These are the days of big data and thus more data means better risk management and greater sales levels, right? Not always. In fact, one of the nightmares of managing large data sets is working out how to keep that data – relevant. If you don’t keep an eye on the mountains of data you collect it can get seriously out of control and your insurance business can find itself drowning in the misleading and the irrelevant.
How’s Your Data Management Plan?
In our experience many insurers and indeed many businesses of all natures; don’t plan to manage their data. They normally have a pretty good data collection plan and some businesses have a pretty good analytics plan too but very few pay the necessary attention as to when to ditch data that no longer brings value.
It Begins With a Catalogue
You can’t manage your data properly if you don’t know exactly what data you are collecting and for what purposes you are collecting that data. Your in house data management team may be able to deliver this data catalogue themselves; in some cases they may be too busy with other work to do so and you might need to look to a consultancy to develop the catalogue on their behalf.
You Can then Make Meaningful Management Decisions
Once you know what data you are collecting and why you are collecting it; you can begin to make meaningful decisions about the usefulness of that data. Do you really need customer’s addresses from the 1950s? If so, why? And what should happen to that data when it’s no longer useful to your marketing team, for example?
The more questions you can resolve about data management the better because there is good news; most data management can be automated once you’ve resolved what should be happening to data once it’s past its useful life.
Put Someone in Charge of Data Maintenance
If you want a job done properly; it needs to be done by a human being with actual responsibility and accountability for that job. Once you’ve sorted out your initial data management issues and got your first spring clean underway – you need to make sure that your data stays clean. That means putting someone in charge of data maintenance; it’s their job to keep the plan updated, it’s their job to examine new data sources and where they fit into the plan, it’s their job to liaise with other departments to see where this data can be used and it’s their job to get rid of that data, in line with the law, once it’s no longer useful.