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Insurance Solutions

Formerly Moody’s RMS

On February 1, I had the opportunity to speak at a panel session entitled “Technology as a Driver for ILS Growth” at the Artemis ILS Conference in NYC.  It was a full house, with 350 attendees from across insurance, banking and financial markets. My fellow panelists were Sean Bourgeois, CEO of Tremor Technologies; Yaniv Bertele, Co-founder and CEO of Vesttoo, and Andries Hoekema, Global Head of Insurance for HSBC Global Asset Management. This session was chaired by Tom Johansmeyer, Co-head of PCS Strategy and Development from Verisk Insurance Solutions.

Despite the impact of consecutive years of losses, the insurance-linked securities (ILS) market continues to strengthen and expand to become a significant provider of global reinsurance and risk capital. And as financial instruments become more complex, and competition increases, the ability to successfully adopt new technology will emerge as a differentiator to separate the winners from the losers.

From our panel discussion, we had general agreement on what these technology drivers of ILS growth will be, and we coalesced around five drivers:


Models: Using sophisticated models that run in high resolution to enhance risk differentiation, and pre-compiled, granular risk information for every known risk-exposed asset would represent a game-changer for the ILS industry.

Hi tech shot

Cloud Adoption: Cloud offers the ability to process huge volumes of data quickly and cost effectively, facilitating high resolution modeling. It also allows more model simulations at shorter run-times. This ability to run more analyses could add significant business value, such as establishing detailed position analytics in advance of any investments.

Data: More data (both structured and unstructured – including text, images, video, voice etc.) and better integration of data across the value chain can drive down expenses, boost net returns and reduce trapped capital.

Artificial Intelligence (AI): AI systems understand natural language and reasoning; and learn at incredible speed. AI has already had significant impact in areas such as healthcare (helping doctors accurately diagnose diseases faster), client engagement (call centers, self-service websites), governance risk and compliance, and financial crime prevention (e.g. anti-money laundering/know-your-customer, surveillance). AI also can recognize patterns in huge data sets (i.e. including data collected by drone) and help improve the claims process.

AI could also be used for augmented intelligence, to level-up underwriting expertise to the highest level across the business.

Blockchain: This emerging technology provides a cryptographically secure form of shared record, with a number of potential use cases that are relevant to the ILS market. These include reducing fraud by sharing fraudulent claims or automating P&C claims with the potential to make this process 3X faster and 5X cheaper.

The panel also talked about the barriers to adopting these technologies including a shortage of skills and government regulation. We also felt that more collaboration across the industry, the adoption of open standards, and the sharing of platforms could be an adoption accelerant.

While the rate and pace of technology adoption are uncertain, it is clear that these drivers will create an opportunity for significant competitive advantage for early adopters. If you would like to continue this discussion, please leave a comment in the box below.

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October 07, 2019
Reactions North America Awards: We’re in Good Company

On Thursday, September 26, a contingent from RMS attended the Reactions’ 2019 North America (Re)Insurance Conference and Awards in New York. It was such an enjoyable event and it was a great honor to receive the North America Risk Modeler of the Year award. To win a Reactions award, you not only needed to impress the panel of independent judges, you also need market approval. Thank you to the judges and to everyone who took the time to support us. Karen White, chief executive officer for RMS, receives the Reactions North America Risk Modeler of the Year awardAlongside us were many of our clients and partners who were either award nominees or winners on that night, including North America Insurer, Specialty Reinsurer, ILS Investment Manager, and Consultancy of the Year. Congratulations to our clients gaining recognition for great work. We are proud to be in such good company! Get Fit for the Future A key theme for this year’s Reactions event was “Future-proofing Your Business,” with a panel discussion on this topic moderated by David Brown, senior partner, regional insurance leader at EY. David was joined on the panel by: Jean-Paul Conoscente, president and CEO of SCOR Global P&C; Peter Wilson, CEO – Insurance, AXIS Capital; and Michael Millette, managing partner at Hudson Structured Capital Management. This panel offered a deep dive into forward-looking best practices from leaders in the insurance industry and shared how they are safeguarding their positions in an ever-evolving market. They understand that the industry is continuing to evolve, largely driven by new and emerging risks. But they admitted that it is still slow to change, and stressed the need to innovate over time, and take advantage of the new tools that are set to change the way business is done. First on the “to-do” list: the panel stated that businesses still need to become much more agile and efficient. New entrants by default will have low costs and new, efficient processes. Making a business more efficient and agile will help when facing both the anticipated (and unanticipated) competitive moves from businesses armed with innovative technologies, some of which will demand a total reevaluation of existing business models. New entrants will also use differentiation, tied to a deeper understanding of customers – and businesses need to use analytics to drive the required customer insight. But many insurers are not investing enough, having to balance today’s operational costs with the resources they need to innovate differently moving forward. Moving Forward with a New Open Data Standard Also at the conference, Ryan Ogaard, senior vice president for RMS, gave a presentation on the Risk Data Open Standard (RDOS), a new, open data standard set to be released early in 2020. Ryan outlined the limitations of current schemas designed decades ago, and although they are still venerable workhorses, they are now out of date. Current schemas are just not designed to accommodate new perils, increased data sets, and complex financial structures.   A flexible, modern data schema, the RDOS is set to drive value innovation through many parts of the industry. Designed to hold information on risk, including exposure, coverage, model settings, domain data, and analysis results, the RDOS is an extensible, flexible, and future-proof asset within modeling and analysis systems, and as an information interchange vehicle. Ryan stressed the fact that the RDOS is an open standard, which gives the market the code, tooling, and documentation to leverage this technology in their organizations, and to also use the RDOS to contribute and innovate, to drive towards the industry goals of increasing efficiency and agility. This was a very insightful conference, made even better not just by our award, but the fact we were in such good company, with our clients also receiving well deserved recognition for their work.…

Neil Isford
Neil Isford
Executive Vice President of Sales and Client Development

Neil oversees RMS global sales, professional services, solutions and customer success organizations. Prior to RMS, Neil served as Worldwide General Manager, Watson Financial Services Solutions at IBM, delivering double-digit revenue growth from a portfolio of new AI and analytics-based industry platform solutions.

Neil began his career at IBM Canada, before moving to the United States in 1994, and held a number of executive positions including running e-business services for IBM Global Services, growing revenue from US$150 million to US$830 million in just two years.

Neil’s next role was President and CEO of Plural, a professional services company bringing innovation to the banking and financial markets. He returned to IBM in 2004, holding positions as VP of Worldwide Business Partner Sales, VP of Software for Asia Pacific, and VP of Worldwide Sales for Information Management and Analytics, a US$7 billion software business.

Neil was born and raised in Toronto and holds his degree from Wilfrid Laurier University in Ontario.

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