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Getting to Know… James Burton, managing director, LexisNexis Risk Solutions, Insurance


Getting to Know… James Burton, managing director, LexisNexis Risk Solutions, Insurance

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In the latest instalment of our ‘Getting to Know…’ series, Modern Insurance Magazine sat down with James Burton, managing director of LexisNexis Risk Solutions – Insurance, UK & Ireland, to discuss the power of data, the challenges currently experienced by the industry, and how innovations in data enhancement can improve the customer lifecycle in Home and Motor claims.


Q. Hi James! Tell me about your role – what do you do, and what do you find most interesting about this?

A. As managing director of the UK and Ireland business of LexisNexis Risk Solutions, Insurance, I have the great privilege of working with a team of highly skilled people to position our business as the data, advanced analytics and technology partner of choice to general insurance providers across the UK. We work with insurance providers across the spectrum, from the largest operators to small regional brokers. In essence, we help insurance providers assess risk with a higher degree of accuracy by leveraging their own data, market-wide contributory data as well as proprietary and public data. All data needs to be actionable and answer the ‘so what?’ question – that is what drives us as a business. With this mission, we’ve rolled out a series of innovations this year to bring unique insights around properties, vehicles, and soon, claims histories.

For me, the most interesting aspect of the role is when we’re challenged by an insurance provider to find a solution to a data dilemma, or when we see an insurance problem coming that we want to solve through data.

LexisNexis Vehicle Build is a great example of this. We anticipated that insurance providers would soon be asking us to tell them what Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) are fitted to a specific car, and how those ADAS fitments work to reduce claims. We are now answering that question all day, every day for some of the UK’s largest motor insurance providers.


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

A. The insurance sector is facing multiple challenges, not least rising claims costs in motor. The more we can fill in the blanks about a vehicle to help insurance providers better understand its current and future value, the better the market can price with accuracy. Bring in policy history information and we can deliver even more actionable insights – that’s a big focus for us right now.

In addition, we are building the market’s first contributory claims database to provide a marketwide view of home and motor claims for an individual. This could revolutionise how the market assesses risk.  The launch is planned for 2024, so there’s a great deal of work going on behind the scenes with the seed contributors to make this potential game-changer a reality. For the first time, insurance providers will be able to see the full claims history for an individual and their asset – be it for the home or for the car.


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

A. I would say to the younger me, ‘be patient, try different roles and say yes to as many opportunities as possible’. Unless you have a very clear career goal and subsequent career path, I firmly believe that the best way to find out what you want to do and where your skills lie is to try a few things, broaden your experience, and in this way you also grow as a person. You do that by moving in different circles, whether that’s industries, sectors, departments or projects. The key point is to learn as you go, practice your skills to get better at them, and ensure you experience both aspects of failure and success.


Q. What would be your prediction for the industry in 2024 and beyond?

A. Times have been incredibly tough for much of the market. As a result, we’re seeing the demand for data increasing, in particular, insurance providers are looking to understand more about the data they already hold to support renewal strategies and to reduce attrition. I think that trend will continue, underlining the value of data linking and matching solutions to create the single customer view.


Q. What made you want to work in this industry?

A. Society needs insurance to function, yet engagement in this essential service remains quite low.  I have always worked in financial services, but I could see the potential of data to be transformative in customer engagement opportunities for insurance providers, and I wanted to play a role in that transformation.  We’re still on that journey, but the way the customer experience has been streamlined at quote in the past few years is staggering. We now know the possibilities of integrating more data at speed throughout the customer journey.


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

A. Being made managing director of LexisNexis Risk Solutions, Insurance is right up there!


Q. How would you like to see the insurance industry improved in the near future? 

A. Rather predictably, it all comes back to data. I think there’s a fantastic opportunity for insurance providers to be more engaged with customers, throughout the policy lifetime and even to help them mitigate their own risks.  This is not a new idea, but we’re getting to a point where the data is becoming available to better understand the risk of both the customer and the home or vehicle at a granular level, including past claims for the asset, perhaps even before the customer owned it.

For example, if a customer has just purchased a new home, they cannot be expected to know if that home has any prior claims for a break-in or damage. Contributory claims data from LexisNexis Precision Claims will connect the dots for this important detail. Combining policy and vehicle data means we might also be able to predict when an individual could be about to make changes to their motor insurance policy. The possibilities of combining data sources are exciting, and hold great potential to boost engagement and change perceptions about insurance.


Content provided by LexisNexis Risk Solutions, Insurance – UK and Ireland.