The act of aggregating data for the sake of making better decisions is as old as the insurance industry itself. Another constant is that the tools used to gather and analyze this data have continually evolved.
Now, insurance and other industries that rely heavily on data to augment and in some cases supplant human decision making are entering an era in which many feel evolutionary changes are about to give way to revolutionary ones. Dubbed Big Data, the term refers loosely to series of storage and algorithmic technologies that enable analysis of data sets too large for traditional tools. In terms of data volume, this means the largest insurers may soon be moving out of the realm of gigabytes and terabytes, into the terra incognita of petabytes and beyond.
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