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The Evolution of Analytics with Sonya Crosby

Corinium's Vanessa Jalleh interviewed Sonya Crosby, Chief Data & Analytics Officer at QBE, on the recent state of analytics, how Chat GPT has changed the dynamics and what the future holds for us

What are some of the on-going challenges that you’re working on to boost data & analytics capacity across the business?

The external landscape is changing very quickly, especially with the explosion of GenAI activity. This has created urgency and a need for pace, but also raises important considerations around safeguards and shifting regulatory expectations. This means investing in new capabilities across the organisation, from how we understand this new landscape, to where our intellectual property resides, and how we consider the safety and privacy of our employees and customers.


As QBE operates in many global markets, it’s important that everyone is on the same page, so our Group data team have rolled out GenAI coaching for executives so that we all share a common understanding, common language, and have an opportunity to explore what this means for our business as a whole.


Have there been any changes in the way the insurance industry views data & analytics over the last year?

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning have been active in many businesses and industries for a very long time – think about back-end processing, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) or fraud detection and security. However, as a result of the proliferation of the conversation around GenAI, there is now a huge spotlight on data with heightened expectations, and a great deal of excitement. Data is now much more strongly linked to discussions on innovation and how to achieve better experiences for customers, and better business outcomes and efficiencies – all at pace.


New technologies come in waves and some only create a small ripple, however GenAI has the potential to be a game changer for many industries, including insurance, where we have such a lot of unstructured data. However, with this opportunity also comes new concerns about safety and the need for good data practice, management, and tools. Expectations are high, however without data readiness, the full opportunities of the tech may not be realised.


It’s also important to consider not just the ‘can we’, but the ‘should we’ of data use. At QBE, we’re reviewing and strengthening our existing policies to take into consideration new GenAI technologies, including developing an AI-specific policy to address the challenges and opportunities associated with these advancements. We’ve also set up region-specific Data Ethics Advisory Panels to help as a sounding board for AI considerations.


What are some of the key considerations for businesses now that ChatGPT has entered the scene?

The accessibility of GenAI means that anyone can jump online and play with a large language model (LLM), such as ChatGPT. While this presents opportunities for businesses to explore how to augment the process of finding and retrieving information that could help speed up decision-making, it’s also a real risk that requires oversight.


Some of the key challenges many organisations are currently exploring include how to manage where and how the data is being used, and how do we test to ensure the responses we receive are really true and fair? While applications within our business are contained to our own data, we need to think long and hard about external sources. What content is fuelling these LLMs, and is it helpful or harmful?


What considerations do data teams need to be mindful of when approaching the subject of data breaches?

Data security is and has always been a critical capability in business and we have policies on data access and use which aligns to the purpose for which it was collected.

Sonya Crosby was a speaker at our highly successful CDAO Sydney event. If you want to find out more about the evolution of analytics and how AI is transforming business, we have some amazing sessions coming up at CDAO Melbourne happening 2-4 September 2024, check out the agenda here.