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From the Editor's Desk
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From the Editor’s Desk: Insurers gain a clearer picture of risk with their use of data. May’s issue also looks at industry innovation and how an insurer is hoping to alleviate concerns about the reintroduction of the Eurasian lynx in England and Scotland.
  • Patricia Vowinkel
  • May 2019
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In The New York Times last month, the headline read: At Cosmopolitan Magazine, Data Is the New …. (Use your imagination.)

Data, it seems, is on everyone's mind. What is being collected? How is it being used? Who has it and what are they doing with it? At Cosmopolitan, the story is about a new editor's drive to boost the magazine's online statistics.

While Cosmopolitan collects data about the types of stories that website readers prefer, other businesses have other data interests.

There's no shortage of information. Siri and Alexa are always listening. Our cars record how we drive. What we buy each week at the grocery store is recorded via store loyalty programs. All of this information forms a picture about us, our health, our driving habits and personal responsibility.

For insurers, that kind of information can help them to better price risk, expand into new markets, identify fraud and control costs.

But there are catches.

May is Data and Advanced Analytics Awareness Month. Insurers are searching for new and unconventional forms of information to replace outdated static sources.

To find out more about the data insurers should be using, and the little black box that's most likely hidden in your car, read “The Wild West of Data.”

How did a reinsurer use information about deer population density to help a client make decisions about its business? Find out in “Data Driven.”

Life insurers and health insurers also are looking at how they can make the best use of the new data available to them. Read “A Revolution in Underwriting” and “Weighing in on Wearables,” to find out more.

Unconventional data is now coming from innovative new technology such as wearables and social media. Insurers have been exploring technology such as artificial intelligence, blockchain and machine learning, as they seek to improve their businesses.

In “AM Best Assesses Innovation in Draft Criteria,” AM Best explains its draft criteria on innovation. In “Looking Beyond Technology,” James Gillard, AM Best senior managing director, criteria, research and analytics, discusses the new innovation criteria.

At the InsureTech Connect conference in Las Vegas, AMBestTV gathered executives from Munich Re, Sompo Holdings and AM Best for a panel discussion about innovation. “Technology and Transformation” is an excerpt of that discussion.

Innovation can take many forms—and not all of it is high-tech. To reduce the overpopulation of deer in England and Scotland, for instance, Lynx UK Trust wants to reintroduce the Eurasian lynx. Sheep farmers are uneasy about this idea. Find out how insurance is playing a role in “Into the Wild.”

To read these and other features on your laptop or mobile device, go to

Patricia Vowinkel, Executive Editor,

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