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ActiveQuote and Cardiff join forces

6 January 2021

ActiveQuote office

One of the UK’s leading protection insurance comparison websites and brokers, ActiveQuote, has teamed with Cardiff University to develop machine learning algorithms that drive sales.

A Knowledge Transfer Partnership allowed the Cardiff-based company to benefit from the University’s data science expertise, helping to improve sales opportunities by almost a third.

The School of Computer Science and Informatics and ActiveQuote created an algorithmic model called Rubee, which identifies customers who are likely to buy a product rather than those who are just browsing.

The model allocates a score to every enquiry, which informs the order and frequency of the customer contact strategy. This enables ActiveQuote to give customers with the highest intent to purchase the right information, guidance and support quicker and those who are just browsing the space to consider their options.

The system, which has been in place for Private Medical Insurance (PMI), has increased conversion rates by 30%.

The approach will help drive future developments, including assigning enquiries to specific advisor skill sets as well as supporting customers who are most likely to lapse mid-term or decline the policy at renewal to improve lifetime value.

Dr Yuhua Li, Senior Lecturer in the School of Computer Science and Informatics, has an established international reputation in specialist topics of machine learning such as feature selection, critical pattern selection, anomaly detection and neural networks.

“ActiveQuote identified the need to address a highly challenging area. Modelling complex human centric data demands the marriage of a range of advanced topics,” said Dr Li.

“Through my work as KTP Supervisor, I was able to suggest and oversee the embedding of a range of unique data set characteristics and human factors challenges that helped ensure continuous knowledge transfer to the Company."

Rob Saunders, CEO of ActiveQuote, said: “Sophisticated data handling and processing capabilities are fundamental to our business strategy. We need to embed new technical knowledge and capabilities and transform our business model over the short, medium and long-term and this partnership will allow us to do that. What Cardiff University and ActiveQuote’s development team have created will drive future customer contact strategies for new customers and existing customers for improved customer experience, increasing our sales and also improving our profitability.

“This use of algorithms has driven business growth by embedding and exploiting the data we already had in a different efficient and effective way. We are extremely excited about what Rubee will create for us as a business and how it will benefit our clients and customers as we evolve its capability. Innovation is key to keeping ahead of the curve in business, and this is allowing us to do just that.”

Roger Whitaker, College Dean of Research and Professor of Collective Intelligence, School of Computer Science and Informatics, added: "The KTP with ActiveQuote not only demonstrates the commercial impact that individual academic excellence can bring to a company but also highlights the role Cardiff University can play in supporting a wider industrial transformation in Wales, through the application of data science and artificial intelligence.”

The Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) scheme helps businesses in the UK to innovate and grow. It does this by linking them with an academic or research organisation and a graduate. A KTP enables a business to bring in new skills and the latest academic thinking to deliver a specific, strategic innovation project through a knowledge-based partnership.

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