InsurTech is affecting the insurance industry significantly. Driven by innovative technologies like big data, artificial intelligence (AI), mobile apps, sensor technology and novel business models, InsurTech has transformed how insurance products are designed, sold and administered. Startups fueled by venture capital and tech-savvy entrepreneurs are disrupting traditional insurance models and reshaping the landscape.
Actuaries long have been regarded as authoritative and independent arbiters of value in the insurance domain and have taken on the challenges of adapting to the fast-paced and experimental nature of the InsurTech revolution.
The Society of Actuaries (SOA) InsurTech initiative aims to bridge the gap between traditional actuarial expertise and the disruptive potential of InsurTech startups. The initiative seeks to empower actuaries to play a crucial role in shaping the insurance industry’s future by fostering a deeper understanding of new technologies, business models and consumer needs. In this article, we cover background on this initiative and share insights from Josée Deroy, FSA, MAAA, CFA, one of the pioneering actuaries leading this initiative and an SOA board member.
SOA InsurTech Initiative
The SOA InsurTech initiative, launched in 2018, aims to accomplish the following key objectives:
- Help employers and regulators adapt to new data and analytical models while ensuring fairness and maintaining the integrity of the insurance industry by educating all parties on the appropriate use of new technologies and techniques in pricing, underwriting and reserving.
- Prepare candidates and members to work with and compete against InsurTech startups by adopting an InsurTech mindset.
- Conduct outreach to the InsurTech industry to introduce actuaries and actuarial science to InsurTech startups early in their development to address any barriers to hiring actuaries and ensure their involvement in risk management as the businesses grow.
- Build the SOA brand and credential within the InsurTech community by promoting the distinct value of actuaries, emphasizing actuarial accountability and mitigating risks associated with the actuarial mindset.
Networking and partnerships are at the core of the SOA’s activities to support this InsurTech initiative. The SOA collaborates with various groups and events in the InsurTech field, including the InsurTech Hartford Symposium and InsurTech Insights Americas. The SOA also maintains a presence at major InsurTech meetings like InsurTech Insights in New York and InsureTech Connect 2023 in Las Vegas, where it is an official partner.
Meeting sessions and research are designed to offer new information and perspectives on various research topics related to InsurTech and help SOA members stay informed and up to date with this rapidly evolving landscape. In addition, the “Get Plugged In” podcast series features actuaries interviewing people who work at InsurTech startups, providing insights into their experiences with new technologies in the insurance industry.
Finally, a success of this program is a virtual Office Hours program, hosted by actuaries, allowing InsurTech leaders to gain insights from SOA members. These partnerships help InsurTech companies understand insurance company management, profit emergence, cost drivers, value propositions and target audiences. This also may provide professional introductions. Since its launch in 2021, the Office Hours program has facilitated hundreds of successful matches between InsurTech companies and actuaries, leading to extended relationships, advisory roles and board positions.
Thoughts From a Leader
Deroy is active in the InsurTech community, participating and speaking at conferences. She also serves on the advisory board of a data-as-a-service startup, InterGen Data. Deroy sees actuaries as bridges, connecting venture capital funds and incumbents navigating the insurance industry’s transformation with InsurTechs.
“This [SOA InsurTech] initiative offers opportunities for actuaries to contribute to an ecosystem driven by innovative players who recognize the relevance of the insurance industry,” says Deroy. “These are exciting times.”
Deroy notes that the SOA InsurTech initiative has helped create an InsurTech presence in the traditional insurance industry and has opened eyes to new ways of looking at the insurance world, encompassing major players with 150 years of history. Regarding the future of InsurTech, Deroy believes realistic expectations are now the norm, and the insurance industry is embracing the complexity and multiple touch points InsurTech addresses. She sees partnerships within the ecosystem as crucial for driving change and expects early adopters to be willing to take risks and invest capital.
SOA Member Involvement
If you are interested in getting involved in the exciting world of InsurTech, there are several ways to participate and contribute:
- Attend InsurTech events. Consider attending InsurTech events and conferences to gain valuable insights and network with industry professionals. These events provide an opportunity to stay up to date on the latest trends and advancements. One notable upcoming event is InsurTech Connect, which begins Oct. 31 in Las Vegas. As an SOA member, you can use the code 200ITC389 to receive a $200 discount on registration and ensure you are invited to the SOA meetup.
- Engage with startups and stakeholders. Actuaries can make a significant impact by collaborating with InsurTech startups, venture capitalists and other stakeholders. By sharing your expertise and insights, you can contribute to the growth and development of innovative insurance solutions. You can look for opportunities to work on projects, provide advisory services or even consider joining the boards of emerging InsurTech companies.
- Connect with local actuarial clubs. Actuarial clubs often organize events and presentations related to InsurTech. Explore opportunities to present or participate in discussions about InsurTech at these local club events. Sharing your insights and experiences with fellow actuaries can foster collaboration and contribute to the growth of the InsurTech community.
- Share your insights. Actuaries are encouraged to share their insights and experiences with the InsurTech community. Engage with the SOA’s LinkedIn page, or contact committee members to provide valuable data points and contribute to the initiative’s goals. By sharing your knowledge, you can help shape the insurance industry’s future and highlight the significance of actuarial expertise in the InsurTech ecosystem.
More details can be found on the SOA’s InsurTech page, which offers valuable resources and information. Here, you can also find research, events and ways to get involved and stay updated on the latest developments through SOA webcasts and podcasts.
The SOA’s InsurTech initiative is helping pave the way for a new era in the insurance industry. With the rapid advancements of technology and the disruptive influence of InsurTech startups, actuaries are facing new challenges and opportunities. The initiative aims to bridge the gap between traditional actuarial expertise and the innovative potential of InsurTech by fostering a deeper understanding of innovative technologies, business models and consumer needs. Through networking, partnerships and educational resources, actuaries can play a crucial role in shaping the future of insurance.
The SOA offers resources that can enhance your knowledge and keep you informed about the evolving InsurTech landscape. By getting involved, you can play an active role in the SOA InsurTech initiative and contribute to the insurance industry’s transformation.
Statements of fact and opinions expressed herein are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of the Society of Actuaries or the respective authors’ employers.
Copyright © 2023 by the Society of Actuaries, Schaumburg, Illinois.