Mango at Insurance Data Science Conference

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Ruth Thomson, Strategic Innovation & Strategic Advice

On Monday, I am very much looking forward to joining the panel discussion at the Insurance Data Science Conference at the Cass Business School alongside Kristen Dardia from Verisk Analytics and Hadrien Dykiel from R Studio.

If you’re reading this on the 16th July, and currently at the conference after seeing me make some very intelligent comments on the panel, do come and say hello at our stand or feel free to tweet us @mangothecat using #mangosolutions.

Returning to the current day, in preparation for the conference I have been enjoying reminding myself of the breadth of interesting work Mango Solutions has been doing to help the leading insurance companies harness the power of advanced analytics whilst also reviewing the current opportunities for advanced analytics and some of the challenges in the use of data science in the insurance industry.

With only 30 minutes available for the panel discussion, there is no possibility that I will ever be able to share at least a fraction of the insight I have been gathering and I hate a wasted opportunity so here is a short blog covering a couple of emerging themes, with input from the other companies represented on the panel, Verisk Analytics and R Studio.

Breaking Down The Silos

I can imagine that some actuaries might look at the hype around advanced analytics and data science and be quite amused that the rest of the world has finally recognised what actuarial science has known since the 17th century. The conference programme is a testament to the breadth and depth of advanced analytics being used across the industry.

There are of course, still exciting developments and opportunities to be made in actuarial science and now R has been added to the 2019 actuarial exam this will ensure that the new generation will formalise the skills they need to continue to evolve within the profession.

However, it fascinates me that, within a business, one area can be so advanced in their use of analytics whilst other areas of the business could still be making subjective decisions and working from excel spreadsheets.

Hadrien Dykiel from RStudio, summarised an opportunity that we see for our customers at Mango Solutions to use data science and advanced analytics for not just insurance but the business of insurance.

“Adopting new and emerging technologies can help organizations to not only take advantage of new opportunities, but also increase the efficiency of day-to-day operations”

We are finding there are significant gains to be made in both increasing revenue and reducing costs across our customer’s businesses from customer service to HR.

People and Culture

If you have ever worked with me, you’ll know I am endlessly fascinated and will often spend too much time exploring applications of data science, projects such as one using machine learning to improve flood risk assessment.

However, I am also frustrated to see how, in some cases the potential of these applications and use cases is not being fully realised and this is often due to the culture and readiness of the people within the business to embrace and finally adopt them.

Michael Regier, Lead Data Scientist at Verisk Analytics touches on this

“It comes down to building trusting relationships across business units so that there is more ease in accessing both the technology and data required.”

It is becoming clear to me, and many of our customers, how important is it for data scientists and analysts to have strong communication, influencing and collaboration skills to prevent their projects getting stuck or at worst ignored by the business users.

We have an Education Practice Lead at Mango Solutions who focuses not on just the core analytic skills but also the communication skills required to be successful.

At an enterprise level, we are working with financial service companies to help build career frameworks, capability assessments and upskilling programmes for data scientists.

It’s not just individual data scientists and analysts having the skills they need. In conversation with our insurance and financial services customers and other sectors, we are seeing the growing awareness of the need to build data-driven cultures from the very top of the business. We have been delivering a number of projects working at board and executive levels, to help build the cultures where advanced analytics can thrive.

I am very much looking forward to discussing some of these and more on the panel on Monday. If you are at the conference, come and say hello. If you can’t be there, we’d still love to hear about the opportunities and challenges you have in your business and explore how our consultants could help.

If you’d like to find out more, please get in touch.

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