Affiliated with:

Farouk Yassine, CPCU, CIDM, FIDM

Insurance Data Management and Statistical Reporting Leader

Farouk is responsible for managing an educational certification curriculum, training workshops, regional chapter meetings, an annual conference, and the needs of more than 4500+ active members.

Farouk has over 20 years’ experience in the insurance industry. Prior to joining IDMA, he spent five years as Senior Business Analyst in the commercial lines division of the Insurance Services Office (ISO) working with various insurance carriers on regulatory statistical reporting requirements and on improving the quality of their data submissions to ISO.

Farouk received his Certified Insurance Data Manager (CIDM) designation from IDMA, prior to joining the association, and his Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designation from The Institutes in 2007.  In 2018, he was honored by IDMA’s Board of Directors who elected him a Fellow in Insurance Data Management (FIDM). Farouk holds a Masters degree in Financial Economics from Rutgers University.

What attracted you to data management or IT, and why did you choose to pursue this career?

A data manager’s job is to take data and use it to help organizations make better business decisions. I’m good with numbers, collecting and analyzing data, and market research. I chose to be in data management because it encompasses the skills I’m good at, and I find data and data governance research and best practices interesting.

What has been your greatest career accomplishment so far, and why has it been important to your career?

My biggest career accomplishment so far is being recognized and honored by my data management colleagues and the Insurance Data Management Association (IDMA) Board of Directors who elected me as the Fellow in Insurance Data Management (FIDM) designation to join. There are only a few industry experts holding this prestigious honor.

Holding the FIDM designation has increased my career profile among my peers.

What are the two or three biggest challenges you face as a data management professional / CDO and how can we address them?

  • The amount of data being collected

With today’s data-driven organizations and the introduction of big data, risk managers and other employees are often overwhelmed with the amount of data that is collected. An organization may receive information on every incident and interaction that takes place on a daily basis, leaving analysts with thousands of interlocking data sets.

There is a need for a data system that automatically collects and organizes information. Manually performing this process is far too time-consuming and unnecessary in today’s environment. An automated system will allow employees to use the time spent processing data to act on it instead.

  • Visual representation of data

To be understood and impactful, data often needs to be visually presented in graphs or charts. While these tools are incredibly useful, it’s difficult to build them manually. Taking the time to pull information from multiple areas and put it into a reporting tool is frustrating and time-consuming.

Strong data systems enable report building at the click of a button. Employees and decision-makers will have access to the real-time information they need in an appealing and educational format.

  • Poor quality data

Nothing is more harmful to data analytics than inaccurate data. Without good input, output will be unreliable. A key cause of inaccurate data is manual errors made during data entry. This can lead to significant negative consequences if the analysis is used to influence decisions. Another issue is asymmetrical data: when information in one system does not reflect the changes made in another system, leaving it outdated.

A centralized system eliminates these issues. Data can be input automatically with mandatory or drop-down fields, leaving little room for human error. System integrations ensure that a change in one area is instantly reflected across the board.

How do you see data management / the role of the CDO / IT changing in the next 2 – 3 years?

By now, almost every organization has understood the importance of becoming data-driven for improving efficiency and business performance. What is more, organizations are optimistic about the role and the future of data and analytics in their firms. Most have embarked on some kind of data strategy which is being led, in an increasing number of cases, by a CDO.

Nevertheless, despite some success stories, many organizations still struggle to deliver on their strategy. Today, the main culprits are people and process: the necessary cultural change to become data-driven appears to be very difficult.

This is a call for a third generation of CDOs. In about a year or two, when the role will become professionalized and people won’t have to explain it, we might see a third generation arising, whose main role should be to enable a data culture in the company, to improve levels of data literacy, and to make data-driven decision pervasive and more effective.

Do you have any planned next steps for your career?

Continue to broaden my experience and knowledge in data management in insurance by attending training sessions and workshops in trending areas and technologies impacting data management professionals.

I would also like to help the next generation of data managers by volunteering as a mentor for both current students and new graduates on topics related to insurance and data management.

What is the single best piece of advice you have received in your data management / IT career so far?  Why has it been so important to you?

The understanding of data and how it moves across systems makes you fit for all business and technical –oriented roles in the market.

Can you share something about yourself as a person that people wouldn’t know about you?

I enjoy cooking and trying different recipes.  I also blog a lot about food.

If you have any questions about this interview, or if we can be of any service, please do not hesitate to contact us [email protected]

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