You've either intentionally crafted one that everyone follows. Or, you haven't and everyone does things their own way. Either way, your staff are collecting, saving, entering and using data every day.
We've all heard the cliché, "data is the new oil." Each and every day more data is being created with the possibility of mining, aggregating and extracting value from that data. And yet, I'd argue that the data being created in many brokerages across the country is not re-usable; it's not in a format that can be re-used for different purposes (here is an article on the connections between data and API's).
Okay, so you believe data is important. How do you get better data? It starts with a data strategy. Here are three ideas to help your brokerage start executing on one:
1. Figure out what matters to you
What is most important right now for your brokerage, and more specifically your commercial lines team? Is it sales? Productivity? Efficiency? Analytics? Data exchange?
Having a clear view of your strategy and what's important can help guide:
what information your needs team to collect, and
what needs to be standardized.
2. Create a standardized data set
Jocko Willink, retired Navy Seal, is credited with this simple phrase, 'discipline equals freedom.' It seems paradoxical at first, but when you start to chew on it, it's true. Especially in the business world.
Having a standardized set of data that everyone can use, at first, seems limiting. You'll get the common push-back like, "We work on really niche businesses" or "These XX data points are my strategic advantage."
In reality, having everyone work from a standardized set of data creates freedom. Freedom from having to re-create data points every time a submission is drafted. Freedom to create multiple API connections (you know those insurer data exchange API's everyone keeps asking for).
3. Use templates to collect the data
You have a strategy (workflow, data exchange, analytics) and you have a corresponding data set(s), now your staff need to be able to take action on those.
In your commercial management system or BMS (personal lines) start building templates that will help front-line staff collect the right data at the right time.
Every day, your staff are collecting data. The more intentional they are about capturing standardized data, the more freedom you'll see in how it can be used.
Our belief, one we've been pursuing for over 15 years, is one of leveraging standardized data in commercial lines. Brokers who buy-in to our vision of standardized data understand the concept of entering data once and re-using it over and over.
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The Policy Works questionnaire is the leading P&C application in Canada. More submissions are created using this template than any other.