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Leading insurer learns new skills – and combats fraud in smarter ways

Embedding its Intellectual Property into essential systems is critical for this insurer, meaning knowledge transfer, training and user adoption are as important as the technology itself.

A long-time SAS® user in business areas that include financial reporting, customer relationship management and fraud, albeit to a limited degree, this leading UK general insurer decided to extend its capabilities by bringing disparate solutions together onto a single, more powerful and scalable platform. "Our Premium Support team was engaged to help get the platform up and running," says Jeremy Clarke, Client Services Manager, SAS. "Following that success, we became involved in discussions around a new fraud solution." The company's philosophy is to do as much work itself as possible, "putting its own Intellectual Property into whatever it builds," says Chris Campbell, Senior Project Manager. "From the get-go they were keen to use the technology themselves to create their own models. Knowledge transfer was just as important as the technology we were delivering."

Proof-of-concept work focused on online fraud - inaccurate or misleading information included in applications for insurance – with plans to extend into claims and other types of fraud. The project team created a model that proved the value of the technology, which comprised the SAS® Fraud Framework for Insurance alongside data mining and social network analysis tools. Clarke says, "We implemented a 'sliver': getting a narrow part of the entire solution to work all the way through. Trainers also started working with the platform administrator and users." He says that SAS® Education was involved from the earliest proposal stage, "as we knew it would be an integral part of delivery. Until then, in-house skills were mainly focused on programming." User Adoption services were also considered essential, including a flexible approach with customised workshops designed around the customer's precise needs, and timed to coincide with different stages of the project implementation plan. This enabled the in-house team to acquire the skills required in the fastest and most focused ways.

SAS® Fraud Centre of Excellence

Chris Campbell's brief was to "productionise" the proof-of-concept: install a clean set of the fraud and social network analysis toolset prior to a "design and extend" phase that involved bringing in a consulting team from SAS' Fraud Centre of Excellence in Ireland. "This insurer likes to do things in-house, despite only having a small team. It wants to 'own' its solutions, meaning it's rare for an external vendor to get through the door, so this engagement was quite a coup. This approach meant it wasn't used to working with consulting teams, and we also saw opportunities to help them improve their internal project management capability. So we did the 'heavy lifting' in project management, guiding them in how to run a project like this." With a blended team working on-site, including specialists from the Fraud Centre of Excellence, the insurer benefited from both domain expertise and deep technical know-how. "This was a joint effort, and a logistics challenge given the locations of the various individuals involved," Campbell says. "However, our breadth of capability and flexibility meant we delivered whatever the customer needed."

The output was a list of risk-scored applications, helping underwriters to decide if an application is fraudulent. "We took them to the point where they could score applications in the ways they wanted, with user testing among underwriters to verify model performance. Few insurers are investigating online applications fraud to this depth." The company is now continuing to refine and develop its approaches. This includes focusing on issues such as non-disclosure in applications: using fraud analytics and examining an applicant's social networks to flag potential risks, then contacting applicants within 24 hours to check specific details included in their application. The plan is to extend the new capabilities into claims fraud, an area where further financial benefits are expected. The ultimate goal is to integrate these new approaches with Case Management systems.

'One team' approach

Campbell says, "The big difference in this case, for me, is that from the outset our brief was to leave the customer in a position where it could greatly extend what we'd delivered. In other engagements, you can return after a few years and it's pretty much the same platform. Here, they wanted the foundations to build on, to gain the right knowledge and skills to apply their own insight and add new capabilities. Rather than the 'land and expand' approach you sometimes find with a big consultancy or systems integrator, this was about being flexible and nimble: empowering the customer to take things forward. We made that happen."

"From a services perspective, this is a good example of integrated delivery - a 'one team' approach," Clarke adds. "For example, the handover from Premium Support to Consulting was excellent, providing the customer with real continuity, and later we called on fraud specialists from our Centre of Excellence and worked with User Adoption experts from Education to give the customer more. And with so much planned upfront, in both the software and services, the customer had an excellent view of the total cost of ownership before actually embarking on the project."

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Leading insurer

Business Issue:
External resources and additional insight required to implement a new business-critical platform and fraud solution effectively - ensuring self-sufficiency in future development

Integrated services including SAS® Premium Support, SAS Consulting, Implementation, SAS® Education/User Adoption and specialists from the SAS® Fraud Centre of Excellence to deliver quickly and ensure high levels of knowledge/skills transfer

Successful delivery of a new consolidated platform optimised for fraud analytics, and enabling a small but highly dedicated in-house team to "own" the solution, embedding their own Intellectual Property and taking it forward

"The big difference in this case, for me, is that from the outset our brief was to leave the customer in a position where it could greatly extend what we'd delivered... this was about being flexible and nimble: empowering the customer to take things forward. We made that happen"

Chris Campbell

Senior Project Manager, SAS

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