With many companies seeking to invest in big data initiatives in the coming years, competition to secure the brightest talent to help firms make the most of the technology is set to be intense in the near future. And one part of the economy where the battle for skills will be particularly fierce will be the insurance sector.

This is according to a new survey from the US by insurance strategic advisory firm Strategy Meets Action, which found big data is set to be a top priority for companies in the property/casualty sector, which covers products such as car, home and business insurance.

Large enterprises in this industry are particularly keen to invest in big data analytics solutions to improve their performance, with 39 per cent of organisations with revenue over $1 billion looking to deploy such solutions. This compares with just 14 per cent of smaller firms.

But in order to make this success, there is a recognition that companies will need expert skills. As a result, 51 per cent of enterprises will look to hire new big data staff with advanced degrees and training in analytics by 2016, up from 21 per cent this year.

Joseph Izzo, senior vice-president of Data Assets and Analytics at ISO, commented: "As big data continues to grow, the most successful will not be those that have the most data, but those that know how to use it to improve their business."

The insurance industry may also present unique issues for data scientists looking to derive usable insights from their information. While all of the 'three Vs' of big data present challenges, it is variety that will be the most pressing concern of the tree. However, another V – veracity – will also be a high priority for this sector.

Ensuring that all data used in analytics operations is accurate and verified will be a particular concern for the insurance sector, as incorrect information of fraudulent claims could greatly skew the results of an analysis. Meanwhile, the challenge of variety lies in managing and making sense of the many types of data that matter to insurers, Strategy Meets action continued.