In conversation with Synergy: Why claims data matters
Synergy, a Claims Consortium Group company, has created a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) claims management system, Synergy Cloud. Tara Allsopp joined Wayne Calderbank, Director of Data and Insight at Claims Consortium Group to discuss Synergy’s data insights, how these insights reduce claims fraud and why insurers should embrace claims analytics.
Can you give a brief description of Synergy?
Synergy is a technology and data company specialising in creating claims management solutions for the insurance industry. The company is part of Claims Consortium Group, which provides a wide range of claims handling services and workflow technologies to the UK insurance market.
Our main product, Synergy Cloud, is a standalone claims management system. As the name suggests, it is cloud based and modular so, in addition to the end-to-end solution, specific functions can be used individually, and it works on a subscription model. Within the product, insurers have direct control of the entire claims process and can communicate with both relevant supply chain teams and their policyholders.
What does your role, as Director of Data and Insight, entail?
My role extends across the entire Group, including Synergy and Weathernet. I manage all data processes, including such activities as data engineering, data science and insights, amongst others.
What type of data insights does Synergy offer?
We specialise in collecting and analysing claims data. Synergy offers the analysis of a client’s whole data set book to provide benchmark performance insights, automated decision-making support and more. Synergy also makes use of data from Weathernet and the wider Claims Consortium Group to analyse and enrich its analysis.
Why is this data insight so valuable to Synergy’s insurer customers?
The data Synergy provides helps insurers understand their customers’ journeys. The claims process includes multiple parties, a challenge faced by is to predict the best course of action for a claim. Synergy collects granular data from individual claim events, from the alternative accommodation step through to each line item of property restoration. Insurers use this data to build a picture of the entire claim as well as assess their existing strengths and weaknesses in the claims handling process against other insurers.
How do insurers engage with Synergy’s claim solution?
Synergy can provide data to insurers through daily or monthly feeds. We can also set up API links.
Insurers’ internal data teams can work with Synergy to analyse their incoming data. We also offers a service to insurers to provide them with insights and analytics on their book of business. Synergy developing analytical tools within the claims management system so insurers can self-serve their own data insights.
How is the value passed onto the policyholder?
The policyholder gains a simple, more efficient claims journey. Part of what the customer purchases, when they buy insurance, is the insurer’s service to manage their claims. It is one of the few opportunities where insurers demonstrate value to the policyholder and can be an important factor when policyholders renew their policies. Insurers can use data and insights gained from Synergy to augment decision-making processes and settle claims faster.
Why have claims data insights become more relevant in recent years?
Events such as Brexit, the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine, have created significant price changes and market inflation. The property and motor claims markets, in particular, have suffered from rising fuel and stock costs. Insurers can no longer rely on historical data, so need real-time data insights to ensure that claims and premiums are accurately priced.
Insurers can also use historic data and insights to improve their response capabilities, enabling them to better forecast when more claims might be submitted, and higher staffing levels required. For example, Synergy has developed the ability to predict subsidence events and is using this insight to support insurers in having appropriate claims handling staffing levels when an incident occurs
How is Synergy using data analytics to reduce claims fraud?
Synergy is using fraud experts to develop fraud prevention models within the Synergy Cloud product. The team is using historical data to inform qualitative responses and decisions, rather than a simple yes or no fraud decision. This is a huge area of opportunity for Synergy as we predict a 25-40% increase in opportunistic fraud in 2023 given the cost of living crisis.
What acquisitions has Synergy made to enhance the quality of its data?
Synergy recently acquired Weathernet, a data company which provides weather data to over 90% of the UK insurance market. The company is using this data to enrich its own data sets in building weather event models and predicting outcomes. Weathernet is also embedded into Synergy Cloud to enhance the system’s decision-making capabilities, an example of this is the integration of Weathernet’s data to enhance Synergy Cloud’s storm prediction model’s outputs.
Why do some insurers struggle to understand the value of claims data?
The greatest barrier for some insurers is that they fear sharing data will reduce their competitive advantage. Collaborating with other companies and sharing data helps the insurance market challenge industry-wide issues such as fraud, crime and claims inflation. Another issue is the misalignment of an insurer’s culture with an increasing data driven world. Insurers must have a culture and processes in place to effectively make use of data.
What technologies is Synergy interested in to further enhance its data capabilities?
At present, Synergy is developing its own software solutions to speed up decision-making processes. Synergy is also investigating machine learning (ML) and natural language processing (NLP) technologies which can be used to enhance policyholders’ claims experiences. NLP can be used to understand policyholders’ sentiments, instead of waiting for a complaint, NLP technologies can flag when more support is needed.
How do you see the role of data insights, particularly in insurance claims, evolving?
The UK claims industry processes billions of pounds in claims every year so a paradigm shift is needed to adopt processes which make use of data to enhance claims management. It is also important that this shift does not lead to terms such as “data-driven” being thrown around; insurers must take a path where data is used as an enabler. It is important for insurers to remember that data and technology exist, in this context, to serve the customer.
If you would like to learn more about Synergy Cloud’s analytics capabilities, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.