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April 02, 2019

Interview: Jeff Mason, Groundspeed

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 such as email, spreadsheets, and PDFs.

Oliver Wyman Partner Matt Leonard caught up with innovator and entrepreneur Jeff Mason, CEO and Founder of Groundspeed. Groundspeed, a data science and artificial intelligence (AI) company, is tackling unstructured insurance data, a problem faced by many property and causality brokers, carriers and managing general agents. 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. Imagine a large group of people extracting information from tens of thousands of documents and formatting it in a uniform way.

One of Groundspeed's 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 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.

Effective networking with investors and fellow industry innovators has also helped Groundspeed to thrive. Jeff is a big fan of InsureTech Connect, the world's largest insurtech gathering, sponsored by Oliver Wyman. It was at the very first Insuretech 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 in 2018, the company secured $30 million in series B funding.) “It was the best four hours I ever spent,” Jeff said.


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