Earlier in the summer of 2021, The Lighthouse Collective invited Allianz and a key partner of theirs, Quantexa to lead a case-study driven webinar entitled ‘Define Your Global Approach to Claims and Fraud with Data-Driven Intelligence.’
Nicholas Kelsall, Senior Global P&C Expert, Allianz SE, Nadine Sonnenberg, Head of BI Analytical Products and Big Data, Allianz Technology and Alex Johnson, Head of Insurance Solutions, Quantexa revealed how centralised strategies are possible when combating claims fraud and spoke on the fundamental pillars that must be in place to ensure a successful operation: a common vision, agile technologies, meaningful data, and attentiveness to the customers’ needs.
‘We work to the following mantra at Allianz; build simple products and simple processes that can be harmonised and scaled globally.’ (Nick Kelsall)
Nick Kelsall (Global P&C, Allianz) is driven by the above statement and was keen to impress upon the audience how Allianz differentiate themselves from the competition. ‘Service is the main playground where we compete, and it is in the simplification of product where our customers are chiefly benefiting. Of course, what underpins any success is meaningful data, and that is the lifeblood of our organisation.’
Alex Johnson, Head of Insurance Solutions, Quantexa agreed that the marketplace was in a state of flux, not only highly competitive, but going through a period of huge change. 'As part of a constantly shifting landscape, insurers have the challenge of understanding a complex and vast swathe of possibilities when it comes to data and using data to make meaningful decisions that impact their business. The key is finding the right balance; in protecting your organisation against fraud whilst also providing customers with excellent, tailored experiences suited to their individual requirements.’
It has been a long-standing challenge for insurers; finding and fostering quality data sets. But knowing exactly how to yield that data for the betterment of their business and customers. ‘Many insurers are clearly anxious that the data at their disposal is either irrelevant or lacks the appropriate integrity required to make informed and business critical decisions.’ Adds Alex. A report by KPMG published in 2020 backs up this statement and showed that ‘only 10% of useful and valuable data (utilised by insurers) is being used for decisions today’ and that ‘…over 60% of CEO’s do not trust the integrity of their organisation’s data-driven models.’
How do we define data-driven intelligence?
‘Data-driven intelligence is really about augmenting the right data for the right use case.’ (Alex Johnson)
‘It is about leveraging the valuable data that you do have by ‘connecting the dots’ so that the correct and valuable decisions are reached.’ Says Alex. Clearly, throwing more data sets into a system which cannot accurately compute the sum of all parts will not fix a problem. Understanding context within vast seas of data so that complex pictures of customers are attainable is the key to succeeding in this field.’
Allianz’s centralised strategy uses data at its heart to support the ambition of understanding all customers from a central standpoint. How is this possible? The simple answer is it is not easy according to Nick. To provide clarity, Nick continued: ‘This is a difficult question to answer, and we are not naïve to the fact that markets operate differently across the world and even within Europe significantly. That said the principles of what customers want is the same; fast and professional service that meets their needs and simplicity is at the heart of this.’ Data is the enabler that constantly brings Allianz perspective and helps them to pay out the right customers quickly and identify the fraudulent situations equally as quick.
‘There is not a single answer to how we do it. Lots of communities and joint projects contribute. Trust as well is a big one - sharing the vision of what we want to achieve and bringing people to the party early place us very well to act accordingly. We also recruit into central teams from all over the world, so the expertise exists within head office. From there we can educate out.’
The key to Allianz’s centralised approach? A common vision.
‘We are a common people with a common purpose. We are a fraud-fighting community and there’s a real team-feel in delivering this solution.’ (Nick Kelsall)
It comes as no surprise that Allianz have invested time and resources across global locations when developing their centralised approach. Nick spoke glowingly of a long-term ‘fraud fighting community’ that exists with input from individuals from over 35 countries. And this takes a certain level of commitment. Executives meet (or did meet physically pre-covid) on a regular basis and have done so for many years with the shared goal of formulating a unified best practice and strategy.
‘Allianz does not pay criminals.’ (Nick Kelsall)
Nick affirmed that the group strategy is centrally defined and measured and has a zero-tolerance policy against fraudsters. ‘We want to ensure that we protect our genuine customers and shareholders’ money – and put simply, Allianz does not pay criminals.’
In 2019, Allianz reinstated their overall objectives, not only protecting stakeholder interests but also to continually pursue a dedication to enhanced digitalisation. Practically, this meant a strengthening of core data and how that is used, as well as investing in a state-of-the-art fraud prevention IT strategy- one that could be used cross-border, cross lines of business and cross product. No easy task, but one that could be achieved by leveraging the existing expertise across teams into a harmonised and truly digital endeavour.
The ongoing technological evolution centres on agility.
‘We invested in a state-of-the-art fraud prevention IT strategy; one that could be used cross-border, cross lines of business and cross product…’ (Nadine Sonnenberg)
Nadine Sonnenberg (Head of BI Analytical Products and Big Data) is credited to have been a huge influence on Allianz achieving ‘true agility,’ constantly looking to improve the anti-fraud solution with her team. ‘We have grown together, business and technology and invested time in understanding the different viewpoints. After all, fighting fraud has many aspects; strategic, organisational, technological etc.’
A key component of Nadine and her team’s success has been the ability to implement change quickly when required, and importantly to resist any pressures from external parties. Additionally, there is evidently a supportive group at managerial level who are not solely focussed on ROI but more keenly focussed on excellence in the anti-fraud solution and ultimately, a greater understanding of customers and fraudsters.
And what of third-party inclusion? Nadine described the mix of in-house and external parties when going through the process of developing the anti-fraud solution: ‘What has become clear over time is the maturity of our in-house expertise. We were certainly some way down the road in achieving what we felt necessary for a complete solution. The missing pieces we brought in (specific functionalities and solution-enhancers) were to compliment rather than uphold the existing technology structures we had developed.'
‘Automation is the key to everything that we do today.’ (Nadine Sonnenberg)
Technology is evidently a mature component to the anti-fraud piece at Allianz. Nadine had this to say when it comes to the role of automation in her ongoing innovation projects: ‘On the one hand we are focusing on more and more automation whilst building, deploying, and testing our software products to reach market at speed. On the other hand, we want to provide software which allows automation of business processes – so real digitalisation of the fraud fighting processes. One example here is what we call “On-demand scoring” which helps the claims handler to get an almost immediate assessment (within seconds) of the claim and simultaneously raises any likelihood of suspicious activity regarding possible fraudulent behaviour. This way we create extra safeguarding, and at the same time allow our customers the benefit of speedy service.
What of the future? What does an end-to-end decision intelligence or enterprise fraud solution look like?
There clearly is not one answer to this. The view of the future looks different depending on a number of factors; the size and scale of the insurer, the regions in which they operate in, the products the insurer is underwriting etc. However, the common thread of data allows us to make certain inferences on the future landscape.
‘Digitisation and future-proofing are about speed and efficiency but most of all it is about accuracy and empowering people and your business to make better decisions.’ (Alex Johnson)
In claims management and enterprise fraud risk, Alex identified three key strategies to bear in mind when preparing for future innovations. The first is to be strategic and think about building future-proofed capabilities now, and with this comes the necessary due-diligence, appropriate evaluations etc. Secondly, be careful about point solutions which only solve one small part of the decision chain. Ensure you can perform change with agility; ensure technology and systems can mould and adapt to your business, not the other way. Lastly, once live, ensure that you are the master of your own destiny and can be self-sufficient and prioritise your own changes which meet your needs. This means that you have a data analytics process and related solutions that help you understand the context of your situation.
What were the key takeaways for the panellists?
One of Nick’s key takeaways from the session was: “Don’t let your IT systems dictate your processes. This should be the other way around. Instead, create a holistic process which is complimented by IT.” Secondly, partner with supply chains that are in tune with your own corporate and social responsibility and also have the infrastructure to interact with your core systems. Most importantly we must be in a position where we are driving excellent customer experiences, and so everything else is simply a supporting role to that objective.
Nadine recognised automation as a key driver within the technology suite. And also stated that any organisation must build on their existing data strategies, including looking at additional data sources and quick integration of data. Nadine underlined the importance of “remaining close to the business.”
Technology strategy must go hand in hand with the greater needs of the organisation. ‘That is the reality.’
As well as supporting Allianz’s statements, Alex stressed the importance of focussing on ‘value, not cost.’ Solely looking at process automation or data from a ‘how can I reduce cost’ perspective is an opportunity missed. Such an attitude can only harm the most important consideration any organisation should have, and that is the customer; what are their needs, how can we serve them better, how do we protect them? The second key point is the continual need to question what are we using this data for, how are the analytical tools assisting us? Meaningful insights that drive better solutions for the business and create excellent experiences for the customer- that is the key.
In a session centred on Allianz's recent experiences, listen in to discover how an innovative and unified approach to global claims processing and fraud prevention has reaped huge rewards. Hear from the following speakers: Nicholas Kelsall, Global P&C Lead, Allianz SE Nadine Sonnenberg, Head of Big Data and the Head of BI Analytical Products, Allianz Technology Alex Johnson, Head of Insurance Solutions, Quantexa. Moderated by Graham Proud, CEO & Founder, The Lighthouse Collective
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