On March 1, a highly influential figure on the global insurance stage joined the ranks at RMS. For the past several decades, industry veteran Mike Pritula has advised leading organizations throughout the industry on boosting business performance, enhancing operational efficiencies and honing growth strategies. As he takes up his role as president of RMS, EXPOSURE finds out what client service means to him.

For Mike Pritula, every client partnership he has forged over the years has been guided by one simple principle – that everything you do must add value and deliver impact. “You have to ensure that the services you provide deliver the greatest impact for the client,” he says. “To do that you must be focused on their needs, understand what those needs are and be able to respond to them fully – that’s how you deliver demonstrable value-added.”

In his view, one of the most significant and transformative value generators currently available to insurance practitioners is the power of data analytics to optimize performance. “The insurance sector is the original data-driven industry,” he says, “and can trace its data heritage back to the first meetings in the Lloyd’s Coffee House over 300 years ago. Today, the immense amounts of data at our disposal continue to push our industry forward, but we now have the computing horsepower and the analytical capacity through machine learning and artificial intelligence to ride that wave much better than ever before.”

In fact, it is this data-driven potential that was a key factor in his decision to join RMS. “When you look at where RMS sits in this rapidly expanding digital ecosystem, it is right at the core. You simply could not be better positioned to help move this data evolution forward. The firm has an eagle’s-eye view across the industry from its Silicon Valley perch and can fully exploit its scientific and technological proficiency to help accelerate the ability of clients to capitalize on this exponential increase in data through better models, software and services.”

The industry is already taking significant strides along an increasingly digitized highway, with advanced analytical techniques now supporting improved underwriting decision-making and enhanced risk assessment, while also driving efficiencies in claims-handling procedures and helping reduce fraudulent activity. However, the speed at which the industry can travel along this road is governed by a number of factors.


“You have to remember that at the end of the data analysis process, unlike many other sectors, our industry has to back up its conclusions with significant amounts of risk-based capital,” Pritula explains. “As a (re)insurer, you can’t simply grab hold of bleeding edge technology; you have to introduce these capabilities incrementally, constantly testing as you move forward, to ensure you safeguard the capital that will ultimately back up the decisions you make. Furthermore, you have regulatory requirements that will influence what data you can use, which will also affect how fast you can accelerate.”

While acknowledging that current market conditions are challenging, he believes that the ability these new technologies provide to push the insurance envelope is spawning many more opportunities than risks. “We have to see the economic potential that can be generated by these advanced capabilities and work to move our industry towards that potential. There are opportunities provided by new risks that are emerging every day – we just need to get better at using these tools to identify, assess and underwrite these risks. It also greatly enhances our ability to tackle the ever-expanding protection gap. Through enhanced modeling capabilities, we can build the solutions that can close this gap and help enhance societal resilience.”

He also highlights the need for (re)insurers to capitalize on new data insights to look beyond the boundaries of the insurance policy. “We must recognize that we are moving more and more towards a ‘predict and prevent’ world,” he points out. “Acknowledging this fact, and working with our clients to help prevent the losses from occurring through better use of the data sets at our disposal, rather than focusing on creating a product for when those losses happen will, I believe, prove a significant differentiator for the companies of tomorrow.”

The potential to embed greater automation into every part of the insurance system will also have a major influence on how the sector evolves. “There is no doubt that this increased digitization will inject further automation and more AI-driven efficiencies into the entire insurance system,” he adds, “from intermediary to insurer to reinsurer to service provider. Companies have to embrace this and recognize that it will significantly impact their business and will likely create an environment that is less people-intensive.”

The question of course is, to what extent will companies be willing to embrace this new digital world? Pritula highlights the fact that the banking sector is addressing a similar question with the advent of Blockchain. “That industry is having to take a very hard look at this new technology – including Bitcoin – and the potential it has to fundamentally change the movement of money and the recording of transactions throughout the banking system. Blockchain has the power to impact every participant in the sector’s value chain. Each link must decide what posture they will adopt towards understanding and applying this technology.”

Another key factor affecting how the insurance market transitions to a more data-driven, digitized environment, is its ability to shift its talent base to one more attuned to these new analytical capabilities. “This has to be a priority for management teams – how will they attract and develop this more technically-oriented workforce?”

In his view, half of the battle to bring on board the Millennials is already won. “Talented young people want a job that will challenge and stimulate them,” he states, “and I can honestly say that in my several decades tackling strategic and operational issues at all levels, this industry is facing problems to rival any faced by companies like Google, Facebook or Tencent. What we need to do is promote these challenges better and then ensure that we offer a dynamic working environment in which digital natives can thrive.”

“We have to accept that the insurance product is a highly complex one – much more so than any other product available in the financial services arena,” he concludes. “This inherent complexity will influence the pace at which the industry can transition. However, we are all technologists now. Any executive in the insurance market who is not deeply literate and conversant in these new technologies is at risk of not stewarding their organization as effectively and efficiently as they can.”

Career highlights 

Mike Pritula joins RMS after a distinguished 35-year career at McKinsey & Company, where he worked closely with leading international insurers, reinsurers, brokers, and industry associations on all facets of improving business performance. Mike has helped develop and implement growth strategies for leading participants in the industry, has worked on enhancing operational performance across all functions, and has helped senior executives to improve their organization’s effectiveness.