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Keeping Insurance Data Quality Healthy: X by 2 Architect Reveals Four Ways at IASA Michigan

NOVI, MI -- (Marketwired) -- 04/16/14 -- As core insurance systems develop problems, data-quality issues grow undetected in the data warehouse, Yunus Burhani, a senior architect with insurance IT consultancy X by 2, told the Michigan Chapter of the Insurance Accounting and Systems Association's (IASA) annual meeting today.

"Problems usually only show up when reports are generated from the warehouse and business people question the validity of the data," he said. "By then it is too late. The solution is to proactively find problems and fix them as soon as they are detected," Burhani said.

He discussed a typical data warehouse at a health insurer, but said the same principles apply to property/casualty and life insurers.

A standard approach is to keep track of the number of records in the file and make sure that same number ends up in warehouse, he said. "Take this concept further and use it with individual fields that are important for the business."

Aggregate certain data and make sure that the percentage is as expected and lies within a trend, he said. Calculate the percentage that matched upfront and store it in the aggregate table. This helps identify problems with the data quickly if normal trends change, Burhani said.

The system should automatically issue alerts whenever it detects a problem.

Build a Data-Quality Team

Insurers should build a team whose job is to identify the data-quality issues and take it to the data steward/governance team for corrective actions. The team has to be knowledgeable about the business and understands trends and should use the he outlined to find problems and report them, Burhani said.

"The key to making any data warehouse successful is to continually build trust in the data," he said. "Checking for data anomalies is not a one-time thing. It needs to done routinely.

"Having a set of strategies for automating data qualities check helps in maintaining the trust in data over time. Building a support team that is vigilant about finding data-quality issues is a must for ongoing data quality."

X by 2 (www.xby2.com) is a technology consulting firm in Farmington Hills, Mich., that specializes in IT transformation projects for the insurance industry. Its hands-on experts provide planning, architecture, leadership, turnaround and implementation services. Burhani can be reached at [email protected].

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