insurance actuary

I recently took part in a panel debate interview organised by Rick Huckstep from the Digitial Insurer. The write-up was titled: “Is the insurance Actuary an endangered species, or simply facing an evolutionary makeover?” and involved Geoff Keast (CEO of Montoux in North America) and Steven Mendel (Co-founder and CEO of Bought By Many).

Rick is one of my favourite InsurTech authors, so I knew he would do a good job of bringing up some interesting debate.

We covered many areas, and I’ve briefly summarised the top 13 key points below:

  1. 1
    As we enter the fourth industrial revolution and age of technology and automation, change is upon us. Many professions, including the 300 year old actuarial profession may be under threat.
  2. 2
    The digitial economy has led to an explosion of data. This data is emerging from many different sources and is also impacting the insurance industry (think IoT, Telematics, Wearables, etc).
  3. 3
    The non-actuarial “data scientist” is encroaching into actuarial work.
  4. 4
    Many actuaries are now adding machine learning to their toolkit and the actuarial profession is embracing this change.
  5. 5
    In the era of “data is the new oil”, actuaries may be able to use their skills to break into new non-traditional areas.
  6. 6
    Actuaries understand financial performance and policy-holder behaviour and hence they are the lifeblood of many insurance companies.
  7. 7
    We are likely to see a blending of actuarial and data science in the next five years.
  8. 8
    We are moving towards more dynamic pricing models as data increases in size and availability.
  9. 9
    New risks will emerge that will likely require actuarial expertise to understand (e.g. drone risk or liability from autonomous vehicles).
  10. 10
    We may see a shift towards growth outcomes (new business, customer retention, etc.) rather than the risk/compliance/ regulatory side of modelling.
  11. 11
    Automation may enhance the actuary’s work rather than leading to extinction. Assuming you are a forward thinking perpetual learning actuary!
  12. 12
    An actuary’s strong professional code of ethics provides an oversight which I think is particularly important for helping to ensure that we are using data ethically and responsibly.
  13. 13
    Being flexible and being able to adapt and grow is key for future actuaries.

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Mark Farrell FIA PhD


FIA Actuary | Founder of ProActuary | Senior Lecturer of Actuarial Science at Queen’s University Belfast | Fulbright Scholar | Consulting Actuary | Love all things actuarial but also travel, adventure, cycling, hiking, reading & keeping up with my 3 children.

Mark Farrell

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