Business Challenge

Data has the potential to reveal new ways to drive greater profitability and efficiency. How could this leading US insurer extract insights from sales and policy data quickly and efficiently?


The insurer upgraded from an existing analytics environment to IBM Cognos Analytics software, which helped the company improve productivity for its business analysts and empower its decision-makers.


Cuts time-to-insight

from days to minutes with efficient, self-service analytics capabilities

Empowers underwriting

to make more informed decisions when issuing and renewing policies

Reveals new ways

to boost efficiency and productivity

Business challenge story

Appreciating the power of data

Data is at the heart of the insurance industry and drives decisions within almost every department, from the sales office to underwriting teams. For this reason, insurance companies must ensure that they can process vast amounts of complex data quickly and efficiently, or risk losing out to competitors.

A spokesperson for the US insurer explains: “Our analytics function supports many of our core business activities, including financial reporting, measuring the risk profile of individual policies and assessing the profitability of all our existing policies. We also crunch data to support our internal performance management activities to find new ways to improve our efficiency and productivity.”

With appetites for fast and insightful analytics growing in each of the insurer’s divisions, the internal reporting team set out to make sure that it could keep up with demand.

The spokesperson continues: “Our previous reporting solution was nearing end of support and no longer delivered the level of efficiency that we required. For instance, if a member of our team saw a figure in a report that they wanted to check, they would have to ask our IT team to provide them with access to the data used to calculate that figure — a process which could take days to complete.

“Similarly, creating reports on the performance of our sales teams for senior management was manual and time-consuming. Our reporting team had to amalgamate and process data from various different spreadsheets, which significantly increased the risk of human error.”

The degree of manual effort required to run the analysis meant that the insurer only generated these reports on a quarterly basis — limiting the ability of the business to respond to issues in an agile and timely manner. With the limited dashboarding capabilities of the existing solution, the company struggled to present data to senior leaders in an easily digestible format, making it harder to make data-driven decisions or design strategies to boost operational efficiency.

With faster insight we can make much more timely decisions on which policies to renew and determine the risk profile of potential customers faster — enabling us to onboard new customers with greater efficiency.

Spokesperson, leading US insurer

Transformation story

Enhanced capabilities

To boost the efficiency of its analytics function, the insurer decided to upgrade to the latest version of Cognos Analytics software.

 “We have used IBM Cognos products with positive results for over a decade, so we had a lot of trust in the platform,” says the spokesperson. “We were eager to see how the latest version of the solution could help us meet increasing demand for data-driven insights throughout our business. We were especially interested in the improved dashboarding capabilities in Cognos Analytics, which make it much easier for users to upload and integrate their own data sets with our enterprise data.”

The company worked with IBM Cloud™ Labs to launch the upgrade. The IBM team provided insight and advice during the migration.

“The IBM team conducted a high-level assessment of our analytics environment and provided some useful suggestions for ways to optimize IBM Cognos Analytics,” the spokesperson continues. “This guidance and advice ultimately helped us to complete the migration successfully.”

Results story

Gaining new insight

Since upgrading to the latest version of Cognos Analytics software, the insurer has dramatically reduced time-to-insight and uncovered new ways to boost productivity, while helping insurance agents to make more informed decisions.

 “The self-service capabilities of Cognos Analytics has helped us to reduce time-to-insight,” the spokesperson says. “Instead of waiting hours or days for new data sources to be integrated into the system, our users can load their own data independently and extract insights in just a matter of minutes.

“With faster insight we can make much more timely decisions on which policies to prioritize for renewal, and determine the risk profile of potential customers even faster. This helps us to onboard new customers with greater efficiency.”

As well as supporting decision-making on policies, the Cognos Analytics solution is also empowering the company to measure the efficiency of its underwriting activities and the performance of its staff. The insurer can now look at how quickly agents report new leads back to the main office, and how long it takes to produce and issue a quote.

The project team also built intuitive dashboards for senior leaders that display information on the performance of each member of staff and different teams.

“With the enhanced visualization capabilities of Cognos Analytics we can now create these reports every month, instead of every quarter, with no additional effort,” concludes the spokesperson. “More frequent access to easily digestible performance information helps decision-makers and high-performing employees and teams make smarter decisions to optimize productivity across the organization.”

this leading US insurer

Headquartered in the US, this company is one of the leading domestic insurers, offering services such as property and casualty insurance to a wide range of sectors.  

Take the next step

To learn more about the IBM solution featured in this story, please contact your IBM representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit the following website:

IBM Analytics offers one of the world's deepest and broadest analytics platform, domain and industry solutions that deliver new value to businesses, governments and individuals. For more information about how IBM Analytics helps to transform industries and professions with data, visit Follow us on Twitter at @IBMAnalytics and on our blog at, and join the conversation #IBMAnalytics.