January 31, 2017

Case study

Managing data in a risky world

Effective risk management is beneficial to both the insured and the insurer; it makes the workplace safer and reduces downtime which in turn reduces claims and can drive down payouts, premiums and paperwork. It is also a key facet of compliance, and as such is central to insurers’ businesses.

However, many insurers are failing to reap the full benefit of the risk exposure data they capture as it is often held in disparate systems. The end result is there is no unified approach to data management and analysis which in turn means insurers could be sitting on a greater risk profile than they realise.

Research from Risk Solved 1  shows that 98 per cent of risk professionals believe risk analysis reporting methods mean premiums could be wrong, while 72 per cent think premiums could be too low.

This industry issue is one that resonated with QBE Europe, the business insurance specialist. The company was relying on technology such as Word, Access database and Excel to store and report data. This ultimately compromised effectiveness in delivering an accurate and up to date picture of the risk profile.

Prior to our appointment, John Sheron, IT Change Manager told us

“You’ve really impressed the business – you’re clearly the world leading subject matter experts.”

An innovative and future-proof solution

QBE realised it needed an innovative way to ensure complete management of its data. This would enable risk managers to work more efficiently by focusing on specific activity and identifying trends. By taking tighter control of its data, the company had the potential to vastly improve its risk information and service to clients.

The result of a recent acquisition had also changed the landscape for QBE, considerably increasing its growth plans over the coming years. In turn, the amount of risk data within the company was also set to increase. The foresight to move to a more efficient enterprise-quality solution has therefore provided significant business benefits.

Bringing disparate systems together with one partner

A number of companies tendered for the opportunity to work with QBE, but it was Risk Solved’s tender which really stood out. RSL’s tender showcased the company’s strong experience with clients in the risk management arena and its technical skill and expertise required for this substantial technology change.

Throughout the tender process, Risk Solved demonstrated that it grasped what QBE was trying to achieve. RSL’s team were keen to spend time with QBE to understand their requirements in more detail, which allowed RSL to provide consultancy on how best to achieve the desired results. It was through this understanding phase that QBE had some real light bulb moments in which they realised the true capabilities and flexibility of the Risk Solved solution.

To complement QBE’s internal IT team and outsourcers who were also engaged on other projects, Risk Solved provided support to analyse and clarify the requirements, and design, develop and deliver the whole solution.

QRisk is a secure web enabled system that allows risk data to be shared with internal staff, clients and suppliers.

Implementing effective risk management

The resulting system, known as QRisk, is a secure, web enabled system that allows risk data to be shared with internal staff, clients and suppliers. This means insurers do not need to rely on Word documents and complex spreadsheets housed in individual departments. The solution is unique in that it provides a ‘single view’ of the client’s risk profile, regardless of how complex the situation may be.

The system is raising awareness of risk management issues and provides recommendations and guidance for improvements. Clients can log-in to the secure client portal to complete risk management surveys and respond to when and how they have implemented recommendations. Risk managers and underwriters can access reports and recommendations and view progress. The system also offers a facility to manage risk management suppliers against SLAs and client feedback.

The entire process is captured in one system, with consistent use of wording and codified risk data. This information can then be used to create reports, monitor and analyse trends and provide the insurer with robust information for compliance and to minimise claims. The insurer can also gain more insight and useful management information than they have previously been able to.

Key features and benefits of the software include bespoke reporting capabilities enabling clients to define risk questionnaires, which can be supported with online guidance notes, additional risk information and access to regulatory websites.

In addition, risk trend analysis and account ‘hot spot’ analysis can be carried out, while centralised supplier management enables administration time and cost to be reduced. This in turn reduces service delivery costs and minimises the duplication of resources.

One of the key benefits of the Risk Solved solution for QBE, is it takes away much of the secondary dual keying of information – thus freeing up valuable resource and enabling users to do more with time available.

The use of this web technology has meant that QBE is now able to do things that they couldn’t do before. For example, self assessment questionnaires to gather risk data feed a powerful tool for reporting and gathering feedback. These questionnaires can be adapted internally by QBE, which makes it incredibly flexible. So, as long as they can come up with the right questions this capability is limitless and can be used across any product, customer or portfolio.

The barriers when dealing with layer upon layer of information have been eliminated.  QBE consider that the additional resource, time and productivity have benefited everyone internally and that there has been a cultural change as people feel they are truly contributing to the business through the ability to provide meaningful analysis.

As there is no downtime the efficiency of the system has already impacted the business.  Intelligent risk management in its truest form is about to challenge the industry.

Managing forward risks

Both Risk Solved and QBE believe that this risk management and intelligence system will become an essential tool for insurers, large brokers and risk management providers.

The solution has already been rolled out to 200 of QBE’s clients within their professional indemnity book. Longer term, the system is being seen as a platform that can support QBE clients globally. QBE anticipates a good return on investment, but will require 12-18 months of data in order to provide demonstrable results. However as there has been no downtime, the efficiency of the system has already impacted the business.

Richard Thomas, head of QBE’s Risk Management Services Practice, explains, “We store huge amounts of risk data, yet we were capturing this information inefficiently. Numerous people had to be involved to process and produce reports, which offered no ability for trend analysis that we could link into claims data.”

Although the concept is still in its infancy, QBE are currently working on the next phases of development, ensuring that the company reaps the full reward from all the risk management information it captures. Intelligent risk management in its truest form is about to challenge the industry.

1 ‘Making risk profitable: A review of the risk management landscape’, an independent survey of 100 risk engineers and managers, surveyors and underwriters across UK insurance companies, reviewing their opinions on risk analysis data reporting, collation, storage and use, Dynamic Markets October 2011.