Data and Analytics Asia Q+A: Oliver Rust, Nielsen


Postonline interviews Oliver Rust, head of global financial services, Nielsen.

What is your role at Nielsen?
I am the global senior vice president, financial services at Nielsen based in Hong Kong. I have traveled extensively in my career and have a deep understanding of the insurance market for both business to consumer and business to business.

Is the Asia-Pacific lagging behind Europe and the US in sophistication around data and analytics?
Overall the Asia-Pacific region is less mature then its counterparts in Europe & the US, and is lagging behind in terms of the level of granularity of data. In addition, there is a lack of talent and infrastructure, in particular for experienced analytical roles.

On the plus side there are few legacy systems allowing the region to take advantage of this and leap ahead. Asia-Pacific is leading the way on mobile and location data; both can play a critical role in helping to reach insurers.

Briefly, where should the insurance sector invest in data and analytics in Asia?
Digital represents a big opportunity, allowing organisations to reach the large sectors of the population that don't have insurance coverage given the broad geographical coverage. This is a great distribution channel for those who can't gain access to agents or bank's branch network.

The music industry has embraced the digital platforms and has reaped significant benefits which the financial services industry including insurance can benefit from as well.

The companies that are able to leverage and integrate the in-house information about their customers together into a CRM system and tie this not only with an understanding of the behaviours and lifestyles of the consumers and the ability to link this with their product holding across the industry will come out ahead of the competition.

To achieve this, a different mind-set will be required, combined with greater flexibility and analytical capabilities.

This change won't happen overnight but the need to understand the consumer more, and predict the journey they make to purchase it ,is a key element of the success that companies will have.

The intention is to move away from selling transaction type sales without tracking consumer preferences. Precision marketing for consumers and businesses can be improved.

Do you foresee a digital-only future for financial services?
We have yet to see this anywhere in the world for a number of reasons. For example, human interactions for claims, the need for advice and so on, however we have seen progress made in making digital a larger percentage of the business as consumers become more experienced and knowledgeable.

Whatever happens though, the service element won't disappear.

Oliver Rust, pictured, will be speaking at the Insurance Data & Analytics Asia conference on 14 October in Hong Kong. For more details see

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