Blog: Data science and digital partnerships

sharon-bishop

By Sharon Bishop, of Close Brothers Premium Finance, on building personal lines broking success.

An Insurance Age survey earlier this year, confirmed that commercial and personal lines brokers have very different approaches to technology. Commercial brokers believe in building trusted personal relationships with their clients. However, larger personal lines brokers believe that embracing digital is the key to growth and success. 

Data is the driver of the digital world. Brokers using data to better understand customer behaviour to establish a clear view of their risk profile, will win competitive advantage. This data-driven advantage delivers a more stable and profitable business model for the broker and their insurer partners. Furthermore, it allows brokers to individualise service and sales to each customer.

Quote
Today, personal lines brokers want customer data at the point of quote, before taking on a risk. Traditionally, premium finance providers like Close Brothers Premium Finance (CBPF) usually provide data to brokers at the back end of the buying process to arrange the finance, but CBPF now supports brokers at the front end of the quote.

We see increased demand for this data science expertise from our larger broking partners. They understand the value data can bring to their business, but often don’t have in-house knowledge to do it themselves.

Our partnerships also enable us to help up-skill broking partners’ in-house teams to use data science tools like machine learning – we don’t see these projects as just transferring models. It’s about making sure broker teams fully understand the techniques we use and can replicate this themselves in the future.

Brightside
Earlier this year, CBPF and Brightside worked on a data-driven solution that predicted, at quotation stage, the likelihood that a customer would create bad debt. Analysis of existing data showed that customers who were less likely to create bad debt via monthly instalments also had higher retention and lower cancellation rates. Brightside wanted to find a way to identify these customers at the quote stage and encourage them to become Brightside customers.

This insight means Brightside can provide insurer partners with a more stable and profitable business, and identify the ‘at risk’ customers at an early stage, and we and Brightside were delighted when our initiative won an industry data analytics award.

CBPF also worked with broker iGO4 based on their unique customer insight to further enrich the information provided to insurers to improve their point of quote.

All businesses supplying services to brokers need to develop new propositions that are attuned to the technology revolution. If brokers don’t have the financial power to invest themselves, they can turn to suppliers.

Sharon Bishop is CEO of Close Brothers Premium Finance

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