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Get to know…Carla McDonald, LexisNexis Risk Solutions

Modern Insurance Magazine sits with Carla McDonald, Director of Product Management, Claims, Insurance, LexisNexis Risk Solutions, U.K. and Ireland, for a chat about the insurance industry.

Tell us about your role at your firm. What do you do, and what do you find most interesting about it?

My current role within LexisNexis Risk Solutions insurance business is director of product management for our claims data solutions, which involves focusing on the collection and use of highly granular, market-wide claims data within the customer journey. It is an exciting time as we are currently working on home and motor claims and will move onto commercial SME claims next.

Before joining LexisNexis as a senior product manager in 2018, I had worked in the financial services market for 10 years. It was the prospect of working for LexisNexis Risk Solutions that was the key draw for me as the business had already built a great reputation as a trusted provider of data, analytics and technology. At first, I focused on managing existing product updates and enhancements then moved to lead product development. My main responsibility was launching our new ADAS product, LexisNexis® Vehicle Build, which enables insurance providers to use ADAS data to support pricing and underwriting decisions. This was a fantastic product to be involved with as it is such an innovative data solution to launch into the market.

Insurance touches all of our lives on a daily basis so I love solving some long-standing problems for the insurance industry and help change some of the outdated perceptions of insurance providers.  In essence it comes down to providing accurate data to support fair pricing, a smooth customer experience at all points in the journey and to reduce fraud.

What are the challenges facing your business right now, and how are you working to overcome them?

The pandemic has caused a massive shift in consumer behaviour and some changes may become permanent. Many people are using their cars more or less compared to prior to the pandemic and some are working from home at least part of the week for the foreseeable future.  We are also highly conscious of the constant threat of extreme weather on insurance losses.  This is all changing the nature of risk that insurance providers need to understand. We are constantly working to find new data insights to help insurance providers understand risk more accurately in close to real-time – whether that’s through environmental data, highly granular property characteristics data, vehicle centric data as well as powerful contributory data on policy history, quotes and claims.

It’s well understood that the pandemic has accelerated the market’s ability to service customers in an online environment. We have been developing solutions for many years that help these processes including prefill solutions, data driven underwriting, pricing applications, and contactless claims processing. Our role is to continue to help insurance providers interact effectively with their customers and understand how risks are continuing to change.

If you could go back to the start of your professional career, what piece of advice would you give to yourself?

It would be to remember that you must be bold and brave to make things happen. Sometimes there are tasks or challenges that we face that may seem impossible at the time, but often the things that are most daunting are the most rewarding.

What would be your prediction for the industry in 2022 and beyond?

Data, data and more data. There will be no shortage of data and insurance providers could easily become overwhelmed.  The market will therefore be looking for the most powerful data sources delivered in a streamlined way direct into their eco-systems. Data will need to tell them something new to gain a competitive edge and to help them meet the new pricing regulations. In particular, insurance providers will need to form a single customer view and use data enrichment to assess renewal business. This will be a big shift from renewal processes prior to 2022.

I also see more of a shift towards using data to help customers mitigate risks. For example, live environmental data on river flows and floods, plus access to new data sources such as information from satellites and aerial imagery could help customers to protect themselves in extreme weather events and support home and commercial property insurance claims.

We will continue to work with insurance providers to help them understand the advantages of new data sources. As the industry rises to the challenge of pricing in a highly competitive market, maximising the opportunities of its data models to create more intelligible insights and gain a strategic advantage over competitors will be vital.

What made you want to work in this industry?

I have always seen insurance as a dynamic industry to work in with lots of different opportunities. I had worked on an insurance credit solution before and was very keen to explore the industry further.

However, it was the team’s vision and commitment that stood out to me most, and I admired their dedication to serving customers and working to provide solutions to the market that would make a difference. It was their passion and dedication to the industry that made me want to be a part of the team.

Thus far, what has been your most significant or proudest achievement in your current or previous roles?

I continue to be proud of the work that my team and I produce for our customers but if I had to pick a single achievement it would be bringing the LexisNexis® Vehicle Build solution to market. Vehicle Build was the culmination of several years research and development to help insurance providers understand and evaluate the specific standard and optional ADAS fitted to a vehicle at a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) level. Not only does this help insurance providers to utilise new data in the market, but it will help to improve loss and expense ratios and support competitive pricing.

Our team of data scientists analysed more than 3 million vehicles and tested the solution with motor insurance providers in the U.K. and Europe before bringing Vehicle Build to market. Being part of the team that built, tested and successfully launched the product with some of our biggest European customers was very exciting and I am looking forward to seeing how we can grow the solution over the coming years.

How would you like to see the insurance industry improved next year / 5 years / by the time you retire?

The insurance sector is making great strides in improving diversity and inclusivity and this is something that is only going to improve. I know that LexisNexis Risk Solutions, like other organisations across the industry, is dedicated to creating a more diverse workplace and is always reviewing processes and procedures to make this a reality. We have female leadership groups within the organisation that are playing a key role in attracting women to the business, and this is something I would like to see as the norm across the industry in the next few years.

I am also tremendously excited about the prospect of bringing granular claims data into insurance workflows. This will be a big step change for the market and LexisNexis Risk Solutions, as a trusted data custodian, is perfectly positioned to deliver this solution to the market from 2022 onwards.

As for retirement, let’s not go there just yet! I have so much more I want to do, thank you!


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