Great opportunity for Data Scientists and Data junkies:

Big data and new technology provide great opportunities for data analytics to help solve real world problems.  This is definitely relevant in the insurance industry as insurers/reinsurers are always trying to utilize data to improve decision making and/or risk adjusted returns.   This is a great opportunity for data scientists and data junkies to join an industry that will embrace their unique skills to solve these problems.

The opportunity

The insurance industry has tremendous amounts of structured and unstructured data sets for data scientists to dig their teeth into.  Essentially helping solve current or future problems.  Data Scientists will have the opportunities with insurance companies to explore previously underutilized data sources such as social media, government data sources, and other free unstructured data sources.

Industry Culture

Insurers will need to embrace these skills, new employees and type of new talent to gather, manage, and understand rapidly evolving types, sources and amounts of data.   This will require changing the culture at many traditional insurers/reinsurers to closer align with environments this new talent will be comfortable working and interested in joining.


Insurers have typically relied on actuaries as the traditional method of analyzing data and helping to make predictions, however, those who can help build data sets, research, and solve problems will become the future of this insurance industry.  See the article on Machine learning vs. Actuarial Science.  

The future

As a data junkie myself, I love that the industry is moving in this direction.  The data helps make informed decisions.  Again, history doesn’t always repeat itself and some tools may prove false positive/negative, but overtime the more data the better when making predictions.

Existing talent

Insurers & Reinsurers should also embrace young/mid career level talent who can understand and communicate with these data scientists.  The industry will need project managers, coming with underwriting skills (analytic skills) as well as a comfort level with technology to speak with the data scientists, green light projects, prioritize, and allocate resources to projects.


Current industry management is struggling with a talent gap focused around ages of employees and succession plans.  Although important, management should be focused on getting the right young talent for the future.  The right talent includes data scientists as a majority of the need.  The data & technology needs of the industry can help close the age/skills gap as insurers will be able to do more with less.  Ultimately lowering their expense ratio over time.  This will be good for shareholders long term, might cause some short term pain, but long term it is necessary for each organization.

Long term managements will come to embrace data scientists as the demand and competition for the talent will grow.


If you are a data scientists or data junkie, please consider the insurance industry as a great chance to start or take your career to the next level.

There are many ways to utilize your skills to make a difference in the world, help organizations, and broaden your experiences to a new industry.

About the author

Arnold Smith

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