Insurance firm Chubb Group is poised to roll out a single view of its business reporting systems to its Latin America offices following a successful deployment in Europe.
From next year, the firm, which has a network of 120 offices in 29 countries, will pilot its European Management Information Repository in Latin America, responding in part to demand from its business managers, said Peter Thomas, vice-president of European enterprise IT at Chubb.
"Our business people have taken the lead," said Thomas. "European business staff are telling their colleagues in the rest of the world that they have a good business intelligence tool.
"It means we have had enquiries from business people as much as from IT, and it has been easier getting the seed money for roll-out as we have not had to sell it."
Chubb started to invest in the Cognos-based system in 2003 because it was struggling to get a coherent view from its reporting systems.
"We have always had reporting systems. But over time we got to have too many, with one reporting system generating different visuals from another," said Thomas.
Achieving a coherent view of data is particularly critical for insurers, said Thomas, given the cyclical nature of insurance markets.
"If the market is at a turning point, you take different action depending on where you are in the investment cycle," he said.
The vagaries of the business also make it harder for business intelligence tools to accurately measure return on investment to help price insurance products profitably. This is particularly challenging with many long-term business insurance contracts, because years can pass before policyholders claim, Thomas said.
"We get around this problem by measuring return on investment by proxy. We look at how often people log in to the system and whether frequent users are retained by the company. This is based on the assumption that business people make rational decisions and only use systems that they find useful."
Comment on this article: firstname.lastname@example.org
This was first published in November 2006