On a recent edition of AAIS Pulse, The Hanover SVP Scott Grieco sat down with AAIS SVP Operations, Joan Zerkovich, for a “Tech Talk” discussing current technology trends, and methods for modernizing the way insurers think about data and information sharing.
On a recent edition of AAIS Pulse, NAIC CEO Mike Consedine sat down with AAIS President and CEO Ed Kelly to share his insights on major regulatory issues facing the insurance industry and the NAIC.
There is no understating Bob Guevara’s contributions to AAIS and the Inland Marine insurance community: He transformed thinking about inland marine risks, raising awareness with regulators and creating new rating paradigms and valuable tools and resources for AAIS Member insurers. As he looks forward to retiring after 29 years, and transitions to a consulting role, continuing to support AAIS, Bob spoke with AAIS Views.
Let’s start at the beginning. What first drew you to the insurance industry?
Bob Guevara: When I graduated from college in the 1970s the country was coming out of a recession. There was a lot of instability out there. I wanted to join an industry that would be very stable for the long haul, which led me to insurance. I’ve been in the business ever since – 15 years of inland marine underwriting and 29 at AAIS.
AAIS recently attended the IRMI Agribusiness Conference (AgriCon), the premier event for insurance and risk management professionals specializing in the exposures and coverage needs of farms and agribusinesses. Among the many interesting and informative sessions, AAIS Product Development Specialist Hope King highlighted two topics particularly near and dear to AAIS and our Members.
Clive Humby said it best with his oft-cited quote – “data is the new oil.” It is true that the value of data is in its refinement and synthesis into useful insights, tools, and products, all predicated on the existence of a complex infrastructure to share and transport data from where it is found (those with the data) to where the analysis occurs (those with the questions).
In 2002, Amazon eliminated millions of dollars from its technology costs by switching to the Linux operating system, an open source technology platform from the Linux Foundation. In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Amazon stated it was able to cut technology expenses by about 25%, from $71 million to $54 million, primarily through “migration to a Linux-based technology platform that utilizes a less-costly technology infrastructure, as well as general price reductions for data and telecommunication services due to market overcapacity. Amazon continues its open source technology strategy today, as do thousands of other companies. Today, 96.3% of the world's top one million servers run on Linux.
In August, AAIS Views detailed the results of our hugely successful Proof of Concept (POC) for openIDL (Open Insurance Data Link) that proved the blockchain technology can dramatically improve the insurance regulatory reporting proves for insurers and regulators. We also saw that insurer information could be correlated with data from other sources to reveal deeper insights, and that data could be leveraged by regulators, while remaining private, secure and in full control of participating carriers
openIDL, the groundbreaking blockchain technology AAIS developed to streamline regulatory reporting and connect data across the insurance industry has a chance to revolutionize the entire insurance ecosystem. When you peek behind the curtain, you see just how much went into building out this platform collaboratively with stakeholders in the insurance and technology world.
This is the next installment in a series of conversations with AAIS leadership to get to know them, their background, and the unique work they’re doing within AAIS to further the insurance industry. In this edition, AAIS Views spoke with Michael Payne, Chief Pricing Actuary, about his career, being creative as an actuary, the role data is playing to create better pricing models, and how AAIS is leveraging those models to deliver value to our Members.
Tell us about your background.
Michael Payne: When I was in college, I liked math, but really didn’t know what I wanted to do. Then I heard about Actuarial Science from an alum who came back to campus and gave a presentation about the career path. That’s what sparked my interest. I got an internship at Zurich and that turned into my first job out of school. I started out doing pricing at Zurich, went to SCOR Re to do reinsurance pricing, and went back to Zurich to eventually lead a pricing tools team.
One not-so-traditional role in my career was a stint I did at Sears in their Home Services unit where I was the Director of Underwriting Analysis. Basically, if you bought a refrigerator at Sears, they were going to offer you a protection plan. It was my role to figure out the prices for those protection agreements based on how likely the appliance was going to need to be repaired or even replaced.
Overall, I really like pricing. It’s prospective in nature as you try to determine what might happen in the future.
In the winter of 2018, I joined AAIS where I’ve been able to leverage my pricing experience. My role includes product development and delivering loss costs that are appropriate for the coverage being offered. Not all carriers have a large team of actuaries or loads of data, so our rating plans offer them a faster speed to market for a new line of business, or even insurtechs to get their first policies written.
On Aug. 16, at the 2021 Summer National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) National Meeting, AAIS VP of Government Affairs, Legal & Compliance, Robin Westcott, presented the results of a Proof of Concept (POC) testing whether openIDL could support a COVID-19 Business Interruption Data call issued by the NAIC.
The meeting served as the kickoff for the openIDL Regulatory Reporting Steering Committee (RRSC). Ms. Westcott provided highlights from the positive findings set out in the report published by AAIS declaring that blockchain/distributed ledger technology had passed the test enroute to even broader applications across the industry.
Following is a summary of Ms. Westcott’s presentation: