Announced  last week, the EU's modernisation of data protection laws will affect the way companies treat data, 'cause failing to comply will bring greater financial penalties and, consumers' will have more say in how their data is treated.

John Galsworthy, CTO, 360Globalnet, argues that insurers need to understand and exploit the value held in data.  

"Like oil, data is a resource that’s hard to get at and in order to make use of it in any commercially viable way, you need to mine it, then refine it, before it’s of use to you. Just think of the processes used to turn oil into petrol or plastics!

Analytics software is to data what hydraulic drilling is to oil. With it, you can refine data, so that you can view it, interrogate it, or use it, in consumable chunks. But. And it’s a big but. The trick to making this exercise worthwhile, is to ensure that you know at the outset what you’re looking for. So you need to ensure the search parameters to interrogate the data suit the use or action you want to achieve with it.

This way, the data you identify will give you intelligence that you can use, to extract value for your business.

Where software is able to analyse unstructured data (and ours does this) this effectively allows you to ‘cheat’ the mining of your data so that you not only mine the data that is stored in your data systems – for example, it’s the data that you collect knowingly and consciously, such as your CRM system but it also allows you to mine a whole host of unstructured data – the sort of information that comes in emails, pdfs and other formats, that are part of the massive amount of information your organisation receives from one day to another but won’t be stored within clearly identified systems, such as information gleaned from IoT, social media and other third party data.

It’s a bit like drilling for oil with every confidence of an assured strike.

Insurance companies have asked us how we might overcome the problem of data mining social media for useful information related to the claims process. Our answer would be to build a claims-based social media hub (based on something like Facebook) and use our platform to collect, store and then mine the information posted and shared by policyholders. It would gain their consent/buy in because the idea would be information in return for more accurate policies and prices.

Indeed, there's a lucky strike that awaits any organisation that takes this route."