Cost-effectiveness, accessibility, and – most crucially – customer-centricity are the core ingredients at the heart of any effective data enrichment strategy. That was the message from Dan Cicchetti, director of client engagement UK&I at LexisNexis Risk Solutions, and Sandy Keith, MD of Apricot Insurance Services, at the 2023 BIBA conference.
Digging into the partnership between the firms, Keith noted that the strategic transformation reshaping Belfast-based Apricot has been led by the introduction of data enrichment and online trading. When he joined Apricot as MD, he said, it was clear that the brokerage had to start looking closer at its online trading model and its customers’ journeys – and how it could streamline both to the benefit of the business, its insurer partners, and its customers alike.
This led the Apricot team to LexisNexis Risk Solutions’ Broker Intelligence product, which it activated in January 2023 – a product that Cicchetti highlighted exists to help small-to-medium sized brokers price more effectively, cut operational costs and improve customer journeys.
“If you go back six or seven years, data enrichment was very much an insurer play,” he said. “It was something that brokers relied on their insurers doing. But that has changed a huge amount. I’d say that more than half of our client base now are brokers. And about 75% of our new clients coming in are brokers who are looking to get better rates from their insurer panels by introducing data enrichment but also by improving the experience their customers have in the process of buying insurance.”
From conversations across the market, he said, it’s clear that the insurance ecosystem is widely becoming more aware of the intrinsic value of data. Insurance brokers are becoming more familiar with data and many of them are utilizing similar data sets. However, it’s how they implement those datasets and attributes which makes all the difference in terms of their impact on cancellations, price optimization, and fraud mitigation.
In insurance, it’s all about those marginal gains that you can achieve and the knock-on impact these can have on profitability, he said. That’s why he believes there are significant opportunities for brokers to make sure that they are creating the right structures which will ultimately serve to the benefit of the customer by ensuring they receive a fairly priced premium. This in turn is leveling the playing field for small-to-medium-sized brokers, as it reduces the risk that these will end up picking up poor risks.
“Because, with so many brokers now using data, there is the risk that those not using it will get left behind,” he said. “Historically, data enrichment has been for brokers of scale and that’s what Broker Intelligence is trying to do, to make sure that it’s cost viable for everyone so that brokers can grow to whatever level they require and do that knowing the risk to the policyholders that they’re bringing on to their book.”
For Keith and his team at Apricot, keeping the customer front-of-mind while integrating this new solution has been essential. The customer is king, he said, and they have to be because insurance is ultimately a grudge purchase, and so the emphasis has to be on making the buying experience as pain-free as possible.
Since implementation, Broker Intelligence has offered Apricot “marked gains” in metrics including reduced cancellation rates, improved customer feedback and journeys, and increased profitability. A side effect of this has been the happiness of staff, he said, with this functionality eradicating more laborious and archaic processes from their day-to-day responsibilities.
“We have seen an improvement of around 30% in terms of cancellations which has been great,” he said. “That has also had a knock-on effect on our bad provision, so we’ve seen a reduction there as well. And we’ve also seen positive customer feedback which is really what this is all about.”
The feedback from LexisNexis Risk Solutions clients to date has been great to receive, Cicchetti said, but, for his team, this is very much an evolutionary piece of work. Currently, there are a half dozen datasets that sit within the Broker Intelligence service but as the company brings more products to the market, it’s going to want to make all available datasets accessible to its broker clients.
“This is not something that’s going to remain in its current form forever,” he said. “We’re going to constantly be listening to brokers and making those changes that support their growth and their requirements.”