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Astera’s Guide to Insurance Data Quality and Governance

Mariam Anwar

Product Marketer

April 18th, 2024

Data forms the foundation of the modern insurance industry, where every operation relies on digitized systems, including risk assessment, policy underwriting, customer service, and regulatory compliance. Given this reliance, insurance companies must process and manage data effectively to gain valuable insight, mitigate risks, and streamline operations. A strategic approach to data management is needed to meet these demands — particularly a greater focus on high data quality and robust governance to guarantee accuracy, security, and compliance.

 The Dual Imperative: Upholding Data Quality and Governance

Data quality and governance are essential data management components, particularly in the insurance industry. These elements are crucial for its smooth and effective functioning.

Data Quality: Ensuring Accurate Decision-Making

Reliable and accurate data is critical for assessing and pricing risks associated with policyholders. It enables insurers to set appropriate premiums and coverage limits, minimizing underwriting losses. Moreover, accurate data is vital for meeting regulatory requirements, as regulators mandate the provision of verifiable data for financial reporting and compliance purposes. Additionally, high-quality data enhances decision-making within insurance companies, allowing them to effectively identify market trends, anticipate shifts in customer preferences, and tailor products and services.

Key aspects of data quality include:

  • Conducting accurate risk assessment
  • Developing reliable pricing strategies
  • Ensuring data integrity and verifiability for regulatory compliance

Data Governance: Safeguarding Sensitive Information

Data quality complements governance, which includes the policies, procedures, and controls put in place to regulate data collection, storage, access, and usage within an organization. Effective governance practices safeguard sensitive information, mainly Personally Identifiable Information (PII), from unauthorized access, breaches, and misuse. Adhering to robust governance frameworks allows insurers to ensure compliance with data privacy regulations. As a result, it helps them mitigate legal risks and maintain stakeholder trust.

Important aspects of governance include:

  • Establishing data handling policies
  • Implementing access controls
  • Ensuring compliance with data privacy regulations (e.g., GDPR, HIPAA)

The synergy between data quality and governance is crucial for the insurance industry’s integrity, regulatory compliance, and stakeholder trust. Prioritizing both aspects allows insurers to improve risk management practices, increase operational efficiency, and uphold the security and reliability of sensitive data throughout their operations.

Strategies for Effective Data Governance and Quality Management

Implementing effective data governance and quality management practices is essential for the insurance industry. Here are some best practices to consider:

  1. Establish Clear Roles and Responsibilities:   Introduce a system for requesting and approving access to data assets. This system, guided by clear policies and procedures, includes cataloging assets, defining ownership, and assigning roles and responsibilities. It operates under a well-structured governance framework, ensuring accountability and consistency in data management.
  2. Implement Robust Data Governance Frameworks: Adopt a structured approach to data governance by implementing frameworks such as COBIT, DAMA, or ISO 8000. These frameworks provide guidelines and best practices for managing data assets, ensuring data quality, and mitigating risks associated with data management.
  3. Invest in Data Quality Tools and Technologies: Use data quality tools to assess, cleanse, and monitor data quality across the organization. These tools can help identify and rectify data errors, inconsistencies, and duplications, ensuring the reliability and accuracy of data used for decision-making and reporting.
  4. Provide Ongoing Training and Education: Offer training programs and educational resources to employees at all levels to enhance their understanding of data governance principles and best practices. Ensure employees have the resources to manage data and adhere to data governance policies effectively.
  5. Implement Data Security Measures: Implement strong security protocols to protect sensitive data from unauthorized access. This includes encrypting data, implementing access controls, conducting regular security audits, and staying up-to-date with data privacy regulations.
  6. Establish Data Quality Metrics and KPIs: Define metrics to measure the effectiveness of data governance and quality management initiatives. Monitor and track these metrics regularly to identify areas for improvement. This monitoring helps ensure continuous enhancement of data quality and governance practices.

How Astera Drives Data Quality and Governance in Insurance Operations

As discussed above, investing in the right data management tools is crucial for ensuring data quality and governance. Astera is a leading provider of enterprise-level data management solutions. Its solutions are designed to handle complex data structures, making it an ideal choice for the insurance industry. Delivering high-performance, scalable, and intuitive data management capabilities, Astera empowers insurers to make informed decisions based on accurate, timely, and reliable data.

Data Quality Management with Astera

Astera’s data integration solution is a robust platform designed to ensure the highest data quality standards for the insurance industry. It implements a series of checks and balances throughout the data integration process, validating data at every stage, from extraction and transformation to loading.

This rigorous validation process is crucial in the insurance industry, where data accuracy, such as policy details, claims data, and customer information, directly affects the level of service provided to policyholders. Astera’s solution identifies and manages data inconsistencies, duplicates, and errors, ensuring the data used in decision-making processes is accurate and reliable.

Moreover, it standardizes data formats, ensuring uniformity and consistency across different data sources. Access to reliable data is particularly important in the insurance industry, where data is often sourced from various channels, including agents, brokers, and digital platforms. By standardizing data formats, Astera’s solution eliminates discrepancies and enhances the accuracy of data-driven decisions.

Astera’s Data Governance Solution

Astera’s data governance solution provides a robust framework for managing access to sensitive insurance data. This solution seamlessly integrates with Astera’s data integration solution, enhancing the overall data management process.

A key feature of Astera’s data governance solution is its ability to centralize access to all data assets , enabling seamless sharing across departments within the insurance company. While ensuring easy access to data, the solution implements controls to restrict access appropriately. This balance between data accessibility and control is crucial in the insurance industry, where different teams need specific datasets to carry out functions like claim processing, risk assessment, policy management, and customer service.

Additionally, Astera’s solution ensures that only authorized personnel can access sensitive insurance information, which helps protect PII . The solution achieves this through request-based access controls. Under this system, a user is required to request access to a specific asset formally, and the asset owner has the authority to grant or deny this access.  This feature is particularly crucial in the insurance industry, where sensitive data such as policyholder details, claim histories, and financial information must be strictly controlled and protected.

Use Case Scenario

Let’s consider ABC Insurance, a large-scale insurance company, to understand how Astera’s solutions can be applied in a real-world scenario.  It relies on various data sources for risk assessment and policy management. However, disparate data sources and inconsistent data management practices have resulted in poor data quality. This has led to significant challenges:

  • Inaccurate Risk Assessments: The company struggles to accurately assess risks associated with policyholders, impacting their ability to set appropriate premiums and coverage limits.
  • Data Breach Concerns: Inadequate data governance measures have left ABC Insurance vulnerable to data breaches, potentially exposing sensitive customer information to unauthorized access and compromising data security.

Implementing Astera’s Solutions:

ABC Insurance implements Astera’s comprehensive data management and governance solutions to address these challenges, leveraging specific features to tackle their issues head-on.

Enhancing Data Quality:

Astera’s solution offers advanced data profiling, cleansing, and standardization features. For example, ABC Insurance can apply validation checks such as ensuring that all policyholder addresses are in a valid format (e.g., street address, city, state, zip code). These data quality rules ensure data accuracy and consistency across the organization.

Ensuring Robust Data Governance:

Astera’s data governance solution enables ABC Insurance to establish granular access controls, ensuring that only authorized personnel can access sensitive customer data. For instance,  at ABC Insurance, access to policyholder medical records is granted to members of the Underwriting Department only upon their formal request and subsequent approval by the authorized asset owner.  Furthermore, access to specific types of information within these records, such as sensitive personal information can be restricted to only authorized personnel within the department.

Results and Benefits:

Following the implementation of Astera’s solutions, ABC Insurance experiences significant improvements across various aspects of their operations:

  • Accurate Risk Assessments: Astera’s data profiling, cleansing, and standardization features allow ABC Insurance to achieve greater accuracy in risk assessments, enabling it to set appropriate premiums and coverage limits, ultimately reducing underwriting losses.
  • Enhanced Data Security: Astera’s data governance solution allows ABC Insurance to establish robust access controls, reducing unauthorized access to sensitive customer information.
  • Improved Decision-Making: Access to reliable data enables ABC Insurance to make informed decisions, identify market trends, and develop tailored products and services, which improves business outcomes and drives success.


A growing demand for personalized customer service and stricter data protection rules will increase the insurance industry’s reliance on data. Hence , it becomes essential for insurance companies to invest in advanced data management solutions like Astera.

Astera offers a unified, user-friendly solution combining data quality management and governance. Its automation capabilities streamline complex data processes, allowing insurance companies to focus more on strategic decision-making and less on manual data tasks.

Astera’s solutions empower insurance companies to improve data accuracy, enhance security, and ensure efficient data management processes. Plus, the flexibility and scalability of Astera’s platform makes it a future-proof investment to deal with the surge in data volume.

Take the next step in your data management journey. Download a free trial of Astera’s solution today and see how it can empower your insurance company!

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