Meta-tagging valuable data allows AIS group to reduce storage costs

AIS Group is piloting a call recording application to reduce storage costs and ensure compliance with insurance regulations.


AIS Group is piloting a call recording application to reduce storage costs and ensure compliance with insurance regulations.

The automotive and insurance solutions group’s portfolio includes Accident Exchange, a replacement car and insurance service, DCML, a technology business solutions provider for the car industry, accident investigation, APU, an asset management company. 

AIS needed to get to grips with its ever-expanding data, which is crucial for the insurance fraud arm of the business as well as its market and business efficiency research. AIS data includes social network profiles, GPS tracking, photographs and claim forms that, as long as four years after a crime, has aided prosecutions.

Chief technology officer Ray Ford said: “We hand the data over to the Crown Prosecution Service and say ‘fill your boots”.

Recorded insurance claim calls provide more than market research and customer satisfaction data as they often become crucial evidence in criminal and fraud investigations. With 22 million archived calls, Ford began development with British company Red Box to deploy a call recording application that sits on top of their enterprise architecture. “We have had to drag vendors kicking and screaming”, Ford said. 

By allowing call handlers to tag data as it is being recorded, valuable calls will be siphoned into their Hitachi Virtual Storage Platform (VSP) to be kept for the mandatory seven years.

After two years of working on the system, it was deployed in early March and is being piloted across UK offices before a national rollout.

Underneath the application layer AIS uses Microsoft Windows Seven and the OS 2008 server, Cisco network and SAN. AIS have always kept a Hitachi VSP house. He said: “I’ve been a Hitachi fan for a very long time.”

Enabling call handlers to use the application’s simultaneous meta-tagging was Ford's main priority. He said: “We are moving away from proprietary format to open standard. At the moment I record all calls. I don’t need to keep that call but I do. How do I know what to keep? The only person is the person on the line – they have the ability to tell the system that it is a non-claim-related call. If that is the case then in three months it will be gone”.

“The old system couldn’t tag any data and we were left with thousands of unsorted claims - if we needed one specific claim we had to go back to listen to all the calls.”

Ford is keen to delete as much unnecessary data as possible to reduce storage cost and ensure valuable data is more visible.

“I would rather err on the side of common sense rather than keeping everything forever.”

The new system allow all call data to be Dodd-Frank Wall street and consumer Act compliant as all files are written to a Write Once Read Many (WORM) device and have a Cyclic Redundancy Check (CRC) number. Dodd-Frank established the SEC Office of Credit Ratings, since credit rating agencies were accused of giving misleadingly favourable investment ratings that contributed to the financial crisis. The Act is regulated in the US, but UK companies with an international spread are implementing its guidelines. 

Using IT to bring down overheads

Ford and his team actively use data and data technologies to further reduce costs and improve customer service. All IT staff are full time and "not a shred of data is from a third party."

“A lot of investment has gone into analysing data like our water, electricity and petrol consumption. We have script that shut all infrastructures we don’t need off at 7 O’clock. We have reduced electricity from £9,000 a month to £7,000.”

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