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UIA: Reducing poor risks and improving customer service

  • Being quite a small insurer, we have to look for competitive advantages where we can.

    David Trefusis, Pricing Manager, UIA

UIA is a mutual insurance company with over 100 years' experience of providing great value, high quality insurance to members of selected trade unions and other not-for-profit organisations. UIA underwrites home insurance and legal expenses cover, and provides travel, pet and car insurance through a brokered solution. Our services are now also available to the general public through our new brand: Together Mutual Insurance, which launched earlier this year.

How long have you been using OS data in your geographical information systems (GIS)?

David Trefusis, Pricing Manager, UIA

We started using GIS only at the beginning of this year, so it’s still quite new to us as a company. We quickly realised the value the right data can add to an insurer, so we considered our options very carefully before concluding Ordnance Survey data was the best choice.

What do you use GIS for?

We use it to help us decide if we are prepared to offer insurance on a particular property and if so, what price we should charge. For example, we can look at a building and its surrounding area to help us judge the risk of flooding or storm damage through scores and so on.

How do you use our data?

Ordnance Survey data allows us to see exactly where a building is on a map, rather than having to guess – which can lead to costly mistakes. It also provides the coordinates of the building, which means we can look up additional information on that exact building from other datasets we have, allowing us to build a more complete picture of the risk.

OS OpenData in Risk Insight from Europa Technologies

In order to visualise everything, we use a third-party piece of software called Risk Insight which is provided by Europa Technologies. Risk Insight allows you to display numerous datasets as layers over Ordnance Survey mapping data, which means you can actually see where flood waters might extend to in a given area, and therefore whether the property we insure might be at risk. At the moment, only a few in our Pricing and Underwriting teams use the software, but we are considering rolling it out to our claims department too.

What savings are you making as a result of using GIS?

It’s still early days, but I would expect we have already made some good savings due to declining some very poor risks that would otherwise have slipped through the net. It’s also made our internal underwriting referral process quicker, which is good for us and for policyholders.

What are the other benefits for UIA using GIS?

Before GIS, risk data was only really available at a postcode level, which means there could be some properties that were far worse risks than the average for the group. This meant you couldn’t set a price that was adequate for all risks and sometimes this would lead to you being very under-priced for some properties. The use of GIS allows you to look at individual buildings and set more granular prices.

The products used

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