Off-topic, but I really am an alliterative slayer these days…

Anyway, back to the topic at hand, Atidot and its actuarial focus. Atidot is an Israeli-founded company that is aiming to apply analytics to the surprisingly old-world business of life insurance. Atidot offers a cloud-based platform that allows life insurance providers to apply data to their decision making processes. Atidot was actually founded by a team made up of both data scientists and actuaries, including the former Chief Actuary at the Israel Ministry of Finance

At this risk of committing the worst of all sins, and repeating the buzzwords that Atidot itself used in its press release, the company is harnessing advanced artificial intelligence, machine learning, and predictive analytics to enable life insurers and annuity writers to make data-driven business decisions while enhancing their services to cater to the unique requirements of their customers. Beyond the spin, that is actually a worthwhile proposition – the business of assessing risk, and hence determining coverage and premiums, is a world that is characterized by slide rules and dusty, dim-lit offices. If any industry needs disrupting, it’s the actuarial one.

Readers would be forgiven for thinking that the life insurance industry is both boring and limited, but nothing could be further from the truth – life insurance is valued at around $600 billion dollars in the US alone, and is, as mentioned previously, in sore need of access to more informed ways of both calculating premiums and coverage and also delivering new business models. As Dror Katzav, CEO and co-founder of Atidot points out:

Very little of the data possessed by the life insurance industry is being utilized for strategic purposes. Current legacy systems do not handle the abundance of data now available, often leaving life insurers in the dark about the nature and behavior of their policyholders. Atidot was founded to enable insurers to become more client-centric. By using existing policyholder data, combined with open sourced information, we build a complete picture of a policyholder and predict their behavior, allowing carriers to offer the best possible service and develop the best business strategy.

Based on some early success, Atidot is today announcing a $5 million series A funding round that is being led by Vertex Ventures with the participation of existing investors The D.E. Shaw Group, Moneta Seeds, and Bank Hapoalim. The funding is being targeted at expanding the all-important US sales initiatives, as well as core platform build out. As well as the funding, Atidot are announcing some an important hire in Martin Snow who is joining the company as Vice President and Chief Delivery Officer. A former executive at Prudential, TIAA, and MetLife, Martin is a member of the Big Data Task Force of the American Academy of Actuaries and led the development of the industry’s first ULSG, priced with Principle-Based Reserves, as well as the conversion of the pricing models to a new platform. Snow is obviously well-placed to comment on potential disruption in the industry and suggests that:

Life insurers and annuity writers can develop new strategies for their in-force management and new business activities through the insights generated by predictive analytics. [Atidot is] providing life insurers with new strategies to meet the opportunities and challenges they are facing.

MyPOV

Have no doubt, this is a really big opportunity. Add to that the fact that the models that companies like Atidot develop can be applied to other parts of the actuarial process and you have a massive opportunity. it might be uncomfortable to all those musty old actuaries and their slide rules and abaci, but they’re wet to be disrupted.

Of course, Atidot isn’t alone in trying to solve this puzzle and, most notable, competitor Montoux is gaining much credibility in the market for its own take on what a data-driven actuarial platform could look like. it will be fascinating to see how this space develops over time.

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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