Analyst Report

Mastering Location Data: Close But Not Quite There

Pricing home and automobile insurance policies depends on a detailed understanding of the property being insured. Currently, though, a lack of nuanced understanding of location is causing insurers to gauge risk imprecisely—sometimes to a dramatic degree. At the same time, IT departments are frustrated with trying to manage growing mounds of data in order to react quickly to their organizations’ needs. Taken together, there’s a risk management gap confounding insurers and the organizations that are their customers. This is where location master data management emerges.

An emerging sentiment is that the insurance industry needs a new, all-encompassing approach to location master data management (MDM), the method of defining and managing critical data to create a single point of reference, to address the situation. This approach requires three elements to be in place: 1) the location data be hyper-accurate, which means going beyond basic postal address information and using geo-coordinates and other data for greater precision; 2) that there is a unique and consistent identifier for each property; and 3) the ability to link other data sources to the property identifier exists.

“Carriers have been slow to realize that they need more than just improved data. They need a new and better way to think about location data,” says Michael Reilly, a managing director in Accenture’s Insurance Practice. “They really need to consider it as a data fabric with the ability to layer different data sets on top of an overall framework.”

Such an approach can provide profound advantages to both the business and IT sides of insurance companies, especially given that other technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and the internet of things (IoT), can buttress what location MDM does and help it be even more effective. This report will explore those advantages and explain why, thus far, they have been elusive for insurers.

Highlights

  • Poor location data results in billions of dollars of inaccurate and underpriced insurance policies
  • The insurance industry needs a new, all-encompassing approach to location master data management (MDM)
  • Improved location data will allow IT departments to create better algorithms and operate more efficiently
Harvard Business Review Mastering Location Data