Carriers are coming to recognize that one of the true resources that the insurance industry has is its data, said Jamie Bisker, global insurance industry leader, institute for business value, IBM Business Consulting Services Armonk, N.Y.-. Bisker referred to the findings of an IBM study called Insurance 20/20 that projects what the business/technology landscape will look like in 10 to 15 years. Many companies, such as State Farm, Allstate and Jefferson Pilot, ... are looking for better ways to engage the data and make their connections with customers more meaningful, he said. Bisker also identified geographic information systems GIS- as an under-appreciated technology that likely would see greater play in the near future. Building on Bisker s identification of data as a key area of innovation, Donald Light, a Palo Alto-based analyst with Celent Boston-, identified a new generation of data visualization tools, including link analysis representations hot/cold density maps and maps with rich, deep, real-time data layers as a new area of enabling technology. These are applications that can take the huge amount of data that insurance companies have - and which they are sorely challenged to make sense of - and give executives tools that can make it faster, more fun and easier to go into the data and discover patterns that are important across every insurance process, he said. According to Light, such tools could help in distribution through multiple channels, micro-segment pricing, underwriting guidelines and processes, claims, catastrophe management, fraud protection, and data management. Chuck Johnston, group director, insurance, Siebel Systems San Mateo, Calif.-, affirmed the importance of data while submitting that integration is the killer app. Johnston referred to the integration of both data and processes. Insurers realize, he explained, that processes have lots of pieces, and they re trying to bring them together using things such as Web services underneath. In contrast to data warehousing projects in the past, he told attendees, People are now saying, I ve got good data within my operational processes, and if I start to integrate them end to end, I no longer have to go through that large information-building process what I m focused on now is, How do I use analytics in my process to further my process? Source: nwc.bizintelligencepipeline.coma>

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