Analyzing the Data

Chubb uses BI software to get a better grasp on information.

Hurricanes in Florida. Floods in Louisiana. Fires in California. CEOs in hot water over regulatory concerns. Couple those issues with a cyclical profit-and-loss business model that tries to factor in the unknown, and theres a potential recipe for trouble for insurance companies.

Around 2000, Chubb, a global company that specializes in insuring individuals and companies through independent brokers, found itself in a tough spot. Its European division, Chubb Insurance Company of Europe, wasnt hitting its targets. And CICE—which operates in 13 countries and has more than 1,200 employees and annual revenues of more than $1.2 billion, a fraction of the companys overall worth of $14 billion in revenue and $48 billion in assets—had no insight into its business performance or what to expect in the future.

"Chubb was in a difficult phase. We had not-so-good results," said Thierry Daucourt, regional manager of Central & Eastern Europe Region at Chubb Insurance. "Everyone had an explanation, but, somehow, no one trusted the numbers coming from our system. The fundamental question was, We passed poor results. Where the hell are we coming from? The conclusion: We didnt know what was going on. We didnt know what our business was doing."

The issues stemmed from fragmented reporting systems that resulted in an inability to gather historical data, slice and dice it, and apply it to future trends. Chubbs management decided the company had to know more about its fundamental business and about the future.

"On a management level, we had to know better. We wanted an information system that was much more flexible," said Daucourt, in Zurich, Switzerland. "We wanted to look at different dimensions [of data] and different angles—policies that we were writing and claims that those policies were producing. We wanted to look at things easier."

/zimages/6/28571.gifClick here to read more about the power of business intelligence.

From those basic business issues stemmed the IT initiative for EMIR, or European Management Information Repository, a business intelligence platform from Cognos. The platform is a multiyear project that began in 2003 and should be completed—in the European division—in 2008. Additionally, at the end of February, EMIR will go live in five countries in South America. Some work has started in Chubbs Asia-Pacific offices, and the group is in the early exploratory phases with its U.S. parent company, in Warren, N.J.

"EMIR is our first pure BI tool in Europe. There are some other activities with our U.S. parent, but that is a little more point solutions. What were doing differently is looking to address the full functionality of BI within all the business units of our organization—multiple different domains covering all management information reporting through one BI tool," said Peter Thomas, vice president of Chubbs European Enterprise IT group, in London.

EMIR consists of Cognos 7.3 PowerPlay cubes for flexible analysis, Cognos 7.3 PowerPlay Web Reports for fixed format summary reports, an in-house drill-through and list reports tool, and Cognos 8 Report Studio for creating dashboards. For development tools, Chubb is using Informaticas PowerCenter and PL/SQL ETL (extraction, transformation and loading) capabilities on an Oracle database.

Next Page: The cost of doing business.