How is your organisation using data and analytics to support the corporate vision and purpose?
Lloyd’s purpose - Sharing risk to create a braver world - defines our role in the world and guides our work every day. It is the reason our market exists. It reflects who we are and what we do. The global risk landscape is changing at pace, becoming ever more complex.
We are also changing, transforming into the most technologically-advanced insurance marketplace in the world to meet these new challenges head-on. This future-fit, digital-first Lloyd’s stands ready to partner with our customers to face new risks with confidence. This market transformation is unlike anything that has gone before. The detail is described in Blueprint Two for all to read.
2020 was a year like no other - how did it impact on your planned activities and what unplanned ones did you have to introduce?
Me and my team had to adapt to new ways of working, we had to adapt our team objectives, and all of that had to happen almost overnight! That was the same across the whole business. My team is one focused on delivering data innovation for Lloyd’s which thrives on cross-team collaboration and ideation.
We had planned workshops in the office, whiteboards and Post-It notes in hand. But, of course, with the WFH instruction, we had to adapt those workshops to online and find the right way to make them as interactive and engaging as if we were all meeting in person in order to gather the business ideas where data and analytics could help improve operational efficiency and/or deliver better customer experience.
We found a good rhythm for that online workshop process and have been able to stick pretty much to our planned outcomes, even if the activity to get there was different to what we expected at the start of 2020. Helping the business cope with the pandemic impact meant that the use of data and analytics was vital to provide reporting visibility on the likely volume of Covid-19 related claims to impact the market and to provide insight for regulators globally and to build virtual facilities that enabled the market to continue operating, such as the virtual underwriting room.
Looking forward to 2021, what are your expectations for data and analytics within your organisation?
My expectation for 2021 is that there is going to be a high degree of focus on data and analytics, which for me and my team is great to see. By placing data and technology at the core of the Future at Lloyd’s, together with the ambitious delivery timeline, that can only mean an increased level of data activity for us. I expect that activity will be in many different data themes, such as data enrichment, use of AI and data modelling, and continuing to build the data culture.
Is data for good part of your personal or business agenda for 2021? If so, what form will it take?
Data is good for all of us, both personal and business, right?! Our team mantra is, “data is for everyone!”. On a personal level, the smart use of data and analytics is going to enable the country to move on from this horrible pandemic, whether it be in using analytics to monitor Covid-19 cases or using complex models to ultimately support the roll-out of a Covid-19 vaccine(s).
For the business, the use of data will be key to the delivery of too many outcomes to list out here, but examples will be using analytics to ensure our business continues to pay claims on time and provides excellent customer service through to expanding the use of complex algorithms in the assessment and placement of risk across the Lloyd’s market.
What has been your path to power?
My first job was working in the library department of a local health organisation. The library was tasked with providing the local population with information on health services, eg, surgery opening hours, contact telephone numbers, etc. The information was all stored manually on cue cards.
That gave me an idea - we should start to store the data electronically on a database and make it available, self-serve, to the local population. This was at a time when databases such as MS Access were becoming available. The idea was a success and ground-breaking at the time!
That started my career path into the use of data to provide knowledge and insight. I worked for 15 years in the NHS and then left to join a start-up organisation called Health Dialog (claim to fame, our office was next door to another start-up called Spotify!). Health Dialog provided advanced analytics to the health service and subsequently health insurers when HD was purchased by BUPA.
I worked for BUPA for six years and that gave me the opportunity to work in overseas territories. Then four years ago, I joined Lloyd’s to drive data innovation and data science forward for the corporation and the Lloyd’s insurance market.
What is the proudest achievement of your career to date?
I know it is a cliché to say, “there are many,” but I will say it anyway! That’s because the achievements come in many guises: from launching a health coaching programme with the NHS based on complex risk stratification to help patients get the right treatment at the right time, to delivering the first datathon (aka, hackathon) event for the Lloyd’s market; from building the first AI application used at Lloyd’s to mentoring a colleague to achieve data science success. They all provide career satisfaction, which is why I really like working in this data industry!
Tell us about a career goal or a purpose for your organisation that you are pursuing?
I started with the Lloyd’s purpose - Sharing risk to create a braver world - and that is exactly the purpose I am pursuing. It is a very exciting time to be working at Lloyd’s with the data and digital transformation the organisation is now embarking on as detailed in Blueprint Two. Successful delivery will be powered by right-first-time data, technology and market services. I want to play a key role in delivering the transformational outcomes described and be able to look back in a couple of years and proudly say, “I was part of that.”
How closely aligned to the business are data and analytics both within your own organisation and at an industry level? What helps to bring the two closer together?
Data and analytics are joined closely together at both the organisation and industry level. In almost all aspects of the insurance industry, you can identify where data and analytics are working hand-in-hand to deliver positive business outcomes.
If you consider risk assessment, underwriting, actuarial and the claims process, that end-to-end customer journey is built on a robust set of quality and timely data to feed statistical models that, hopefully, results in happy customers who have insurance products they can purchase to meet their particular needs. In the case of the Lloyd’s market, those products are for very complex and specialised risks.
I naturally consider the two areas working together and maybe that is a message to take forward - don’t treat them separately. In your role as a leader, you can ensure that data and analytics work closely together, calling out the synergies between the two areas. Analytics relies on data and there’s no point in collecting data if you can not create insight from the data using smart analytics.
What is your view on how to develop a data culture in an organisation, building out data literacy and creating a data-first mindset?
Developing the digital ecosystem for Lloyd’s requires a highly skilled workforce which combines the best of our traditional strengths (such as underwriting and claims) with newer skills (such as data science and technology engineering). We’re actively engaging existing and new talent to deliver our plan at the same time creating an inclusive and innovative community which is driven to serve customers in new ways.
One example is our data science curriculum where we have partnered with academia to create a set of learning material that is relevant not only to technical data scientists, but also to business folk who want to learn and understand the advantages that data science can bring to an organisation. We have used the same focus on business outcomes for an AI curriculum as well.