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Munich Re puts data analytics into services for a ‘riskier world’

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Re-insurer combines a Hadoop data lake, SAS analytics and SAP Hana to create new cyber and other insurance services

We live in a risky world, getting riskier all the time, and Marcus Winter, head of re-insurance development at Munich Re, sees a world to be insured and re-insured as it becomes ever more complex and digital.

The Munich-based re-insurance firm has a global reach, and is seeking to develop newer services, including in cyber insurance, that draw on data analytics – services that would not have been possible even five years ago, he says. These services are built on a data management infrastructure of a Hadoop data lake, based on a Hortonworks distribution of the open source data store, SAS analytics, and SAP Hana for structured data.

Winter describes cyber insurance as a $2.5bn market, encompassing indemnification of losses from malware and hacking. An example would be if a bank has to replace customer credit cards because of data loss.

Munich Re, which had revenue of €48.9bn in 2016, has 7-8% of the cyber market and anticipates growth in that market as the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) approaches next May.

“Cyber insurance is different from other forms of risk transfer insurance, for example flood risk to housing,” says Winter. “Those change very slowly over time, and so past experience is a good guide for prediction. That is not so in cyber – there is a greater reliance on technology due to the real-time dimension.”

This has entailed building a data management architecture with a data lake, the Hana database technology, and SAS analytics.

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