Professionals from across the London Market gathered at the Ivy City Garden for the first meeting of the LMF Data & Analytics Leaders Breakfast. Underwriting along with broking and Lloyd’s professionals assembled for the first ever Data and Analytics leaders breakfast on Tuesday, the 25th of April 2023, organised and hosted by LMF, in proud association with EXL.
During the two hour interactive breakfast event, delegates heard from Dan Bishop of Hiscox, Martin Lynch of CNA Hardy and Alex Bilas of Canopius Group, who shared their experiences and journeys in developing data strategies to meet the needs of their respective businesses.
Dan Bishop, the Head of Insurance Analytics at Hiscox, heads up the retail part of the business, and noted that their data journey has seen the vast improvement of data tools, and more importantly, that the data tools have developed in a way that has bought them closer to the business. He noted that one should not ‘take for granted’ that Data & Analytics will always be a top priority for businesses and for this reason, the tools that we use to access, store and manage data, need to be consistently maintained. He suggested that there has always been a considerable problem with accessing data, but that this has been improving and moving in the right direction, by moving away from a central reporting function to a system that takes the form of a ‘hub.’ This model allows businesses to better calculate and measure investments. Dan referred to the need to have good business subject matter experts, and to nurture and develop them in order to meet the company’s data requirements.
Dan’s insightful comments were followed by those of Martin Lynch, Data and Analytics Director at Lloyd’s syndicate, CNA Hardy. Martin emphasised that his experience of data journeys have been threefold: business strategy, data ownership and training and development. He recognised that the phrase ‘business strategy’ is open-ended and typically varies over time in an organisation’s history, but that fundamentally, one’s ‘business strategy’ is synonymous with one’s data strategy. An organisation’s business strategy should be closely aligned to business needs. Lynch noted that data ownership closely ties in with data culture and decision-making; a business needs collaboration and symbiosis between the two in order to have a thriving data strategy. Similarly, the development of a healthy data-culture begins with successful and comprehensive training and development.
Alex Bilas, the Chief Data Officer of Canopius Group, concluded our guest speaker’s discussions. Alex discussed Canopius’ cloud data journey and noted that typically, there is a conception that a successful data and analytics strategy results in the creation of a group data function where ‘all the data is all in one place.’ Alex raised the fascinating point of data centralisation, and to what degree this is efficient. Alex suggested that centralised access to data tools/usage is more prudent, so data journeys can be developed in a more streamlined fashion with more choice for different areas of the business to use data in the way they see fit. Other delegates at the table mentioned the importance of managing upwards; senior level sponsorship is an important aspect of any company’s data journey. For some firms, it is important that this responsibility is embedded within the objectives of many stakeholders within the business.
There was a suggestion that perhaps in order for us as a Market to move forward, we may need to consider some fundamental action, including ring fencing legacy data matters, and focusing on the future. In particular, the use of AI was raised. Another person described how personal lines is clearly ahead of property and casualty specialty insurance business when it comes to data strategy and development.
As is always the case at LMF gatherings, the issue of talent and its availability was raised and, despite efforts by many to retain such expertise within businesses, it does prove a constant challenge and can impede the ability to develop sustainable data solutions that meet the company’s overall business strategy.
The session concluded with a roundup from Roger Oldham, founder of LMF, and an announcement that this meeting was the inaugural gathering of the new LMF data and analytics practice group which going forward will meet quarterly, over breakfast. Roger invited those attending the session to form part of this new practice group or invited them to nominate another individual from their firm to sit on the group if more appropriate.
This is clearly a very popular and highly topical subject due to the interest that LMF had in the group session. LMF would like to express their thanks to EXL for supporting this event.