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Seeking Analytic Diamonds In The Underwriting Data Mine

George Di Martino, EVP & CIO, TransRe

George Di Martino, EVP & CIO, TransRe

Capital is no longer a differentiator in the re/ insurance industry. To deliver an adequate return, reinsurers must be better at transforming data into value-added information, this is true for pricing and underwriting risks, handling claims and matching capital (both theirs and/or others) with risk exposures. The results of recent years (affected by numerous natural catastrophes, the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and adverse development) low interest rates and social inflation apply greater pressure on underwriting to deliver improved results.

That pressure has increased attention and focus on technology and data (both internally generated and externally available) to deliver better insights to our key stakeholders (underwriters, actuaries, claims, modeling) to enable them to readily recognize patterns and identify trends that help them make better decisions.

TransRe is data-rich with decades of underwriting and claims data from a diverse portfolio of business. We are aware that by investing up front in intelligent data strategies and organizing our internal datasets we will gain a more connected, comprehensive view of the market: trends, pricing, losses, etc. We know this will help TransRe’s teams make better decisions at both an individual risk and portfolio level. We also know this will enable TransRe to deliver greater value to each customer (our expertise, access, strength, innovation, experience and resilience is what makes us EASIER to do business with).

To derive maximum value from our data driven technology strategy, it is important to focus on the quality of our data inputs, as well as the accuracy, consistency, and completeness of the data we receive. It has been said that data wrangling is 10% analysis and 90% anger management. Getting a better handle on data, its quality, accessibility and utility, takes both time and resources from IT and our business leaders. It also requires well-designed and cross-discipline approaches that assure transparency supported by data governance controls. It is essential that our data driven strategies are fully in compliance with customer confidentiality, privacy and other data-use requirements across all internal or external uses.

In addition to supporting core platforms and day-to-day operations (stress tested like never before this year because of the global pandemic), IT will be central to the creation of unified platforms and tools for underwriters, actuaries, modelers and claims staff to easily, readily and securely access data and utilize new decision-making tools.

To create these new tools, IT and other corporate team members must work more closely together than ever before. It is critical that the entire business leadership be engaged in the design, development, launch and enhancement of these strategic objectives and projects. These tools must also always be assessed for not just utility and business driven goals but for security, privacy, data integrity and other data risk or regulatory requirements. Passively awaiting the next update is no longer a feasible business strategy. To ensure the best results in the management of projects, Business Project Managers must know not only IT but the business as well. All team members must be fluent in IT and the business, because they must have the ability to speak and understand the two worlds and make them one team. A future project manager must understand the business case and business needs and will need to be able to instruct clearly and effectively to those who will write the code. They must also understand the data, including how it can be used and its limits and requirements.

Once new business models, tools and platforms are developed, they must be secure and easily accessible from multiple devices for our colleagues and, when developed for external purposes, for our business partners (customers, brokers and retrocessionaires and third-party capital). The new products and platforms must be maintained, and they must be extremely nimble, adaptable, resilient and secure. Platforms should support rapid innovation models, where users can quickly fire up systems, try different models and determine if a viable product can and should be developed.

This data driven Business-IT strategy also requires a smart data driven compliance culture from the top on down. As a company embedding intelligent “accessible” data into and across business processes, we also require data vetting processes and re-assessment as part of our transparency and governance controls to address legal, regulatory and related requirements.

At TransRe, we embarked on our digital transformation several years ago. Today, we focus on next generation underwriting solutions. We built our core systems in-house and we are developing Big Data solutions. These are being migrated to Cloud-native architecture. In addition, we surround the core system with Microservices, Kubernetes clusters, CI/ CD deployment models and Cloud native databases. Covid-19 has accelerated the need for access to data on unified digital platforms, and we have pushed our timelines forward as a result.

This is perhaps the most exciting time for re/insurance IT Departments in a generation. We are at the intersection of technology (unlimited capabilities) and business (the profitable delivery of products and services). We are fully engaged with business leaders, and we will have a great impact on future success.

Weekly Brief

Top 10 Underwriting Solution Companies - 2020

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