The fundamentals of the junior actuary’s day-to-day role have shifted, and often they are now also part-programmer. For this reason, actuaries should be driving tech transformation and working with traditional IT departments to facilitate integration.
Within insurance companies actuaries are perfectly placed to understand business requirements and drive digital transformation. Often this highly technical role in the company is represented on the board of directors, works alongside underwriters and has the ear of IT departments.
The actuary has to be vocal across all three of these business areas, as they are often best positioned to understand the big impact that investment in digital systems can have.
To the board, the actuaries should be making the business case for quality investment in systems and guiding the resource to the most impactful causes. Often this is away from big flashy projects that over promise and under deliver, and instead toward less glamorous, sometimes chronic, pain points. Real change here will result in noticeable improvements.
To the business users, underwriters, claims handlers and reinsurance teams, the actuary can be the salesperson. They can sell visions of a better future, and listen to feedback to improve systems as they are brought in and further developed.
To the IT crowd, the actuary can be a communicator. When the business makes a request, the actuary needs to make sure the request has been heard. The actuary is also best able to act as translator in the other direction, when the technical jargon of complex IT projects is bewildering to most.
Actuarial teams must be at the crossroads of the insurance company: providing direction at the top, facilitating communication in the middle, and ensuring the supporting base matches the designs.