Top steps for insurance data governance initiatives

While many insurance firms realize the importance of data governance, they might lack clear direction on what they should do to implement it.

Karlyn Carnahan, a research director in Celent’s insurance practice, recently addressed this matter in an article for Insurance & technology, emphasizing that while most insurance firms have some data governance initiative in place already, the industry as a whole is new to such efforts. In addition, carriers rarely have a single entity taking responsibility for important information. In such cases, creating a data governance council is frequently a good first step.

Articulate value
Corporate staff could resist any efforts to adopt data governance if they don’t understand the benefit of implementing these information policies and procedures, the author noted. Advocates of such initiatives should be sure that their coworkers know what data governance can do for their organization.

There are many potential benefits to these initiatives. Stronger data governance can potentially reduce costs by eliminating duplicate information that is stored on multiple systems. In addition, these policies and procedures can make it easier for industry participants to comply with existing regulations. Having higher-quality data can improve decision-making by making key staff better-informed.

Since data governance carries myriad benefits, advocates should focus on the perk that will most likely resonate with their audience.

Be reasonable
If advocates want to obtain the support they need, they must be patient and begin by speaking with individuals who both realize data governance’s value and are interested in helping out with initiatives involving these sets of policies and procedures, Carnahan wrote.

Obtaining universal buy-in
Insurance carrier staff pushing data governance initiatives must remember that obtaining buy-in from the top down is crucial. If they want to succeed, they will need to convince senior management, mid-level management and operational staff that these efforts to bolster information policies and procedures will be worth the time and energy.

Once advocates have obtained the needed buy-in, the author recommends they consult IT managers, executives and end users of technology for their point of view. Developing a consensus will make it far easier to take care of important data issues, as it will enable prioritization.

If insurance firms want to increase the odds their data governance initiatives will be successful, they might also consider obtaining a comprehensive assessment. Doing so could help them save time and energy by allowing them to point out key challenges that they should focus on.

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