A glimpse into today’s general insurance market

Justin Portelli reviews the recent half-day ‘GI Glimpse’ Seminar at the Actuaries Institute, packed with insights on cars of the future, pricing perils and the impact of climate change and cyber space on the general insurance industry.

On 8 September 2015 the Institute hosted the first ever GI Glimpse seminar. With a target audience of young general insurance actuaries, the half-day seminar sought to provide attendees with a glimpse into the multitude of opportunities, challenges and areas arising in the rapidly evolving general insurance industry.

The half-day seminar was jam-packed with thought-provoking and eye-opening content spanning eight presenters over three Plenary sessions and a riveting keynote address. The event was well attended, with the 100 delegates and presenters filling The Forum of the Institute’s Sydney offices, reflecting the appeal of the event to the target audience.

Our very own president, Estelle Pearson, was the master of ceremonies for the event and welcomed the delegates and presenters before introducing the keynote address which was a highlight of the afternoon for many.

SteveCratchleyThe keynote speaker, Steve Cratchley (pictured left), Advanced Technology Pricing Manager at Suncorp presented a fascinating address on The Cars of the Future. A specialist in future technologies, Steve highlighted the rapid technological advancements that have been occurring in the autonomous motor vehicle technology space. The address was fascinating and considered the wide-ranging impacts autonomous technology could have on the motor vehicle insurance industry, with initial estimates of possible reductions in claim frequencies of up to 60% and likely reductions on claims severity. Most interesting of all, perhaps, was just how close we are to being able to experience this technology, with suggestions that semi-automated cars could be on our roads in the next decade and that sometime in the not so far future, manually driven cars could become a relic of the past as did the horse and carriage of earlier years. The delegates were intrigued, if not positively frightened, as Steve described his experiences as a passenger in an experimental semi-automated vehicle in Germany as he held tightly to his seatbelt, being transported at high speeds on a busy road by a car with no driver at the wheel.

“…sometime in the not so far future, manually driven cars could become a relic of the past as did the horse and carriage of earlier years.”

The first Plenary focused on the general insurance landscape as well as the outlook for the future.  Andrew Cohen, from Finity Consulting presented the delegates with a glimpse into the Industry Outlook on Profit and Growth, highlighting the strong currents that will be faced by some segments of the industry in the future. Continuing the theme of looking forward, Warren Dresner from Willis Re illustrated the Emerging Risks, Emerging Opportunities that have presented themselves in the General Insurance space. By learning from risks which have emerged in the past, Warren outlined how some of the possible emerging risks (Cyber Liability, Climate Change, the ‘Internet of Things’ and many others) could have broad ranging impacts on the industry. He also described how these risks might be addressed in the future and how the industry may be able to turn these risks into opportunities. Mitch Prevett from Quantium rounded out the first Plenary with an introduction to Big Data and highlighted how actuaries can harness their unique skills and the ever growing big data ecosystem to provide tailor made solutions to questions that have not been able to be answered before.

The second Plenary was focused on Five things insurers can do about Climate Change, presented by Sharanjit Paddam from Taylor Fry. Sharanjit provided a wealth of insights into the activities that that insurers can do in response to the concern of climate change. The Plenary highlighted a highly interesting topic area that could have broad ranging impacts on the general insurance industry in the future.

The third and final Plenary focused on the skills for tomorrow that will be required of today’s young actuaries. The work involved in Capital modelling and ICAAP is an area of great interest to young actuaries and provides a holistic approach to consideration of the risks faced by general insurers. Irene Yiu from QBE shared some of her experiences and the various used of capital modelling and the ICAAP process in answering some of the difficult risk questions that insurers ponder.

Richard Gibbs from Tokio Millenium Re then shared his insight into the Skills for Reinsurance that are required of young professionals navigating the reinsurance market.  Justin Ho from IAG rounded out the day with his talk on The Perilous journey to Perils Pricing. From Hailstorms to Earthquakes to Meteor showers, Justin emphasised the importance of “knowing your perils” and gave a glimpse into how the actuarial skill-set can be applied in the area of modelling perils in an environment of limited data and significant risk.

The afternoon concluded with vibrant discussion at the networking drinks as the delegates, presenters and industry representatives continued their conversations on the various topics discussed at the seminar.

On behalf of the organising committee, I’d like to specially thank all of the speakers for their stimulating presentations as well as Liz Gemmell and Emma Simonson from the Institute’s events team who did an excellent job orchestrating the finer details and organisation of the event. It would be wonderful to see more events of such a high calibre being available to young actuaries in the profession in the future.

For more event photos and to download event presententaions, head to the GI Glimpse microsite.

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