Data is booming throughout the insurance industry, but effective collection and analysis of that data is not prioritized enough in claims, according to Hopes and Hurdles of Tech-Driven Claim Operations, a recent survey from Towers Watson.

Seventy-two percent of 29 P&C claims executives surveyed said “effective implementation of data capture, metrics and analytics” was a primary challenge to the industry. That was second to “attracting and retaining top talent,” but only by 4%. Technology optimization was the most commonly identified secondary challenge, cited by just more than half of executives.

“This might in part be explained because capturing reliable claim data ranks relatively low (seventh of nine responsibilities, with a 38% response) among high-impact claim responsibilities in participants’ organizations, which may be short sighted,” Towers Watson wrote. “However, survey participants also are aware that claim data capture and technology infrastructure are significant ways to achieve better claim outcomes and customer service.”

While insurers seem to understand the opportunity, in practice, claims analytics are not a top-tier issue. Only 17% of survey respondents ranked it as a top priority, and only 13% said “claim data capture and technology infrastructure” was a top priority.

In fact, when it comes to incorporating more advanced tech into the claims process, claims officers are focused on communication and field technology. Three-quarters of respondents said one of those was the primary opportunity for a breakthrough in the next five years, compared to 64% who said big data and analytics would change the game significantly.

“Clearly, claim officers anticipate that technology will play a major role in modernizing their companies’ claim operations and making them more customer-driven and profitable,” Towers Watson wrote. “More focus is needed on the value of talent that can build technologically advanced claim departments and data that provides the compass to direct claim officers in the right direction.”

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