Social Networking’s Role In Measuring Terrorism Risk


The criticism of calculating terrorism risk was the perception that analysts could not predict human behavior. As it turns out, no one needed to. Social-networking analysis has been “very effective” since 9/11, [Gordon] Woo says, in foiling numerous terrorism attacks. In addition to its first priority of keeping America safe, the tactic has “protected insurers from paying large losses,” he adds.

It’s incredibly interesting that even bin Laden—a man who took great pains to avoid personal contact with social media and electronic networks in general—still wasn’t able to escape their reach.

If bin Laden can’t escape, who can?

, ,

Leave a comment

Risk adapts

Risk has a way of changing and adapting to your risk management strategies. Risk is like water looking for the weak seam to flow through and produce a leak. Water is not being an evil conscious entity, that is just the nature water. And that is the nature of risk as well. It will adapt and change and will find the cracks in your risk management system.


Leave a comment

Financial services industry still sending mixed signals about social media

Goldman Sachs has invested $450 million in Facebook, yet the social network is still blocked for Goldman employees.

(via Erik Qualman)


Leave a comment

Financial institutions’ social media supply not meeting demand

A Fiserv white paper indicates that more than a third of financial institutions’ customers want to connect through social media (and nearly half of Gen Y do), but only 11% currently are.

Leave a comment

The ‘What is an actuary song’

I’m a little late finding it myself, but here’s a promotional video for the actuarial field (via

In my opinion, there are many potential uses for video media in the actuarial profession, and they go well beyond simply promoting the profession. For example, why not use YouTube videos to provide instruction for actuarial software?

It would be an ideal way to provide on-demand education and also allow the exchange of ideas in comment threads. It would also help relieve employers of the burden to train new employees on software. Use the web to let new hires train with others, and let them cheaply find answers to questions that may have already been asked.

Leave a comment

FarmVille insurance

Not that long ago, I asked the question: What role will actuaries and risk analysts play in virtual economies?

I may get an answer much sooner than I expected. Insurance Journal reports that Farmers Insurance is now offering coverage in FarmVille, a “virtual world” game within Facebook:

When players place the Farmers Airship on their farm, they receive free “wither protection” for the crops on their virtual farm. In a nod to the security that Farmers Insurance offer its customers, this protection means players crops won’t wither for the 10 days of the promotion.

But if you’re an actuary that wants to start pricing virtual goods and services, I wouldn’t get too excited just yet. This first take appears to be mostly a marketing campaign – an effort to draw attention to the Farmers Facebook page.

But still, it’s a start.

Hat tip to Claude Penland for sharing a link to this story.

, , , ,

Leave a comment

Actuaries and Web 2.0 in 2010

Risk 2.0 has been a little quiet lately. I’ve been immersed in several projects. One of them just culminated in a trip to New York City to attend the 2010 Society of Actuaries Annual Meeting.

I was part of a panel that presented a session called “The Actuarial Technology Perfect Storm.” In the session, we discussed a model for creating a better working relationship between actuaries and IT professionals. Our goal was to point out that while a disintegrated actuarial-IT structure may work okay today, it’s not sustainable given the rapidly changing technological demands on actuarial work.

Our findings were based on a survey of actuaries that we’ve conducted the past three years. In 2009, we introduced a question on Web 2.0. The question asked respondents to indicate their awareness and implementation of seven Web 2.0 technologies:

  • Crowdsourcing
  • Social Networks
  • Dynamic Documentation
  • Wikis
  • Instant Messaging
  • Collaborative Product/ Service Design
  • Blogs

Awareness and implementation increased across the board in 2010. However, it’s clear that actuaries are still very much in a discovery phase with Web 2.0.

Instant messaging, blogs, and social networks were the most recognized Web 2.0 technologies in the survey. Roughly 90% of respondents had heard of each of them. They were also among the most highly implemented to date. 30% had implemented instant messaging, 11% blogs, and 8% social networks.

In my mind, the Web 2.0 tool that would provide the biggest immediate benefit to actuaries is the wiki, which is an ideal way to openly store documentation and procedures for easy access. Wikis were recognized by 73% of actuaries in 2010 (a healthy increase of 16% over 2009). But only 10% had implemented a wiki in their work.

If you’ve implemented any of these technologies or want to know more about them, let me know.

, , , , , ,

1 Comment