Verikai Through the Lens of a Former Actuary
Actuaries play an integral role in the underwriting process for any insurance carrier. Their ability to mix data with insights is imperative to keeping books of business afloat and underwriting new and profitable policies. So, what happens when technology has paved the way for better past and present insights regarding underwriting? We sat down with Ayanna Charles, former actuary, and current Solutions Consultant at Verikai, to get her actuarial opinions on how actuaries, underwriting teams, and Verikai’s predictive modeling can work together for the future of underwriting.
As a former actuary, what drew you to work for a company like Verikai?
I was initially drawn to Verikai because I learned they utilized a vast treasure trove of data and machine learning models to reimagine the world of insurance underwriting. The challenge of making a career change was scary at first, but I knew deep down that you don’t decide to be an actuary without having a desire to continually learn. You don’t make a big pivot into the tech space without deciding to discover new things. I was excited about the new role as a Solutions Consultant and the opportunity to work on something exciting that took me back to my early beginnings.
I am a huge fan of Verikai and am thankful I joined the team as a Solutions Consultant. Coming from an actuarial background, I have always loved the honesty in numbers. It’s one of the reasons that I had an affinity for math as a child. My passion has intensified because I am now able to take things a step further because technology is continuously evolving. At Verikai, this technological evolution is better at processing enormous amounts of data to learn about past and present experiences, thereby increasing our precision as we paint a picture of what the future is likely to look like.
Where do you see the value of Verikai’s solutions?
At Verikai, we use the power of computing using algorithms to predict the future better and base our predictions on relevant data at a group and individual level. One of our most significant competitive advantages is that we deploy our models using behavioral data in addition to clinical, Rx, and past claiming experience. The behavioral data gives you much more of a personalized approach to underwriting insurance. Our approach improves current industry practices in underwriting, which primarily base insurance premium setting on gender, age, sex, location, and industry. Unfortunately, using the traditional approach to underwriting often results in individuals being penalized unfairly because they become subject to community ratings.
Take the case of young women around 25 who are charged the highest health care premiums because rating manuals assign a high likelihood that they would become pregnant. Our solution of personalized risk assessment would factor in key life events that we glean from behavioral data to help in the assessment. If, for example, our data tells us that a specific 25-year-old woman that we’ve matched in our database recently switched jobs, started a new 401K retirement plan, drives a two-door car, and travels at least 50% each month for work, our models will assign less likelihood that she would be family planning. Our recommended risk measures would reflect this relevant data. Customers that use our platform are therefore aggressive in setting premiums, making them more competitive in the market. We’re providing a cutting-edge solution that has so much potential to bring insurance underwriting into the future.
How do you see actuarial and underwriting teams using a solution like Verikai?
One of our main goals is to help our customers see the benefits of adopting predictive risk tools and how they can better understand the groups they’re underwriting. We’ve had multiple instances of actuary teams struggling to accept the value Verikai adds because our software is so different from everything actuaries learned in school; it may even feel threatening to those teams. This is one reason I think it’s valuable to have a consultant like me on the team. My understanding of both Verikai’s products and the workflow of actuaries can help diffuse any concerns they have. With our robust database, actuaries can use their extensive industry knowledge and layer the Verikai predictive models on top to assess risk in a way that was never possible before. Instead of only evaluating risk by looking at the past, Verikai gives powerful insights into the future that actuaries can study to make confident underwriting decisions.
How is Verikai providing actuaries a solution for the future?
I see so much opportunity for us to revolutionize the insurance industry and provide a key solution to actuaries. At the onset of my career in the actuarial field, I would have never thought about all the possibilities that having access to the right type and quantity of data could do to improve how we price risk. Since joining Verikai, I’ve learned a lot about machine learning, the models we deploy, and the alternative data sources we leverage. Each customer comes with their own unique experiences and challenges. This has helped me understand many pain points providers experience in the insurance ecosystem. With this in mind, I now consider the evolution of the software we bring to the market. The possibilities are endless.
To learn more about our predictive modeling, check out our blog post.
Want to learn more about Ayanna? Connect on LinkedIn.