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The Connected Business of Insurance

Golf & Insurance: Guide to Scoring a Data Analytics Birdie

June 21, 2018

by Applied Communications
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Golf & InsuranceLast week, 156 of the world’s top golf talent competed in the 118th U.S. Open. Taking place in Southampton, N.Y. at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, the annual tournament is one of the four major golf events and is as stern of a test of golf as there is in the game.

Each year, viewers watching the U.S. Open on TV see an increasing number of stats and data on each of the world famous players. Scrolling along the bottom of the screen, networks broadcast stats on distance, accuracy, iron play and short game. It’s really quite fascinating how each facet of a player’s golf game can be digitally tracked and compared, then improved upon.

Even more amazing is that this one tournament holds just a small subset of all of the data that goes into the game of golf. Golf has millions of data points behind it. GOLFstats.com alone boasts over 2.1 million records (that is records per golfer) for men/ladies golf tournaments in the U.S., Canada and Europe. The record for Jack Nicklaus for example, takes into account EVERY single tournament he’s played, each swing from driving distance to short game – even his cash winnings.

Like golfers, independent agents and brokers have a vast amount of data to draw upon and analyze to improve their business game, both long and short. But how can you use all of this information to gain a deeper understanding of your business? Consider robust data analytics applications to transform data into visual insights so you can more efficiently understand how your business is playing “the game” and the strategies needed to improve.

Move Beyond Simple Reporting
I’ve heard many stories from agents about being able to see their data, but not being able to unlock it for insights. A basic report, created in Excel for example, is defined and static and only offers a point-in-time snapshot of one or more business metrics. In contrast, data analytics is more advanced in how it analyzes data and often delivers multiple levels of analysis via highly graphical, interactive dashboards. Because data analytics solutions are automated and utilize real-time information, users are empowered to make faster, more insightful decisions across many aspects of a business – without spending countless hours manually pulling reports.

5 Steps for Data Analytics Success
Becoming a data-powered business requires solid planning, resource allocation and effective change management. With a clear plan and the right tools in place, you can use your data to turn information into actionable insights that drive your business forward.

Here are 5 steps to better understand your game, improve your swing and get one step closer to a business performance “hole-in-one.”

  1. Define the business value.
    Start your data analytics project by determining what problem you are trying to solve or what goal you are trying to achieve.
  1. Create your data ecosystem.
    Because there are multiple sources for data, your agency needs to implement the technology and methodology to build a data architecture that is secure, fosters collaboration, and can easily scale as business demands grow. This is known as the data ecosystem. When it comes to data, always remember that garbage in, is garbage out. Creating a culture of data quality is critical in fully realizing a data ecosystem.
  1. Outline your insights.
    Define what key performance indicators your organization is trying to better understand, determine the level of frequency that you want your business reviewing the data, and consider if there are benchmarks that you would like to analyze your data against.
  1. Integrate decision workflows.
    Incorporate data analytics review and analysis in your decision making process. You can use it to design more effective work practices, drive accountability within your agency, improve transparency, and align agency resources through increased awareness of performance.  
  2. Manage adoption.
    Successful adoption requires employees to accept and trust the data analytics tools, understand how they work, and use them consistently.

Thrive in the Age of Data
Understanding your data gives you a competitive advantage into today’s digital market, as well as the opportunity to grow your business. While our handicaps may never be as good as the golf pros at the U.S. Open, we can at least analyze our performance data in many of the same ways.

For more insights on how to achieve data analytics success, download the Data Analytics: Turning Information into Insights White Paper.

Brian Wood, Vice President of Data Products Group for Applied, develops innovative and data-driven applications, tools and services for the insurance industry. Prior to this position, he co-founded EvoSure, which was acquired by Applied in Sept 2015. Brian spent 10 years with Marsh & McLennan as Senior Vice President of Strategy and Business Analysis where he developed global insurance distribution platforms. Brian began his career in insurance building the first company to bind insurance online, insuranceOrder.com (a Trilogy company) which was acquired by Marsh & McLennan in 2001.

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