New spending data primed to fill insurer knowledge gap

Oct 10, 2014 -- A comprehensive new dataset is primed to fill a troublesome knowledge gap for life insurers by providing key insights into customer lifestyles.

MDS Profiles - Spend is a new nationwide geo-demographic dataset which drills down to reveal the spending habits of Australian localities across 12 key areas, including tobacco, medical care, healthy food and alcohol.

Developed by digital mapping specialist MapData Services (MDS), the dataset gives insurers the ability to cross-reference policy details provided by current and prospective customers against official Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data relating to their location.

MDS General Manager Cassandra Barker said the company developed the dataset following industry calls for greater insights into the connections between spending, lifestyle and risk.

“The message from Australia’s leading insurers is that to calculate risk and provide fair and equitable premiums they need a greater understanding of a policyholder’s likely behaviour and lifestyle,” Ms Barker said.

“Are people living in a particular area more likely to go to the gym? What is the ratio of junk food to fresh fruit and vegetables purchased? How much money are they spending on medical care? 

“Until now, insurers have never had access to this information.”

While the dataset provides some visibility of a potential customer’s lifestyle, Ms Barker said MDS Profiles - Spend could also help insurers target new markets in low-risk geographical areas.

“This dataset will have a significant influence on the business decisions of Australia’s top insurers,” Ms Barker said.

“For instance, insurers can use the dataset to determine which areas have lower consumption rates of tobacco and alcohol.

“Using this information, companies can pinpoint where people who are leading healthier lifestyles may reside.

“These areas can then be targeted via marketing campaigns tailored to that particular group, their interests and spending habits.

“Insurers will also be able to reassess existing policies to develop a greater understanding of where they are exposed to unacceptable amounts of risk.”

Ms Barker said the new dataset is populated with authoritative data sourced from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

“This is an official, independently verified dataset and, when combined with an insurer’s own data, forms a complete picture of an individuals’ lifestyle,” Ms Barker said.

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