As I woke up among the rolling buttes of Tempe, AZ I was excited about this year’s RAPA Conference. Not only did conference topics look interesting, but I was excited to moderate the panel on the future of data privacy and data security later in the week with thought and industry leaders in life reinsurance.
We began the conference with one of my favorite topics and one that have been on everyone’s minds…Data! The panel consisting of Genevra Pflaum, AVP, Client Data at Hannover Re, Evelyn Bradanovich, AVP, Operations at Pacific Services Canada Limited, Lisa Sher, Manager, Data Load at SCOR Global Life Americas, and Ellen Fedorowicz, Reinsurance Manager at Jackson National Life Insurance. The reasons that data is so significant in our industry and the importance of data integrity and the downstream effects of bad data were discussed. Controls and best practices that we can all utilize in our organizations to keep data clean were shared and the panel suggested that we should be constantly investing in good quality data. They highlighted some of the largest challenges we see in the industry:
- Reconciling, researching and resolving variances
What are the best solutions for quantifying risk? How do you allow for the uncertainties and their correlations? How do different variables effect individual liabilities?
- Post Level Term Analysis
focusing on the magnitude and impact of the lapse and mortality at the end of the level premium period?
- Data impacting experience studies
what conclusions can be drawn and how does it affect life insurance products and pricing?
Highlight: consistency is the key. The data impacts mortality assumptions and pricing, so it is vital that we get it right.
RAPA Day 1
The Power of People
Our very own Tonya Blackmore, CEO of Apexa, spoke about how to “Unleash the Power of People” within our organizations. Tonya delighted us with real life examples of employee engagement and she highlighted the differences between engaged employees and happy employees. Tonya discussed the importance of having employees who are “Strivers”, those who lean into their roles, take ownership and initiative within your organization and how to achieve and maintain a culture that promotes striving.
We continued to be delighted, as Stephen Cooley, Chief Administrative Officer of Aurigen Re took us on a journey of Stephen spoke about wearable technology and big data and how insurance companies are considering the use of this information to predict future experience and underwrite cases. He spoke about various “Cloud” technology and how it is being used inside an outside of our industry. The fundamentals of cloud will enable insurers to save on costs but it extends further impacting how insurers create and deliver products and services, reach and interact with clients, collaborate with partners, manage value chains, assess and manage risk and generate revenues – many of the opportunities are yet to be identified.
The wrap up session hosted by Michael Barnett, President & CEO of mL3 global life, Jill Dupuis, VP Operations at Pacific Services Canada, Paula Boswell-Brier, VP Operations at RGA, and Sara Murphy, VP at mL3 global life and received some valuable insight from the panel and other groups, on their experiences and suggestions for 2015 improving efficiency in our everyday administrative practices around the topics above. We walked away with a list of ideas and task that we could incorporate into our organizations to improve data quality, compliance, financial projections and experience studies going forward.
RAPA Day 2
Discussing the Future
Day 2 was going to start with The Future of Data Privacy & Security in Reinsurance and Beyond. The session was informative as we discussed how vulnerable our industry is when it comes to data security and data privacy. Mitch Ocampo, EVP of TAI supplied us with real world examples of data breaches and vulnerabilities, while also giving us some insight on what TAI currently has in place to deal with these risks. TAI has implemented cloud services and will be launching a foresight component which offers clients forward look into their data, Connector which will allow systems to easily communicate by linking and transfering data.
Markus Stout, Manager Software Engineering at Massachusetts General Hospital, was a welcomed addition as a non-industry panelist. His examples in hospitals provided insight into the medical environment. He highlighted that educating your staff and employees within your organization are a vital key to success when it comes to data privacy and data security.
As the third panelist, Brian Millman, VP, Director of Underwriting Services at MIB, rounded out the expertise by providing us with his experience as a supplier of data to insurers and reinsurers. Brian stressed the focus on best practices and access/security levels within an organization to limit your exposure to risk by only allowing employees to access to information that they need to complete their respective jobs.
I followed up with Brian Millman to get his thoughts on the conference.
“I do not attend the RAPA conference every year, but when I am able, I am always pleasantly surprised by the people. Although reinsurance admin is a very specific function within an insurer, the RAPA attendees are very eager to consider and discuss the larger business issues. It’s a refreshing group.
When I was asked to speak on a panel regarding data privacy, I was hoping that speaking from an MIB perspective would be of interest to the audience. We sit in a unique position in the industry, we are a member owned organization and security needs to be a very high priority due to the nature of the data we disseminate. When the RAPA audience had the opportunity to consider data privacy from this perspective but also hear Mitch Ocampo from TAI and Markus Stout from Mass General Hospital, my hope is that they quickly realized we largely have the same data privacy issues but from slightly different perspectives. I felt that one of the biggest takeaways that all three panelists independently expressed is that educating your company’s employees is critical to having a quality security program and avoiding a security incident.”
Wrapping up RAPA 2015
The conference wrapped up with an overview of initiatives of the work completed this year and the focus moving forward towards a more innovative, resourceful and connected landscape. It was nice to see all of the great work RAPA and the various committees are doing to improve our industry. So many important topics were highlighted through thought provoking conversations in such a short time frame, many valuable takeaways to share within my organization to continue our goal of improving the industry overall. I hope you found so too.