Stewart McEwan, senior analyst, general insurance at Verdict Financial, highlights how big data is a key theme among the ten start-ups featured in Startupbootcamp InsurTech’s 2017 acceleration programme.

Big data is already well-established as a buzzword within insurance, referring to the ever increasing amount of digital information being generated and stored by industry players. Two of Startupbootcamp’s class of 2017 reflect a growing space in which tech-savvy businesses can offer to transform a mass of metrics into actionable content via machine learning.

  • US-based Adapt Ready provides predictive analysis to pinpoint how customers’ operations and supply chains could be impacted by extreme weather events.


  • South Africa-based Emerge Analytics, meanwhile, can provide solutions through existing held information to solve complex business problems, such as sales/marketing and fraud prevention.

Start-ups like these are targeting businesses that not only don’t appreciate what they can do with their data, but don’t fully understand what information they actually hold.

What these operations unlock for insurers is a wealth of opportunities across a number of business functions, for example:

  • Identifying trends and ‘red flagging’ previously undiscovered fraudulent activity
  • Understanding which customers are most at risk of being lost, or which account for the greatest opportunity to up- and cross-sell to
  • Shaping books of business around intelligently predicted risk outcomes
  • Meeting the increasing demands from customers for services moulded to individual needs – providing the insurance equivalent to Amazon’s recommendations or Spotify’s personalised “Discover Weekly” playlist.

Insurers face the need to develop such know-how in house, buy in the expertise, or risk being left in the Stone Age.

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