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A key initiative in digital transformation for most insurers is establishing a single view of the customer. Why insurers need a single view? What is customer 360-degree view in insurance? Why is it a complex program? What are the considerations for establishing a single view of the customer? We will attempt to discuss answers to some of these questions in this and a series of upcoming blogs.

Why is a 360-degree view of a customer needed for insurance?

Insurance industry provides solutions to varying risk needs of both individuals and business owners. This results in multiple contractual relationships with the same customer and household. In a product-centric business, the existence of such independent relationships is an acceptable scenario, however for one to transform to customer-centric, it is imperative to have a consolidated view of relationships with a customer.

Let us look at the life cycle of a customer with respect to an insurer:

The process starts with identifying and understanding targeted prospects. In today’s world of the hyper-connected ecosystem, building a 360-degree view starts even before acquiring a customer. Insurers resort to using peer networks and social listening to understand and build a profile of prospects, their personas, needs and preferences. Let us consider a case of an auto insurer who can use the concept of networking and Internet of Things to enable customers to invite their peers (prospects) to their network, promote competition on driving behavior, collect risk data on their prospects and utilize them for targeted marketing. Similar examples can be thought of for other lines of businesses as well.

digital transformation in insurance industry, 360-degree view of Insurance

The next stage is the process of acquisition. Acquiring a customer involves knowing whether they are prospects or existing customers, their current risk profile, what products they currently hold, whether they are adequately insured, and what proximate risk segments (people like them) are covered for. Insurance being a business where insurers take risks on their books, it is important to understand the accumulation of risk during acquisition. Furthermore, understanding customers’, behavioral aspects such as their preferred channels of interaction, their buying process, the way they build their viewpoint and appropriately engaging with them are equally important. Additionally, underwriting requires a unified view of risk in several lines of business like Life Insurance. Underwriters require an accumulated view of risk to decide on the amount of risk they are willing to take on to their books for a single risk. It also has implications on straight through underwriting decisions

Post-acquisition, the next stage in customer lifecycle is - engaging and servicing the customer. This is the most challenging part as insurance is a one and done business. Therefore, this stage involves integrating the various channels of interaction and providing them with an omnichannel (start anywhere, process anywhere and conclude anywhere) experience. This is a process of continuously understanding the evolving needs of customers, engaging with them in their preferred way, and being proactive in servicing. Customer 360 enables this process by giving an integrated portfolio view, their preferences for servicing, what they frequently interact for and through which channels, the gaps in insurance, and their engagement experience (based on social media posts and insurer interactions). Servicing also needs to extend beyond insurance, i.e., understanding their life events to proactively engage with them.

The moment of truth for an insurance process is during a claim and this is a stage where one needs to show empathy and deliver all required information to ensure a smooth and hassle-free process.

What is a 360-degree view of a customer in insurance?

Customer 360 view begins with uniquely identifying a customer i.e. identifying him or her across multiple relationships, and roles played in those relationships, technically referred to as de-duplicated customer record. Once a customer has been uniquely identified, the next step involves creating the master profile and associating the same with multiple product holdings; this includes associating roles played with different contracts and creating a unified profile. Additionally, insurance most often being a household solution, it is important to establish relationships between customers, i.e., parents, siblings, spouse, etc.

Once the basic profile is established, it needs to be enriched with customer preferences. Preferences include channels of interaction, channels where the customer spends more time, interaction behaviors, the medium of communication, etc.

Preferences are followed by service requests and interaction history. It is important for both, the customer as well as those servicing the customers to have a complete view of requests made by the customer, the status of requests, what is the case history, and interactions made with respect to the service request or otherwise. Enabling this information is not just an information consolidation effort but also involves streamlining the underlying systems processing this information.

Service requests and interactions lead us to omnichannel experience. In today’s world of the hyper-connected ecosystem, the customer interacts through multiple devices and expects a seamless experience across the same. Hence, it is not enough to enable a static integrated information, the information also needs to be supported by a dynamic context. Therefore, all customer requests leading to underlying processes need to be accessed, invoked, processed and concluded from any device.

Another derivative of the hyper-connected ecosystem is external data and unstructured sources. With advances in technologies, data no longer comes from the traditional source of business processes. In today’s world, data comes through the multitude of sources like social media, documents, call recording, emails, IOT streams, etc. Customer 360 has to define what meaningful information needs to be derived from each of these data sources.

While we have covered all the relevant information, Customer 360 is incomplete without including insights. Mining and analysis of information lead to actionable insights such as cross-sell and up-sell opportunities, customer churn, retention strategies, advice driven by data like what proximate risk segments are buying, behavioral analysis to deliver better experiences and so on.

Lastly, one should not forget that insurance is a heavily intermediated business and 360 view extends to producers (agents and brokers) as well. Hence, it is important to consider Producer 360 as well when discussing with regards to insurers.

The below diagram provides a pictorial representation of key aspects that comprise a customer 360 view.

digital transformation in insurance industry, 360-degree view of Insurance

Why Do Insurance companies not have a 360-degree view at the onset?

Customer 360 view in Insurance is turning out to be an essential strategic initiative which will be an immensely beneficial program for the Insurance Company & the Customer himself. However, on the path towards establishing Customer 360-view, there are multiple challenges that need to be addressed. The key to achieving a 360-degree view is to create a unique record for each customer. The unique record must be able to tie together data from all the data sources within the organization – which in turn would be used to build a 360-degree view.

Below are some challenges that need to be overcome in order to achieve the 360-degree view:

  1. The customer is isolated across different business areas – Traditionally, insurance companies have been building systems and implementing products for specific business areas like Life, Commercial, Personal, etc. Over the years, these systems may have evolved and there could be a lot of data that must have been accumulated in these data sources – however, since the business areas run as separate units – the data for customers within these systems is hardly consistent and there is no consistent business requirement within the organization to link/join customers across multiple data sources.
  2. Having a matured data stewardship and governance committee – Having a committee that manages and organizes the enterprise data (or metadata) is imperative.
  3. Lack of a good data strategy for rapidly increasing/changing data – The data being captured by the insurance industry is increasing by the day. In addition to the structured and unstructured data (Claim notes/ CSR notes), – there is a lot of data that is increasing and changing in terms of documents/images, etc. Every time the source data changes, the unique record needs to change.
  4. Missing or inconsistent data on important data elements - Although data stored in multiple sources could be the same since different data sources are important for different data elements, there is a high possibility of inconsistent data. For e.g., a license number would be a mandatory element for a policy system but could be an optional field in claims or billing systems.
  5. Historical data availability in all the source systems – Systems within an insurance company evolve over time – the past data for a specific customer may span across systems. For e.g., in case of a Worker’s Comp Claim or a Life Insurance Policy, there are situations where a claim can run for years and during that time, if the customer undergoes demographic changes, it becomes more difficult to identify the customer uniquely.
  6. Digitization efforts involved in case of archives/paper documents – Insurance companies have been in existence for decades and many insurers would maintain customer records for Claim, Policy, etc., on papers. In case of customers who have transitioned from paper claims to digital claim, the record would have to be digitized in order to create a customer record.
  7. Lack of data lineage in customer household/family members – Although the idea of 360-degree view is very fascinating, it is very difficult to identify and relate the familial records for a customer. For e.g., if a customer has an auto policy with XYZ Ins. company and his spouse has a life policy with the same company, it becomes imperative to link and relate them. However, solving this systematically involves a great deal of data preparation and linking.
  8. The non-uniform and inconsistent process to handle customer interactions – Many insurance companies have different systems/data sources for capturing customer interactions. For e.g., phone, mail, email, web, chat, IVR, etc. In such situations, it almost becomes impossible to have a single customer record for all interactions.

Why is a Customer 360 program complex?

A unique customer record is the one that uniquely identifies the customer across all data sources - a record which is validated, cleansed and gives a complete picture of the customer across all business areas. The trickiest part of creating this unique record is the identification of unique fields from disparate data sources that are valid and truthful.

A simple example to demonstrate the intricacies involved in creating a unique customer record would be to consider a policy admin system that captures the policyholder’s name and a claims admin system that also captures the claimants/insured name. Now, the question is - which of these two systems will have the valid and accurate name? Is there any other system that is reliable for capturing name/address (Policy/Billing, etc.)? Furthermore, if there are two or more records that are pretty similar, what is the process for inclusion in the unique customer record?

We will try to answer these questions and few others in detail in a subsequent blog. However, one of the main considerations in creating and maintaining unique customer records is matching and merging records.

Let us consider the following two records in the table below:

Last Name

First Name

Phone Number

Street Address

City, State




123 Main Street

Hartford, CT




123 Main St

Hartford, CT

The last names are the same as are the City, State fields; the only difference is the first name.

In the above example, if we assume that the 1st instance of record comes from a data source that has good reliability for name & address and the 2nd instance of record comes from a data source that has accurate info about phone and family member counts, we would create a unique record by using the name from the 1st source and including member details from the 2nd source. Yet, it is easier said than done because there are a lot of other design considerations to be taken into account while creating a unique record.

Having a unique record would be helpful in creating a 360-degree view of the customer which in turn is beneficial for the following users within an insurance company – sales, marketing, product management, agents, customer service reps, claim handlers and operations folks. As noted, establishing a Customer 360 view is definitely important and will be very helpful for the Insurance company and the customer.– However, this is a complex initiative that needs to be tread carefully by addressing the challenges and making appropriate use of data and technology.

In the next blog on Insurance 360, we will discuss more considerations for implementing and achieving a 360-degree view of the customer. Until then, let us know your views on Customer 360 at

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About the Author

Jayateerth Kulkarni
Senior Consultant - BFSI

Jayateerth is a Senior Consultant with 12+ years of experience in P & C Insurance domain. For large transformation projects he has worked on varied areas within the Insurance value chain such as Insurance Policy & Claims Admin, Rating & Underwriting, Personal/Commercial Insurance, Duck Creek Claims and Travel Insurance.

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About the Author

Dinesh Kalidoss
General Manager

Dinesh is global head of insurance solutions and consulting in Mindtree. He has over two decades of experience working for insurers globally. He has been involved in several large scale Digital and Core business transformation. He has also been involved in advisory capacity in Business Strategy implementation, Process Redesign and IT Strategy for global insurers.

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