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What are the implications of Big Data for accident victims?

One fundamental rule for making a profit in the insurance industry is to charge customers more for coverage than is paid out for claims. Another practice insurers typically follow is to collect premium payments faster than money is paid out.

It's because of these realities that insurers in New York and everywhere else look for any way possible to deny a claim and drag out the process for finalizing claims. The slower the process goes, the longer the insurance company can put premiums to work through investments, make more money, and boost the value of the stock.

What this all means is that injury victims who suffer because of a motor-vehicle accident, medical malpractice, or some other form of negligence by another, wind up on the short end of things. 

That's not how it should be and working with an experienced attorney is the recommended way for a victim to ensure that he or she is obtaining the fullest measure of compensation due.

Underlying everything the insurance company does, of course, is data -- information about demographics, the nature of accidents, how often they occur, the severity of injuries or the likelihood of a fatality occurring. The more information an insurance company has, the better it feels it can assess and manage risk.

The amount of data available to insurers is monumental. In this Internet age, data is being collected by nearly everyone. And, as was noted in a recent Claims Journal article, insurers are getting better at leveraging computer power to analyze a lot of disparate data points to refine their underwriting, pricing and risk management decisions.

Still, the article's author says insurance companies need to get even better, and he offers suggestions on what companies can do to improve their capabilities to deliver more intelligence and efficiencies.

Of course, all of the advice offered is presented in the context of the potential value solid data analytics offers in reducing costs to customers. Savings to the companies aren't dismissed, either.

What is not addressed is the effect of all this on the victims who file for the benefits that are supposed to be due to them.

Source: Claims Journal, "In the Era of Information, Insurers Must Understand the Cross-Section of Claims and Data," Bob Crowley, July 16, 2014

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