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NZI picks SAS to tackle data cul de sac

SAS made a huge difference in our ability to understand and price our risk profiles, says Carl Rajendram, manager for commercial pricing and analytics.

NZI has picked SAS to help improve the integrity of its data, allowing it to take greater advantage of geographical information systems to identify exact locations of insured properties.

“We do insurance pricing and the key ingredient of that is the quality of data,” says Carl Rajendram, national manager for commercial pricing and analytics at NZI, a business division of IAG New Zealand.

NZI used to rely on codes from New Zealand’s Territorial Local Authority database to locate many of its customers. The data, however, covered a vast area rather than specific addresses.

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We can pinpoint right down to individual properties and overlay them with risk ratings for more equitable pricing and underwriting decisions.

Carl Rajendram, NZI

Rajendram says after implementing SAS Data Quality solution, it was able to zero in on individual properties and identify risk factors such as whether it is on a slope or near the coast.

The SAS deployment has made a huge difference in our ability to understand and price our risk profiles, says Rajendram. “We can pinpoint right down to individual properties and overlay them with risk ratings for more equitable pricing and underwriting decisions.”

Before implementing SAS, only about 70 per cent of addresses were of a standard that would allow geocoding, he says. After installing the solution, it now has a match rate of nearly 90 per cent.

Rajendram says using a tool that has knowledge bases peculiar to New Zealand was critical because each country has peculiarities around addressing standards and postal codes.

Rajendram adds the internal team could have built its own validation tools to prepare the data for geocoding but this would have taken three to four months.

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“The key thing is how quickly we execute," he says, adding, “The real skill set we want to develop is the analysis of the information."

He says SAS had spent two days showing the NZI team how the solution could be used to validate address data for accurate geo-spatial purposes. “We started seeing a return on our investment in a little over a week and we had the results we sought within a month.”

NZI can now use this experience for other processes or fields other than address information, says Rajendram.

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