Insurance network deploys Microsoft business intelligence


news Insurance Advisernet (IA) has deployed Microsoft’s Business Intelligence data visualisation suite in order to bring greater efficiency and customer understanding network of independent advisers.

The network provides insurance solutions for small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs), with IA currently overseeing 140 insurance practices, providing support and performance reporting to customers across Australia.

Previously, IA said in a statement distributed by Microsoft Australia this week, it struggled with a “disparate and costly set of reporting tools that were difficult to use”, and could only generate reports on a weekly or monthly basis.

The limitations this brought about meant that customers often did not receive reports when required, and information quickly became out of date.

“To provide better insights and give [our] advisers a competitive advantage, [we] wanted a more dynamic, self-service solution that would work smoothly with existing technologies, including Microsoft Office 365,” IA explained.

Steve Dymond, General Manager, Business and Information Systems at Insurance Advisernet Australia explained: “We were using a lot of Office 365 tools, and it’s really become our entire world. But we had this reporting package from another vendor that didn’t integrate with it.”

Following a recent move to Microsoft’s Azure Cloud, IA brought systems integrator TTS on board to help implement a new business intelligence solution.

IA said it has now done away its “information silos” and replaced various reporting tools with a platform that includes Power BI, Azure SQL Database and SQL Server Analysis Services – all running on Azure virtual machines.

The new analytics tools also work with Office 365, providing remote access to productivity apps and business insights in one solution.

“IA now has deeper understanding of customers, and the team is armed with more targeted selling strategies,” Dymond said. “We’re already looking at adding new data sources, including financial and customer relationship management systems.”

“[W]e can look at our portfolio and lay over it public flood and bush fire data, for example, and provide our clients advice on whether they’re more at risk. These types of things just weren’t possible in the past,” he added.

With Microsoft’s platform in place, the company said it is already reaping the benefits of data:

“We have a roadmap ahead for the next 12 months that includes not just looking backward at our data to understand what’s happened in the past, but using the information we have to drive growth in the business going forward,” said Dymond.

Insurance Advisernet is a principal member of NIBA, the National Insurance Brokers Association, and the largest member of the publicly-listed AUB Group (formerly Austbrokers Holdings Ltd) – one of the leading general insurance broking groups in Australasia with over 450,000 clients and $4.5 billion in gross written premiums.