In a recent note, Ovum's Barry Rabkin urges the insurance industry to move more aggressively into predictive analytics. Insurers need to mine data from social media, third parties and machine-to-machine communications to glean more predictive insights to better target business operations, as well as marketing and customer relations efforts. “Insurers will be able to determine which markets to enter or leave, shape target market initiatives and estimate potential losses for the book of business as each customer is added,” he points out.

Indeed, based on my own research -- a new survey of 304 data managers conducted by Unisphere Research for SAP -- 62 percent see predictive analytics as the number-one opportunity big data affords their organizations. This result is the same for the insurance firms responding to the survey.

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