Case Study

What if an insurer had immediate access to data that could help build a competitive advantage in uncertain times?






South Africa



Transforming Risk Assessment and Enabling Innovation in a Pandemic

When COVID-19 shook the world, insurers were confronted with pressing questions from their stakeholders: “How much money will we lose?” “Why will we lose that much?

With the onset of what many believed to be a once-in-200-years event, companies braced for unprecedented insolvencies. For Lombard, it was paramount to quantify potential losses and prepare for future uncertainties. “We had an idea but we couldn’t quantify potential losses properly, which we really needed.”

A Collaboration of Minds and Technology

Each of Lombard’s business units had its own method for evaluating default risks. The environment was cluttered with various Excel spreadsheets, varying data sources, and inconsistent analytical practices. This fragmented approach lacked the cohesion and reliability that the situation demanded.

The CEO of Lombard worked directly with Sand Technologies to lay the groundwork for a transformative partnership. The urgency of real-time data and quantifying risks in the evolving landscape of COVID-19 brought Sand Technologies into the fold.

Lombard’s central data team worked closely with Sand Technologies to find an alternative to its existing process of starting work at 4am to process fresh data and produce reports for divisional discussions that took place just a few hours later.

The Sand Technologies team diligently sought to understand the nuanced business landscape. Regular communication and an unwavering focus on data-driven decisions paved the way. Yet the core of the intervention wasn’t just data or technology. It was impartiality. While internal Lombard teams made assumptions, Sand Technologies came in with fact-based perspectives, often challenging existing views and propelling deeper interrogations.

“Our briefs were pretty [vague]…. The guys really took time to understand our businesses and the nuances of it. We had two to three phone calls per day for six months initially. Your teams are super smart; it was a matter of wrapping our heads around the discussions.”

A Comprehensive Dashboard to Inform Decision-Making

Sand Tech delivered dashboards that transformed Lombard’s risk-assessment process. But these weren’t just any dashboards. They were meticulously crafted to meet the unique challenges posed by the pandemic and the fragmented pre-solution landscape:

  • Unified Platform: A unified dashboard system emerged, replacing the numerous Excel sheets. This centralisation eliminated inconsistencies and standardised the risk assessment process.
  • Quick Reference Tools: These dashboards were designed for quick access. Instead of sifting through detailed model parameters, teams could view essential figures instantly. This immediate accessibility enabled quicker, more informed decisions, especially vital in the fast-paced environment created by the pandemic.
  • Empowerment in Negotiations: Armed with readily accessible data, teams could confidently engage in pricing discussions with clients. No longer reliant on sentiment or gut feelings, Lombard had tangible, up-to-date data to back their claims, strengthening their position in negotiations.

Transformative Insights and Outcomes

With the dashboards in place, Lombard experienced a positive shift in both its operational efficiency and financial outcomes.

Gaining complete visibility into all areas of risk enabled the insurer to perform full-spectrum risk evaluations and make more informed decisions, leading to more strategic product pricing and smarter investment strategies.

In addition, the integration of advanced models and simulations pushed Lombard’s team to enhance their skills through team upskilling. This growth was not just about technical expertise but also fostered a culture of continuous learning and improvement.

“By a country mile, the hardest part of the process is getting our team upskilled as fast as these models and simulations.”

From Adapting to Leading

Lombard’s digital transformation did more than help the insurance company to rapidly evolve in a volatile market. It positioned them at the forefront of industry innovation.

Armed with data-driven insights and state-of-the-art solutions, Lombard not only aligned with international standards, but also confidently matched leading global counterparts.
Where they once sought insights and industry benchmarks from their European counterparts, their new sophisticated solutions empowered them to take the lead with authority and foresight. It was more than just leveling the playing field; it was about redefining the boundaries and setting new industry standards.

Charting the Future: More than a Partnership

The partnership between Lombard and Sand Technologies signifies more than a technological transition. It is a testament to the power of understanding, collaboration, and data-driven decision-making in an ever-evolving landscape. As Lombard looks to the future, they do so with confidence, equipped with tools and insights to navigate any challenge that comes their way.

If you’re interested in learning more or would like to discuss how data science and AI can empower your financial services business, get in touch with our expert team today.

“I get a lot more sleep now, and no one is needlessly up against the time crunch. A lot of our teams struggled to have pricing discussions, negotiations, increases and even decreases, whereas now they can. They feel more equipped to have those discussions based on fact and not sentiment.”


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