There has been recent press coverage reporting that in the coming years big data analysis will ‘transform the insurance industry’. We spend every waking minute looking at ways that we can do things differently – to push the boundaries and challenge current practice. And of course we are always interested in how we can use data to supplement the expert knowledge in the company.
With this in mind, a small team at Hiscox has been working on a new project to involve the brightest university students from around the country in an analytical challenge that will help us understand how data is being used in other settings. The ‘Hiscox University Data Challenge’ sees three teams from LSE, York and Leeds Universities compete to solve real world problems. This gives us an opportunity to tap into creative and analytical minds with a different viewpoint to those currently working in the industry. For the students, they get to experience real world problem solving, access to industry experts, networking opportunities with current graduates on our scheme and potential Hiscox sponsorship. Our hope is that the results can provide an understanding of the data that can genuinely be applied to the way we look at current issues as a company.
So…what have we asked them to do?
- Model the causes of railroad accidents in America and identify factors that may increase liability.
- Consider what factors of success would look like for a start-up company. For instance, ‘is there a ‘Silicon Valley effect?’ Does the age of the CEO influence a start-up’s success and how?
The first challenge saw each team come up with a variety of suggestions that demonstrably impacted incident rate; ranging from carriage length to the transportation of hazardous materials. The second challenge is due shortly.
Throughout the process, there has been a dedicated Hiscox Analyst per team and a chance for face to face time with technical experts. Once the solutions have been submitted, each team will present their solution to a senior team at Hiscox and have a chance to network with underwriters and analysts before the winner is announced.