The Shifting Role of Actuarial Services: Part 2
This is the second post in a 2-part series on the evolving role and growing value of actuaries with Matt Duke, head of global actuarial services at Xceedance. In this post he discusses the importance of partnerships, ways to attract the best actuarial talent, and how he sees technology impacting the actuarial field into the future.
Check out part 1 of Valuing Actuaries with Matt Duke.
Q. How do you go about identifying potential partnerships?
Duke: As an organization we are agile and entrepreneurial in spirit and we recognize that there is more than one way to form a partnership if the output is win-win. So, for any strategic partnership, there must be transparency and the ability to identify areas where there could be synergies and outlining areas where there may be competing interests.
Technology enablement is a key focus for us in the Xceedance actuarial and analytics services team. By combining our offerings with strategic partnerships globally, we supply a comprehensive suite of technology-driven solutions to insurers and reinsurers of all sizes. Companies with actuarial and analytics infrastructure can benefit from a streamlined deployment, while organizations with limited resources can access those solutions via our advisory and consulting services.
Q. How do you plan to attract actuarial talent to sustain your consulting business?
Duke: For actuarial students there are multiple exams that form our credentialing process, and they must spend a lot of hours preparing for each of them. In my view hiring and retaining actuarial talent is about having a comprehensive study program in place and completely embracing a people-first attitude. These candidates are exerting significant effort to pass their actuarial exams, with an average of about 100 hours of preparation for every exam session. To help support these candidates and be seen as an attractive employer, organizations should ensure that the majority of that studying happens as part of a comprehensive study plan, and not trickle into the time people need to give to their families and loved ones outside of work. Providing as much support as possible is a simple and effective approach to hiring and retaining actuarial talent.
Q. Do you think there’s a risk that technology can make the actuarial role obsolete?
Duke: If we’re talking about technology enablement in actuarial sciences – for example robotic process automation or decision analytics – and all the aspects that fall under the data science umbrella, I would say no. Because I think when you look at data science, it has implications across functions and businesses with the actuarial profession being one of the many use cases. In fact, I am looking forward to the positive changes that will help evolve the role of actuaries today.
Throughout my career I have spent a significant amount of my time doing work that could have been automated or done by someone who is not an actuary. Whether it be resource constraints, or a lack of infrastructure to get it done, ultimately it led to me building out tools in Excel, building on process, and working on things that could have been done elsewhere or by someone else who has been given the right knowledge and has technology proficiency.
So, I do think that intelligent technologies and data science can automate a lot of processes within the workflow which will reduce the overall time and effort required of actuaries. This will ensure actuaries focus more on not just risk selection, but also doing the R&D to create new products. I am very supportive of automation and being able to take off some of the work that technology can do better. This can allow actuarial and analytics professionals to spend time creating more value for organizations.
Q. How would you describe Xceedance to the global insurance market?
Duke: Xceedance is a global provider of strategic consulting, technology, and managed services to insurance organizations worldwide. The company helps its clients launch products, drive operations, implement intelligent technology, deploy advance analytics, and achieve business process optimization. The team at Xceedance is comprised of experienced insurance professionals, and that industry knowledge enables insurers, reinsurers, brokers, agents, and program administrators to enhance policyholder service, enter new markets, boost workflow productivity, and improve their profitability.
To learn more about the Actuarial and Analytics team at Xceedance please visit our website.