A Bright Future for Actuaries

Quadrant Quick Take: armed with modern data tools, actuaries are positioned to improve risk management and trend projection—and the overall business climate.

When we introduced InsureWatch, the first cloud-based competitive pricing analytics systems for the p&c insurance industry, we got occasional worried questions from people in the field. “If it’s that easy to use,” they said, “isn’t there a danger it will make actuaries obsolete?”

Well, no, we said, it won’t. First of all, we worked very closely with actuaries while we were developing InsureWatch. We have the best data set in the industry, we told them, and we have a tool that can access it with the speed and power of the cloud and deliver very accurate, very granular reports very, very quickly—down to the ZIP code level. The question is, of all the permutations possible, what reports would it be most helpful to you to have that kind of access to?

Based on their answers, and with a lot of back-and-forth interaction, we designed the interface and data set of InsureWatch. Since its introduction, our customers have come to understand (and embrace) it as a tool to help actuaries do their jobs better and improve the health and competitiveness of the companies they work for.

But the question—is technology making actuaries obsolete—still comes up once in a while, and it’s occurred to me that the best way to answer it is with a counter-question. Handheld electronic calculators first became widely available in the early 1970s. They’re now ubiquitous; practically everybody has in their pocket or purse a technology that will make calculations you needed a slide rule for two generations ago.

Has that made engineers obsolete? Of course not. Engineering is the core capability driving the technology sector, which is the fastest-growing sphere of economic activity in the world. Colleges can’t turn out engineers fast enough to keep up with the demand for them. What calculators (and PCs and a whole subindustry of high-speed calculating software) have done is speed things up for engineers so they can better focus on the problems they’re trying to solve.

Aided by new developments in technology, actuarial science is also focusing its expertise on an important—and growing—set of problems. As the insurance field becomes more and more competitive, the importance of ever more accurate and more granular risk assessment increases.

At Quadrant Information Services, our business is helping p&c insurers become better competitors in a competitive world. Check out what we have to offer—it may surprise you!

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