A group of actuaries recently polled about whether people working for InsurTech startups were more talented than those working at incumbent carriers assessed them as just about the same.

Executive Summary

FIRST ARTICLE OF A SERIES The talent is winning the talent war between InsurTechs and incumbents, according to executive recruiters who weighed in on a debate teed up at a recent industry meeting, which had InsurTech representatives laying claim to higher numbers of young, tech-savvy industry recruits and seasoned professionals looking for new challenges but others suggesting that even younger professionals are seeking the stability of traditional carrier and reinsurance employment.

The true answer, however, may be different, one expert says.

Speaking on a panel at the Casualty Actuarial Society Seminar on Reinsurance in June, Andrew Johnston, global head of InsurTech at Willis Re, hinted that incumbents had stronger talent pools and noted that while announcements of insurance industry veterans joining InsurTechs are quite public, “what we’re seeing is an increasing number of InsurTech younger people joining incumbents.”

“I don’t know if that’s because they don’t necessarily believe in the businesses they work for, or that they want to work for an incumbent, or they think that that is a longer-term bet that they want to back themselves on. But I wouldn’t say that the data would support the idea that they’re more talented, just given the number of [InsurTech] businesses that don’t make it,” he said, referring to Willis Re data showing that the infant mortality rate of InsurTechs globally is very high.

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