The Future of Risk

I just returned from the inaugural “Future of Risk” conference sponsored by The Institutes and held in Chicago.  Although there is considerable hype over “Insurtech” and “Risktech” in recent months, much of it is pie-in-the-sky aspirations that will not survive in the real-world of commerce.  This conference didn’t ignore the hype but it refreshingly balanced it with innovations that are already bringing benefit to the risk management and insurance industry, as well as the customers we serve.

Blockchain received significant attention at this conference, no doubt owing to the fact that The Institutes has taken a leadership role with the formation of the RiskBlock Alliance consortium that is preparing to launch a few of its earliest use cases and a software development kit for third party developers in just a few months.  I had the good fortune to participate in some workshop sessions discussing the next blockchain (or more accurately in this case, distributed ledger technology) use cases for the industry.  Certificate of insurance use cases are definitely gaining traction – and that’s good news for this element of the insurance industry that is best described as a necessary evil for many of us.

Other emerging technologies that will have great impact on RMI include artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, internet of things, quantum computing, and the common threads of security and privacy.  Of particular interest to me is the concept of quantum computing that promises computing power that is an order of magnitude more powerful than anything available heretofore.  The 128-bit password keys that we all rely on to keep our data safe today because it would take even a super computer several years to hack them, will be cracked in milliseconds by a quantum computer.  This means that new methods of security and authentication will need to be developed.  The good news is that they are!

In terms of technologies already making a difference, I attended a session on claim fraud investigation in the age geospatial social media.  We all know (or should know) that we must be careful with our privacy settings on social media platforms, and even then, we must be careful about what we post.  Fortunately, insurance claim fraudsters who cause higher insurance costs for everyone else, are not usually so careful.  It was amazing (and sobering) to learn how much meaningful information to combat fraudulent claims can be gleaned from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Venmo, and others.

I could go on but I will conclude by saying that it was an enlightening conference that I plan to add as an experiential learning option for our Ferris State RMI students in the future.  They will be the lucky ones to use and further develop these technologies in their risk careers.

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