August 20, 2013 | SAN DIEGO, California

USDA Honored by The Data Warehousing Institute for Risk Management Using Teradata Analytics

The Risk Management Agency uses data analytics to spot fraud and waste while weeding out $1.5 billion in costs for nation’s crop insurance program
Teradata (NYSE: TDC), the analytic data solutions company, today announced that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Risk Management Agency (RMA) has been named the Best Practice Award Winner in the Government category in the annual competition sponsored by The Data Warehousing Institute (TDWI), the premier provider of in-depth, high-quality education and training in business intelligence (BI) and data warehousing (DW).

The USDA RMA team, using analytics running on a centralized Teradata enterprise data warehouse and detailed, multi-structured data integrated from typically disparate sources, was successful in engineering a powerful economic impact. Leveraging the power of integrated data, the RMA was able to gain deeper insights into claims and program expense thus achieving a cost avoidance of over $1.5 billion as scored by the Congressional Budget Office. Estimated reductions from prior year indemnities represent more than a $23 return for every dollar spent by RMA on data mining technology and projects. One initiative generated a list of producers who were subjected to increased compliance oversight; from 2001 to 2011, this reduced unneeded indemnity payments by approximately $838 million.
The Risk Management Agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture oversees the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation, the primary source of risk protection for America’s farmers. The program provides approximately 1.3 million crop insurance policies, with over $124 billion in protection for major crops. The RMA’s compliance mission is to ensure that (1) adequate safeguards are in place to avoid potential fraud and abuse and (2) claims are accurate so benefits can be distributed equitably.

The origin of the program is significant: To counter fraud, waste, and abuse, the Agriculture Risk Protection Act of 2000 mandated the use of a data warehouse and data mining technologies to improve crop insurance program compliance and integrity. RMA engaged the Center for Agriculture Excellence (CAE) at Tarleton State University to develop a system to monitor and analyze the program, identifying fraud using a wide variety of data collected from satellites, weather devices, and remote sensors. Leveraging advanced analytics, including geospatial and temporal capabilities, claims filed by farmers are reviewed for anomalous and suspect behavior that could indicate fraudulent or other improper payments. The RMA risk management program has had several significant impacts, including:

  • Identification of unusual or irregular claims, plus monitoring as a preventive measure
  • Linking claims histories with weather data
  • Integration of the latest MODIS and Landsat satellite data into the data mining process
  • Automated claims analysis

“The results achieved by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Risk Management Agency are impressive on many levels,” said Bobby Caudill, Program Director for Government Industry & Solutions, Teradata. “Besides proving the ponderous and tangible value of analytics on Teradata, the RMA team is saving U.S. citizens millions, if not billions, of dollars. This is another case where Teradata platforms and analytics are being implemented by talented and savvy teams of the best people to deliver a great social good, which we can all be very proud of. This is truly a commendable and newsworthy achievement.”
“The competition for this year’s Best Practices Awards was at an all-time high. We saw innovative, forward-thinking solutions from many of the best and brightest in the BI/DW industry,” said Richard Zbylut, president of TDWI. “This year’s winners stand out on the leading edge and showcase an array of bold, new strategies destined to push and challenge the BI status quo. TDWI is honored to share that work with a larger audience.”
TDWI held an awards ceremony on Monday, August 19, at the TDWI World Conference in San Diego, California – where the USDA and other winners were recognized. TDWI's Best Practices Awards program identifies and honors companies that demonstrate excellence in developing, deploying, and maintaining BI and DW applications.
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