Crowdsourcing offers a compelling way to gather expertise from beyond the walls of the enterprise, drawing ideas and innovation from the world at large. Often, crowdsourcing efforts are incentivized with some type of monetary award that goes to the best solution for a business problem. That reward may be far less costly than paying a cadre of internal analysts and experts.

But will crowdsourcing work in the insurance industry? Allstate put the concept to the test by recently conducting a crowdsourcing competition, in which it sought to gain better insights into the relationship between bodily injury liabilities and vehicle types. The competition was administered through Kaggle, a site that posts competitions, which opens up organizations' complex data problems to scrutiny by an open network of data scientists. A $10,000 prize was awarded by Allstate at the end of the competition.

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