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Are we there yet?

The question, most typically asked by restless children on a long car trip, kept popping into my mind as I interviewed a group of commercial insurance underwriting leaders and InsurTechs last month for our final magazine this year.

In fact, the P/C industry is there, or very close, to a goal we have been writing about for years. The idea of binding business risks with just two inputs—prospect name and address—isn’t a far-off objective. It’s a near-term reality, according to executives interviewed for our magazine feature, “Travels in Time: The Future of Commercial Underwriting.” In short, the future is now for a growing number of carriers.

The industry is changing.

Or maybe it isn’t.

The most-read feature we published on Carrier Management in 2022 wasn’t about the strides that commercial underwriters or claims professionals have made by embracing technology and automation to move forward into the future.

It was titled, “Actuaries vs. Underwriters: Behavioral Scientist Explains the Age-Old Battle.”

That certainly is an age-old battle. I remember working in the industry and being on one side of those battles 30 years ago. The fact that the article still resonates with Carrier Management professionals today took me by surprise.

The article recounts a presentation that a future-of-work consultant, Dr. Gleb Tsipursky, made before a group of actuaries, explaining that actuarial professionals conveying information about risks that need to be managed and priced have a communication problem. The actuaries’ reputations as doomsayers precede them, he said.


Aren’t advances in data science bringing underwriting, actuarial, sales and claims disciplines closer to a common truth about risk?

Maybe not. Maybe radical change isn’t reshaping the industry as much as we’d like to believe.

As technology moves us forward, we not only need to learn to adapt to it. We still have to relearn the lessons of childhood that involve playing nice with one another.

On a high level, Tsipursky recommends applying the lessons of behavioral science to create shared and aligned incentives with similar outcomes between actuarial groups and underwriter groups and sales groups, and provides specific instructions on how to do it. If you’re haven’t read the article in a while, it’s worth a second look for the advice it delivers.

As for the rest of the most-read articles, there isn’t any common theme that speaks to the events of the year that’s drawing to a close. Two of the features tell stories about how carriers are investing in technology and transforming their businesses—one on the commercial lines side, “How Nationwide Is Transforming Commercial Lines—and More: Q&A With P/C President and COO Berven,” and the other in personal lines, “Telematics Has Kept the Promise: Allstate’s Journey Continues.”

Like eight of the top 10 news articles we republished yesterday, three of the feature articles are about inflationary trends—two about social inflation and one about economic inflation. (Related article: Reflections on Auto Insurance: CM’s Top 10 News Stories of 2022)

Uniquely, article No. 10 on today’s list is written from the perspective of a litigation funder.

Check out the rest of today’s newsletter to reread some of the top features or click on the titles listed below.

  1. Actuaries vs. Underwriters: Behavioral Scientist Explains the Age-Old Battle
  2. How Nationwide Is Transforming Commercial Lines—and More: Q&A With P/C President and COO Berven
  3. 5 Tips to Keep Employees From Leaving
  4. Why InsurTechs Should Be Scared of the Reinsurer’s Veto
  5. Executive Viewpoint: Five ESG Trends for the Insurance Industry in 2022
  6. Why Direct Carriers Do Better During Inflationary Periods
  7. P/C Industry Profits in Current Cycle Lagging Last Hard Market
  8. Social Inflation Hitting the Insurance Industry Hard
  9. Telematics Has Kept the Promise: Allstate’s Journey Continues
  10. Commercial Litigation Funding and Social Inflation: A Non-Sequitur