Howorth: Digitise ‘lorry-loads’ of data to free capital

Life insurers will need to bring legacy data onto modern systems if they are to make legacy business profitable, make reinsurance more cost-effective and comply with pensions dashboard obligations, says ITM.

Duncan howorth 700x450The data provider, which has been selected for two of the project areas of the pensions dashboard, says standardising of data will help providers tackle unprofitable legacy products, maintain margins and deliver digital customer journeys expected by today’s consumers.

ITM director Duncan Howorth, former JLT UK chief executive, says it literally receives ‘lorryloads’ of data from providers and schemes looking to standardise their offerings and argues migrating data to modern platforms will free up capital and reduce operational costs.

The prototype of the pensions dashboard is due to be delivered by the end of this month. It is not yet clear the extent to which this prototype will determine the likely structure of the eventual dashboard product.

Howorth says: “Our sector has sheltered behind regulation and complexity and stopped short of bringing our data up to the standard members might reasonably expect in 2017. At ITM, we know that all too well; it’s not unusual for us to receive scheme data literally by the lorryload as we work on bringing schemes into the modern age.

Data itself can be a hard thing to get excited about – but when you think about the tremendous opportunities that connected data can achieve to make our lives richer and simpler; well that’s something I think most people can get on board with. We’re all too aware of the complexity and volume of data that’s out there but the results of cleaning up your data are also undeniable. When it comes to delivering streamlined data to third party aggregation services in particular, such as Pensions Dashboard, the opportunity cost of not standardising data is simply overwhelming. If you are not making your customers’ lives easier, you’re not doing much good.”

“Some companies that have outsourced the administration of legacy books may feel that data issues like these are too remote to cause any concern. But those issues and the benefits that can arise from addressing them are just as real and just as pertinent. It’s all about truly customer-focused businesses recognising the extent to which data is at the heart of operational and financial success. Having the right data partner that can help you in the right way will help achieve scale, business success and, crucially, customer satisfaction.”