Posts Tagged actuary

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.

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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.

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Risk + 2.0 – The week in links July 9, 2010

1. How the Gulf Coast Benefit is Using Social Media to Rally Support

Sloane Berrent, co-producer of the Gulf Coast Benefit said, “I have always believed that our online interactions are meant to facilitate our offline experiences and the Gulf Coast Benefit is a perfect example of that. You can find an event or make a donation online and we are using social media tools to bring people together … It’s a way of extending the conversation that wasn’t available even three years ago and it’s a game changer.”

This is just another example of how social media can be used to connect people times of crisis. Insurers are usually key players in crises, and we’re already seeing examples of insurers using social media to facilitate claims processes during times of widespread distress, like the recent Nashville flooding.

2. Friends in Need

More information and examples of how insurers are using social media to respond to catastrophic events.

“A trend we’re seeing is that insurers are taking a proactive approach to disaster response,” says Passmore. “Companies can see where their policyholders who may have been affected by natural disasters are located and contact them immediately after the disaster occurs to determine the need for assistance.”

3. Cyber liability insurance: Don’t run a business without it

This article makes a good case for the need for cyber liability insurance. The author details a number of risk scenarios where companies would not be covered by traditional insurance.

4. 6 Ways to Manage International Relationships Online

Many insurers are multinational companies. But anyone who uses the web for communication should have a basic awareness of how the things they say may be perceived by people in other cultures. This Mashable article provides some very practical advice and tools.

5. Insurers tap new tools to reach the high-tech generation

A brief discussion on the use of social media by insurance agents in British Columbia.

6. 10,000 Actuarial Students!

The actuarial profession has traditionally been a fairly small population, but our numbers may soon grow faster. This article notes that 10,000 people in India are currently taking actuarial exams. We should expect an increase in the number and quality of professionals originating from nations like India in the next decade.

Web 2.0 tools will bring them online faster than ever before. It would be a mistake to assume that an actuary (or any other professional) groomed in India will only work in India. Whether you’re an aspiring or established actuary, there is reason not to be complacent. Focus on how you can differentiate yourself down the road, and focus on how you can use the web to extend the scope of your services beyond the traditional sphere.

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