Specialist insurer Cross Country Insurance Consultants is achieving better reporting and insights to grow the business with the implementation of advanced BI and analytics tools from software development firm Incasu.

Cross Country Insurance Consultants offers insurance products for outdoor, 4×4 and marine small craft and equipment, as well as specialised vintage and veteran car and motorcycle cover, and hunting cover. The company has deployed Incasu’s Insight BI and Insight Analytics to gain real-time visibility, automated reporting and insights to drive strategic decision-making. This has supported above-average growth for the company.

Jaco Janse van Rensburg, General Manager at Cross Country Insurance Consultants, says the move to Incasu came during the COVID-19 lockdown, when all insurers were challenged in reporting and staying profitable.

He notes: “Insurance is one of oldest businesses in the South African market, and has been behind the technology adoption curve. Our business had been operational for 24 years and, despite digital advances, there was still a lot of paperwork and time-consuming manual reporting involved. With around 780 brokers in our network, we need to stay in contact with all our brokers and the market. This means driving to brokers and seeing them face to face. During COVID-19, we were removed from that and our reporting fell months behind. COVID-19 exposed our digital immaturity and we became concerned about trends and potential loss of business.”

Cross Country Insurance sought to understand the business at a click of a button. The company worked with Incasu on a BI system that integrated data from multiple systems and databases, to give a single dashboard reflecting the most important data.

Janse van Rensburg says: “We had very specific requirements, so the solution was fully customised for us to report on areas like loss ratios, costs and various aspects of a claim, variables inside claims and premiums, and where we are losing business – even down to what demographic. It was quite a lengthy project, but it has delivered what we required. Now we are at a point where even our insurer identifies and values the data and insight capabilities we can provide.”

Rohan Mouton, business data analyst at Incasu, says: “We pull all the data that needs to be analysed and sit with clients to determine what information they need to have at a glance. We also design custom reports so they don’t have to build reports from scratch. These reports can also be scheduled to be automatically sent via e-mail.”

The system has delivered significant benefits and measurable improvements for the business. Janse van Rensburg says: “It has given us the ability to meet brokers already knowing what their problems are and go in with possible solutions. We no longer walk in blind, the engagements are much more meaningful and we can solve problems faster.”

“Operationally, it’s made my job a lot easier. I oversee underwriting and new business and am also the business manager responsible for the operational direction of the company. I used to access the necessary information manually. Reports that might once have taken two to three months are now updated daily on my dashboards. I can also review everything per section, which is useful if I want to report back to the insurer or see the profitability of one section alone.”

Incasu’s Insight Analytics solution is now being implemented and customised to further enhance the company’s ability to harness data for growth.

Daniel van Graan, software developer at Incasu, explains that Insight Analytics is designed to help professionals make decisions based on historical data. “We are looking at around 24 years of data, applying statistical techniques to create mathematical models that help bring to light trends that aren’t really visible on the live reports.”

Janse van Rensburg says: “With easy access to market trends data, historical data and current data, we are better positioned to predict how the market is moving. When drawing up our strategy and sales plan, I can rapidly gauge what happened in the past and predict our growth this year. Without access to this information, it would have taken months.”

Incasu tools have given Janse van Rensburg more time to focus on growing the business. He says: “The systems have changed the scope of what I do. Where I used to be largely office-bound, working on information, I now have time to work on bigger projects and scope new niche products with partners. The future holds several exciting new business ventures for Cross Country Insurance Consultants.

“Incasu has enabled us to move into the 4IR, free up resources and grow the business,” he says.

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