Travelers Insurance: Unlocking Enterprise Data and Analytics with Data Democratization

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There’s no doubt about it. Predictive analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) are the future of the insurance industry. From predicting the likelihood of disaster to streamlining claims processing, there’s probably not a single area of business that the innovations won’t touch and optimize.

At Travelers Insurance, the potential of AI-powered advanced analytics has not gone unnoticed.  As is written on the company website, “We apply advanced AI, machine learning and geospatial technology to extract actionable insights from unstructured data, such as aerial imagery, drone videos, millions of medical bills, billions of claim notes and thousands of hours of customer conversations. These insights help transform our business by sharpening our advantage in risk selection and segmentation – while also creating great experiences for our customers and agents, and improving overall efficiency across the enterprise.”

For example, Travelers’ National Catastrophe Command Center is currently aggregating and leveraging massive amounts of weather and geospatial data to enhance its ability to predict catastrophic weather events such as wildfires. As explained in a 2019 blog post, “We aggregate millions of data points from weather services to create these event overlays. This data visualization and geospatial sophistication enhances our overall operational intelligence and helps us deploy the right people, to the right place at the right time.”

Not only can this data be used to enhance underwriting decisions, Travelers can also share this intelligence with clients to guide their decision making as well. 

Another example is Travelers’s new AI-based ergonomic safety tool. Users simply upload a smartphone video of a worker performing a task or sitting at their desk, and the software will quantify the ergonomic risk and offer guidance on how to mitigate it.

Data Democratization in Action

Like many insurance companies, Travelers has a long history of using data to drive decision making and enhance customer offerings. However, as the technology surrounding data & analytics has rapidly evolved over the past decade, leadership teams realized that they would have to embrace a more formalized approach to data democratization in order to ensure that everyone across the enterprise was comfortable working with modern data analytics techniques and tools, not just analysts and IT experts. 

With that in mind, Travelers created its Data Culture Program, a training program designed to educate all employees on the importance of data, how to use it to bolster their own decision making processes and provide a general overview of data management mechanics (i.e. how data is generated, consumed and governed).

Another component of this initiative is data accessibility. To ensure Travelers employees have access to the right data and the right time, it partnered with solution provider Alation to develop a new enterprise data catalog that, in short, newly minted citizen analysts with an Amazon-like user experience.

To help further ingrain innovation into its culture while also making data analytics “fun,” Travelers also hosts a predictive modeling competition for employees. For example, the 2020 contest saw 21 teams from across the organization compete to develop a new predictive model to help the claims organization predict the severity of an accident as well as the resulting payout. 


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