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Suncorp banks on data mining to slash claims

Ruth Liew (via AFR) | July 9, 2013
Suncorp is banking on data mining to slash its insurance claims processing times as the company scours for new avenues to boost its business.

Suncorp banks on data mining to slash claims
Suncorp’s new system played a key role particularly in the aftermath of the Queensland floods. Photo: Reuters

Suncorp is banking on data mining to slash its insurance claims processing times as the company scours for new avenues to boost its business.

Claims channelled through Suncorp's commercial insurance arm typically took 30 to 60 days to process, but a project with Queensland University of Technology has drastically reduced the window to between one and five days.

It comes after Suncorp's business cover division found "low value" claims, such as glass repairs or stolen laptops took much longer than they should to finalise.

"We had a lot of anecdotal information and had tried various remedies based on those anecdotes, but nothing was getting strong results to improve the process," Suncorp Commercial claims executive manager, Donna Stewart, said.

QUT computer scientist and research fellow Suriadi Suriadi used an open source tool, ProM, to aid his analysis of 32,000 insurance claims, combined with a visualisation program called Disco. While 32,000 claims might seem like a small figure as part of a data mining project, the difficulty stemmed from the complexity of the data, Dr Suriadi argued.

Suncorp and QUT found that some of the claims were getting "stuck" in a loop when they needed to be followed up, such as requiring receipts from customers.

The insurer rolled out a "one touch" program in December which fast tracked the decision-making process and waived traditional documents on claims, among other short cuts, based on the results from the analysis.

The new system played a key role particularly in the aftermath of the Queensland floods, which wreaked havoc on businesses earlier this year, Ms Stewart said.

Suncorp employees now use the system for property claims, but the company is hoping to transfer the technology to other parts of the business, including engineering and marine transit claims.

"We'll be looking at opportunities across commercial insurance," she said.

 

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