Insurance Post

Data and analytics climbing the agenda in Asia


Over 80 people heard from experts about the leading trends in data and analytics at Insurance Data and Analytics Asia 2014.

Topics included cloud computing, cybercrime, digital marketing, the 'internet of things' and social media.

The audience heard about the importance of collecting, storing and analysing data that can help companies discover trends that can be used to help customer service, internal processes, marketing, pricing and risk anaylsis.

Insurance professionals heard that as data becomes more instantaneous and transparent, insurers, reinsurers and brokers have the opportunity to formulate algorithisms that can build-up unique pictures of customers.

Oliver Rust, head of global financial services, Nielsen opened the conference by warning insurers that 30% of a $1trn a year of an industry marketing spend is not being used effectively.

He said: "The smartphone is replacing branch engagement. Price is not the determining factor, we need to engage customers emotionally, for example identify which customers are 'reward lovers' and those who are the 'cash managers'." 

Rust added: "There are 3.3 billion people in Asia and around two billion have some kind of insurance leaving a huge potential market. In addition the wealth of women is growing strongly." Read an interview with Rust here.

In a panel discussion on the 'internet of things', Johan van Rooyen, CEO AIA Vitality, talked about his experiences in South Africa where telematics devices can now give detailed analysis to customers on how they drive leading to improved driving behaviour and better loss ratios.

Michael Lamb, CEO of broker CCW Global, said: "In order to make this attractive for consumers in Asia, we may need to gamify this, for example colour codes for good and bad driving behaviours." Read an interview with Lamb here.

Wenli Yuan, senior analyst, Celent commented: "There are three strands to connectivity: networks, sensors and analytics. For example wearable technologies that can track the number of paces you walk or sensors that can determine the moisture of soil."

She added: "You can connect that information via a network and then use analytics to action it."

The audience also heard about the importance for insurers to recognise the threat posed by cybercrime.

Jack Jia, partner, EY said: "Although 90% of networks have been hacked, an EY fraud survey suggests less than 50% of executives see cybercrime as a significant risk."

In addition to offering cybercrime products, Jia suggested insurers should seek their own insurance for cybercrime and said hackers were becoming more sophisticated and were doing it for more diverse reasons.

He said: "They [the hackers] do it for three reasons: for fun, to create a name for themselves or for corporate espionage, such as intellectual property theft." 

Speaking from a broker's perspective on big data, Mike Wellsted, director, strategic risk solutions and claims management, JLT said: "It is no longer enough to be a transactional broker today. We have become consultants. Although we don't sell data, we use it to benchmark in pricing and risk." 

Another panel discussion, chaired by James Maudslay, head of insurance Equinix, heard about the importance of the cloud as big data rises up the agenda.

According to the panel which included Andrew Green, managing director Asia-Pacific, PTS Consulting, Connie Leung, senior financial services insdustry director, Asia, Microsoft and Toa Charm founder of the Hong Kong Computer Society, the insurance community will need the right infrastructure and tools which may be built externally but needs to be driven internally.

Green commented: "Impose your terms on the [software] vendor. You can dictate your terms. Also, think about your exit plan."  

Charm said: "By outsourcing your computer power you can decrease risk and add convenience by being able to turn on and off services."

Leung warned: "There is a tonne of data we need to analyse and we need to be dynamic about this - the cloud is the best way forward."

The panel stressed it was important internal compliance procedures were sufficient and that regulations monitored. In addition, legacy systems need to be addressed.

Green said: "Legacy systems are still a big issue. Many of these systems were written in an old language that increasingly fewer people understand."

Another panel led by EY told the audience to embrace the transparency of social media even in the face of company criticism. Joel Lim, director EY said: "Managing the message is better than not managing it all. Criticism from customers can come at any time on a host of social media platforms and be made available to potentially millions of people."

Lim said companies could use social media data analysis to help with customer service, marketing, pricing and risk. He said: "Understand your business objective before analysing the data."

The event, sponsored by Equinix and EY, was held at the Harbour Grand Hotel on Hong Kong Island. For more details see



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