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December 06, 2018

Oliver Wyman ITC 2018 Interview: Jeff Mason

The CEO of Groundspeed on unlocking the power of data.

Key Takeaway
Machine learning can capture more of the everyday data locked in everyday applications: email, spreadsheets, .pdfs.

There were dozens of insurtech companies in the exposition hall at Las Vegas’s MGM Grand Hotel, the locale for the Insuretech Connect 2018 conference sponsored by Oliver Wyman. Many of these new companies had great ideas that could potentially disrupt and transform the insurance industry.  Oliver Wyman’s Matt Leonard caught up with one key innovator and entrepreneur Jeff Mason, CEO and Founder of Groundspeed.

Groundspeed is a data analytics company that is tackling a problem faced by many property and causality brokers, carriers and managing general agents. The problem is this: A lot of valuable information is trapped within emails, PDF documents and Excel spreadsheets.  This information could help insurers (and their clients) gain valuable insights about their operations and better understand pricing and market trends.

Some companies have tried to unlock this information manually, but doing so is a time consuming and expensive process that is also prone to error. That makes sense intuitively. Imaging a large group of people extracting information from tens of thousands of documents and formatting it in a uniform way.

One of Groundspeed customers, a top five property and insurance carrier, estimated that as much as 80% of its information was lost in its previous effort to manually extract data from PDF, Excel and Word files. Enter Groundspeed.  Its machine learning algorithms extracted and cleaned the carrier’s data. Groundspeed also created a method to continue to delivery of this information to the company’s underwriting system.  For another Groundspeed client, its machine-learning algorithm culled through 150,000 files containing policy documents, binders, quotes, certificates and applications and then provided data analytics and fine tuned metrics, like retention rates and attachment points.

As for Insuretech Connect, Mr. Mason is a big fan of the conference. It was at the very first Insurectech Connect his fortune changed. In just four hours Groundspeed landed a “champion” board member, the company’s biggest client and lead series A investor. (Earlier this year company recently secured $30 million in series B funding.) “It was the best four hours I ever spent,” Mr. Mason says.

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