Archive for June, 2016

Developing Fintech – Carme Leuvennink

Fintech is exactly what the name says:  technology in the world of finance. With most of the attention on software development, the Economist described Fintech as “the magical combination of geeks in T-shirts and venture capital that has disrupted other industries has put financial services in its sights.”

Investment in venture capital backed Fintech companies has grown from $3 million in 2013 to $14 million in 2015. There has been technological development in nearly all areas of finance. For instance, Fintech can be high frequency trading or cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. Banks see it as the decrease in the number of feet in branches while enhancing its online presence. The Insurance industry has not been left behind with Insurtech redefining insurance as we know it. Insurtech includes everything from real-time data collection using smart watches, drones and other diagnostic tools, to data analytics applied in attempts to reduce fraud.

I would go as far as to compare the current age of Fintech to the industrial revolution.  Since the first Industrial Revolution, the greatest impact of technological advance has always been reduction in man hours, which in effect equals cost reduction. A new world of possibilities is opening in the finance sector at a fraction of the cost and time. General efficiency will improve not only because we can now produce results faster and more accurately, but also because more data can now be analysed and reaction time will now be less than ever before.

It is now all about innovation and technological expertise applied to meet unique customer needs. Customers are no longer satisfied with a one size fits all approach in financial services and are now demanding personalised financial products. The gist of it is data analysis. With real-time and bigger than ever before data available, analysts are now able to apply their skills to gain a better understanding of customer needs. They are consequently able to produce individual products to meet unique needs in a shorter amount of time and quite frankly, traditional insurers are struggling to keep up.

So what does Fintech mean to the actuary? Will software eventually take over the job of the actuary? The answer is a definitive no. The future actuary will nevertheless look somewhat different. No longer will countless hours be spent on meticulous calculations. It will now rather be invested in interpretation, forecasting and development, since even though a computer can do the number crunching, it will never have the insight of an expert.

Save the Children Cake Sale

On Friday 17th June, we hosted a cake sale in aid of Save the Children.  Save the Children works in over 120 countries around the world, helping tens of millions of children in desperate need each year. The world is currently experiencing the largest refugee crisis since World War II and Save the Children is working to provide food, safe water, shelter, education and psychological support to as many children as possible. We asked of a minimum donation of £2 per item as just £3 can provide lifesaving medicine for 8 children, so every penny counts!

The idea came from brainstorming how to meet more people within our office building. We recently moved offices so we wanted to get to know everyone. Coinciding with meeting new people, we decided it would be great to do it for a cause close to our hearts. So we chose Save the Children! We wanted to support Save the Children because of the recent refugee crisis exposing thousands of vulnerable children to poverty, illness, grief and abuse.

Our service providers One Avenue Group were kind enough to let us use the ground floor breakout area to set up our cake sale.  Overall we raised £220 for Save the Children. It was a fun day getting to know new people whilst raising money for a great charity. We look forward to hosting many more events supported by One Avenue Group.

Dynamo Cake Sale

ASTIN and worldwide reserving practices – Lori Tan

This week, Adrian and I had the good fortune of attending this year’s ASTIN colloquium in Lisbon, Portugal, the Atlantic capital of Europe, at the Lisbon School of Economics and Management. A beautiful city by the Tagus estuary. For those unfamiliar, the ASTIN is the International Actuarial Association section for Actuarial Studies in Non-Life insurance. And, each year, the colloquium encourages the gathering of actuaries from all around the world to discuss recent developments in actuarial science and engage in the sharing of knowledge, as well as promoting a better understanding of the actuarial profession.

This year’s colloquium was kicked off with a presentation by Prof Paul Embrechts on quantile based risk sharing, which was both engaging in topic and delivery. Also under the spotlight were Loss Reserving, Risk Management, Copulas, Extreme Value Statistics, Model validation and Risk Theory, just to mention a few topics. The papers did not disappoint in their rigour.  Nor the attending crowd in its international diversity and eagerness to share knowledge.

The key driver for my attendance was participation over the past few months in the ASTIN worldwide non-life reserving best practice survey, as the country nominate for Norway and Sweden. At the start of this year, ASTIN launched a worldwide survey, with the aim of publishing a worldwide non-life reserving best practice document – a valuable reference tool on market best practice. Headed by Pierre Miehe, the final report is a fitting testament to all of his efforts in undertaking such a large, global project (42 countries, over 500 responses) and to the efforts of all the working party members and volunteers. Having undertaken reserving in the Australian, UK and Nordic markets, I was very keen to be involved in the initiative and the exploration of the results.

In addition to providing worldwide and country specific results (and some very interesting insights), the final report also expresses some views of the working party on the future of reserving and the value of core actuarial skills. “As Insurance is being impacted by new and disruptive technology, what role will actuaries and actuarial reserving techniques play?”

At Dynamo, we believe strongly in process industrialisation, so that the experts, the actuaries, can focus on the application of judgement, derivation of insight and communication of results.