As the New Year unfolds the insurance industry will double down on data, according to a new report from enterprise and application architecture consultancy X by 2.

Authored by the Qasim Hussain, Yasir Hussain and Frank Petersmark, the report enumerates the top IT challenges and trends for life, health and P&C insurers as well as the industry as a whole.

One common thread all insurers face is the need to better aggregate and analyze data, albeit for different reasons. In the case of health insurers, health care reform will continue to drive the need for advanced medical informatics. “Informatics will be the foundation of insurers’ ability to explore innovative provider and member-facing strategies,” the report states. “The key to this progression will be data mastery – the ability to effectively aggregate, analyze, and make information actionable.”

X by 2 also sees life insurers increasingly employing data science. “Life insurers will push to leverage their significant investment in gathering policyholder data for competitive advantage,” the report states. “This trend will accelerate in 2012 as carriers look for new opportunities to offer specialized products to discrete segments of their current policyholders and prospects.”

The report says property/casualty insurers will finally begin to realize gains through use of advanced analytics, predictive modeling, and precision data mining. A more pressing need may be mobility. “Smart phones and other mobile devices are ubiquitous,” the report states. “More “mobile-ites” are agents, policyholders and insurance company employees, and they will increasingly expect to interact with function and feature-rich mobile applications from their insurer. Carriers that fail to meet these expectations will see their policyholders and employees vote with a single click of their fingers.” 

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