Modern Day Technology Tales

Expand your knowledge and skill sets to fuel change and innovation Sarah Hinchey

Digitization, modernization, transformation: These are some of the terms used to describe the changes the financial services industry is undergoing globally. Traditional distribution models, product designs and business processes are being challenged by new “born-digital” InsurTech/FinTech startups and growing consumer expectations. Companies are rapidly adopting new technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and process automation to fuel change and innovation. This issue of The Actuary explores some of the emerging trends in the industry.

Emerging Tools and Technology to Modernize the Actuarial Function

The article “More Than Machines” brings to life how cognitive technologies including AI, machine learning and robotics have the potential to fundamentally change the future of work for actuaries, enabling actuaries to deliver greater value for and improve partnerships across their broader organizations. Benefits of the optimization of the actuarial role are discussed, as well as educational and professional implications.

Actuaries in InsurTech

Given the historical role of actuaries as the “engineers” of the insurance industry, it only makes sense that actuaries play a prominent part in the growing InsurTech marketplace. This year, we continue the “actuaries in InsurTech” theme with two articles from actuaries working at New York–based startups.

In the article “The Cool Factor,” you will hear firsthand from one trailblazing actuary who has taken her career to new heights at a startup that is reinventing the income annuity by using modern day technology to make it easier for people to save for retirement. Her story is a great inspiration for how actuaries can leverage their skill sets to succeed in nontraditional roles.

In the article “Seeking Simplicity,” you will hear from a pioneering actuary who is taking a ground-up approach to reimagine the customer experience at a startup life insurance agency that is recognized across the industry as a leader in customer experience excellence. As the head of policy design, he shares his perspective on adapting to startup life and some of the challenges he has overcome.

New Data Sources Create New Opportunities

Regulatory changes and incentives have accelerated efforts in the health care sector to digitize the collection and storage of, and patient access to, patient health care data. The widespread digitization of health records has incidentally created opportunities for life insurers to improve their customers’ experiences by utilizing electronic health data to modernize their new business, underwriting and claims management processes. The article “Picture of Health” provides a background on this emerging data source in life insurance while highlighting a specific example of one insurer’s experience and lessons learned through an electronic health data pilot project.

Behavioral Economics

Some organizations are pairing new tools and technology with business models and solution designs grounded in behavioral economics to achieve their goals. In the article “Upping Your Game,” the author gives readers a background in behavioral economics principles and discusses how to apply them to help organizations improve decision-making.

Wrapping It Up

I hope you enjoy reading the articles in this issue of The Actuary. They have been sourced to cover a wide variety of technology and innovation-related topics, and collectively the authors provide a clear demonstration that we can continue to develop ourselves as individuals—while building the reputation of the profession as a whole—by stepping outside of our comfort zones and continually expanding our knowledge and skill sets across new tools, technologies, roles and ways of working. Enjoy the issue!

Sarah Hinchey, FSA, CERA, MAAA, SCPM, is a manager for Deloitte Consulting in San Jose, California.

Copyright © 2018 by the Society of Actuaries, Schaumburg, Illinois.