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No data scientist on staff? 6 alternative sources of data expertise

data_science.jpgI saw the following quote last week in one of the daily news feeds I subscribe to:

“We have data science needs all over the place.”
–Progressive Group CIO, Ray Voelker

I think we can agree that Progressive is one very forward-thinking leader in the highly competitive world of personal lines insurance, and that Mr. Voelker is one of its fastest paced leaders. He has tons of data at his fingertips as well as access to formidable resources in what Progressive calls its “Business Innovation Garage,” or BIG, which serves as Progressive’s version of Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works. These guys KNOW what they’re doing with big data. 

If Progressive, of all companies, has data science needs “all over the place,” what about you and your company? As the risk manager, you have enormous amounts of data that are critical to getting your job done. You have financial data, operational data, claim and claimant data, property data, litigation data and so much more. In effect, you are sitting on a mountain of inestimable value. But how do you tap into that value?

There are resources available to you to help you plan a strategy for unlocking that value, and now is the time to get started. If you have a data scientist in your organization, sit down with him or her and discuss how to unlock the potential of the data sitting in your RMIS system. Or, perhaps talk about how your data system can be used by the data science function to conduct meaningful business analytics.

Risk Technology Evolution Model Information If you don't have access to a data scientist, talk to: 

  • Your RMIS provider
  • A local university's mathematics department
  • Your insurers
  • Your TPA
  • Your broker. 
  • Other departments in your company, like Financial Planning and Analysis and Strategic Sourcing.

We are just scratching the surface when we talk about predictive analytics, which is all the rage in claim data these days. We all need to think beyond just the claim data, and that can be a tall order. As risk managers, we need to think beyond insurance risk and use the data available to create new “actionable information” for our companies to make use of.

Data science is one of the most fertile fields of development in the practice of risk management. Insurers like Progressive are seeking out and hiring data scientists right now, because they see the upside value of data mining. Google, Amazon and others have been active in this area for years, and you can clearly see what intelligent use of data can do for business growth and customer satisfaction.

As a risk manager, you owe it to your company to get the optimum value out of the data that is residing in your RMIS system to move the company forward. Leading businesses will be addressing data science challenges soon; this is an opportunity for risk managers to be leaders.

Jeff_Gehrke_headshot.jpgJeff Gehrke is Ventiv's Chief Risk Technology Evangelist. Contact Jeff at Jeff.Gehrke@ventivtech.com or ++1.720.445.9531

Dec 8, 2015

 | Originally posted on 

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