Automation is high on the corporate agenda as organisations seek ways to reduce costs and improve operations in response to inflation and the global skills shortage. One organisation already seeing the benefits of automating customer-facing business processes is the reinsurance firm Swiss Re. They have adopted analytics automation, which is delivering business benefits to both the Zurich-headquartered business and its insurance industry clients. Tableau-powered Magnum Analytics automates the data collection and analysis for this world-leading reinsurance firm.
Insurance underwriting – the process of assessing the risk for an insurer to take on an applicant and then offer them a policy – involves a high level of data capture and analysis. Health and life insurance, for example, requires the capture of the applicant’s age, date of birth, height, weight, occupation, and medical condition. “Humans are complex, and that impacts the risk of the policy,” says Ueli Konrad, Product Manager, Magnum Data Insights at Swiss Re. Magnum Data Insights is an analytics component that is central to the Magnum reinsurance product that Swiss Re provides as a white-label technology service to customers in mainstream insurance and banking. Swiss Re founded in 1863 in Zurich, Switzerland, today employs 14,000 around the world and is one of the most important reinsurance providers to the financial services sector.
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The Impact of Automation
Magnum Data Insights provides users of the Swiss Re Magnum service with the ability to automate the capture and analytics of the risk assessment for potential policyholders. “This makes life and health underwriting cheaper, as less effort is spent on manual underwriting, so you need fewer people to look at the underwriting,” Konrad says.
It also benefits the insurance customer as if they can lower their costs, ultimately they can offer lower premiums. Konrad also adds that automation improves the customer journey, as applicants make decisions more quickly and can then buy the policy: “When there is full manual underwriting and forms, decision making can take two to three weeks, and this is an unsatisfying experience, and the applicant may jump to a competitor”.
Magnum has over 30,000 rules for making risk assessments and decisions. Tableau-powered Magnum Analytics automates the data collection and analysis for Swiss Re, leading to consistent and unbiased decision-making. As Konrad explains, insurance carriers using the Magnum tool are able to tailor the automation to suit their business requirements: “Each decision is a risk approach for the carrier, and they are able to steer the decision-making if they want to be more aggressive in the market, for example”.After all, “Magnum Analytics is a component of Magnum, and its goal is to help our clients gain insight from their own data and then make data-driven decisions to optimise their business.”
Data is captured in a very structured way, which makes it easier to do analytics. Marketing and product managers are able to see the types of products that applicants are interested in from the data, allowing them to engage in targeted cross-selling and upselling. In addition to improving marketing, automation is enabling Magnum Analytics users to improve business efficiency: “Increased automation helps the carriers to save costs in areas like requesting medical evidence. Magnum Analytics can review if this request is necessary”, Konrad notes.
Behavioural experts have also used Magnum Analytics data to refine the data collection questions to improve business processes. “We can identify trends and patterns, and for the underwriters, this enables them to see if there is a change, such as rising levels of asthma or high blood pressure. The automation rules can then be tweaked. You get a really in-depth view of your applicants.” This analytical understanding benefits CEOs and chief underwriters who gain a deep understanding of their organisation and its risk levels.
Moving to Tableau
Swiss Re adopted Tableau for the Magnum platform to replace legacy homegrown data and analytics technology. The previous tech had an outdated user interface (UI), was not intuitive and didn’t encourage users to jump in and play with the data, it was frightening people off, and the interactivity was limited. Some reports took up to three minutes to load. For Swiss Re, Tableau is now providing “the whole rendering, visualisation, and user interface on a Microsoft Azure back end. The access and identity management capabilities were important for us as we are using Tableau Server in a container so we can use Tableau on a Kubernetes cluster to deploy globally.”
Why Tableau? “We went for Tableau as it has the best look and feel in the market. Visualisation is very important and Tableau has a long-standing history in BI and data visualisation. They are also not trying to do everything, but instead, focus on their core business” Konrad adds.
This is delivering business benefits to Swiss Re. There is a wide variety of dashboards ‘out of the box’ to meet our Magnum client’s needs, but there is also the opportunity to build your own reports. As Konrad says “The UI is modern, interactive, and intuitive, so you can click on elements to filter information, or you can drill down into details depending on your needs.”
Furthermore, Swiss Re’s internal Tableau experts have used the technology to develop minimum viable products (MVP) of potential dashboards and shared these across the organisation and with clients to begin the process of developing new Magnum Analytics offerings. Looking ahead, Swiss Re believes there is yet more insight and automation they can extract from Tableau.
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