If supermarket chains wanted to get in the business of selling property/casualty insurance, there is a source of consumer information they might tap to identify the best risks that most P/C actuaries haven’t considered.

Executive Summary

Recognizing that the predictive power of credit data lies in the fact that it's essentially behavioral data, Deloitte's James Guszcza suggests that the barcode data from groceries might also be useful for insurers in assessing accident potential of individuals. During a recent actuarial meeting, Guszcza and Aon's Stephen Mildenhall reviewed the basics of big data, the potential uses and pitfalls, as well as the implications for actuaries.

It’s supermarket scanner data, according to James Guszcza, an actuary and chief data scientist for Deloitte Consulting in the U.S., who explained why such data is relevant at the Casualty Actuarial Society’s annual meeting last week, during a session titled “Big Data: What It Is and What It Means for the Insurance Industry.”

First going through several examples of big data that seemed to suggest a diminished role for actuaries in the future, Guszcza came full circle during his talk, ultimately advancing the idea that big data is essentially behavioral data, which actuaries can analyze.

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