June 2018

General Insurance Research Update Article

By Scott Lennox

The General Insurance Research Committee continues to meet monthly to identify relevant research topics and potential partnering organizations with the goal of furthering the SOA’s activities in general insurance. As well, the committee is dedicated to providing members with results that will help them in their day-to-day activities. The committee welcomes ideas for consideration and is seeking additional members. If you are interested in either submitting ideas or becoming a member, please contact Scott Lennox, SOA staff fellow at slennox@soa.org .

The SOA has the following two general insurance research projects that have been completed and are published on the SOA general insurance research page.

  • Premium Distribution & Market Competitiveness under Rate Regulation—This paper concerns optimal new business written premium mix at the firm and state levels under varying competitive conditions. The report determines a company’s optimal new business written premium mix for a given geographical area such as a state, as well as predicting statewide product mixes under varying rate regulation scenarios involving profit caps. The report also involves measuring/testing a market’s competitiveness for a given line of business, which can be of value for regulators.
  • Auto Loss Cost Trends Report—This report provides an analytical basis for discussion and understanding for regulators, legislators, and the general public about national trends and state specific factors that may be driving the auto insurance loss costs, which ultimately impact premiums and the consumer.
  • Actuarial Review of Insurer Insolvencies, Future Preventions—Sponsored by the Canadian Institute of Actuaries (CIA), Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS), and Society of Actuaries (SOA), this study looks at causes of insolvency and decisions made by management, regulators and policyholders over the life cycle of the insolvency. This study is intended to educate insurance professionals on historical insurer impairments and insolvencies and possible future prevention indicators.

The SOA has the following research project relating to general insurance currently in progress:

  • Predictive Analytics an Application to Agriculture—The overall aim of the proposed research is to develop new predictive models in the context of agricultural insurance. To accomplish the overall objective, this research will include developing an innovative time-series extrapolating model that can provide long-term crop yield forecasting. A main contribution of this research is that the new proposed forecasting model can decompose the effects of weather and technology on crop yield. Therefore, the forecasting model will help to explain how much of the observed yield trend is due to advances in technology, and how much of the trend may be due to weather conditions.
  • Autonomous Vehicles in the Insurance Industry—This research aims to provide a consistent framework for the changes that are occurring in the transportation and insurance industry relating to autonomous vehicle technology. The research will focus on three technologies that the insurance industry will be most concerned with:
    • Safe driving: The technology in vehicles that continuously monitors what the drivers are doing and warns of impending danger. This is critical to insurance and can reduce liability exposure.
    • Self-driving cars: Technology where the vehicle has safe-driving capabilities in addition to technology that can drive the vehicle. 
    • Driverless: Technology where there is no steering wheel and no brakes.

The SOA General Insurance Research Committee is currently finalizing the research topics that will be used to develop requests for proposals. Once research projects are chosen,

the SOA will be seeking individuals to join a volunteer project oversight group (POG) to help guide and oversee each project. The POG seeks four to seven volunteers who may be FSAs, ASAs, or non-members with backgrounds in the topic. Volunteers are expected to participate in periodic, hour-long conference calls (a total of five to 10 calls expected over the course of a project) to review material and provide guidance. Research projects provide a way for volunteers to network, build upon their experience in the field, and help support the SOA’s research efforts. If you have questions about the research projects listed above, contact Scott Lennox, SOA staff fellow at slennox@soa.org. If you would like to volunteer, please review the current open volunteer positions on the Volunteer Opportunities Database

Scott Lennox, FSA, FCIA, FCAS, is a staff fellow for the Society of Actuaries. He can be contacted at slennox@soa.org.