable otherwise there is a good chance of failure. To survive, see innovations as catalysts, adopt new technology and change in order to spur growth and create faster processes, better business practices and increase revenue. If you don’t do it then your competitor will gain the edge they need to get ahead.  Ensure your business strategy is looking forward rather than focusing on the ‘here and now’ and plan accordingly before new innovations take over and you miss out in the blink of an eye.

About the Author

Bob started his career in the insurance market working as a Lloyd’s broker for over 20 years, including 15 years with Marsh. He has also launched and built several successful companies including, in conjunction with his brother, the first personal finance comparison site to launch in the UK – Currently he looks after the overall strategy for VIPR ensuring the team implement it successfully. He also oversee sales and spend time visiting both existing and potential clients as well as promoting VIPR at industry events across the world.

About the Company 

VIPR delivers a modern, comprehensive suite of dedicated software solutions – providing end-to-end management for the insurance market. Its IT solutions are sophisticated but easy to use, designed to make the complicated simple.

Because VIPR focuses entirely on delegated authority business, working with VIPR means you will be working with experts that navigate the insurance industry like no other. Service is central to its ethos; providing the continued support our clients rely on us for is critical.