6 insurance-university partnerships laying data groundwork

Published
  • November 14 2017, 5:15am EST

Insurers are embracing the data-driven digital future of the industry. But carriers also compete with companies in several other industries for the analytics talent that will power initiatives. In order to raise the profile of the industry and encourage data graduates to join their firms, several carriers are partnering with colleges on various programs to introduce students to the possibilities of insurance. Following are six recent initiatives.

AIG and Clemson

AIG has invested $4 million in South Carolina's Clemson University to endow the Robert Benmosche Endowed Professorship in Risk Engineering and Systems Analytics, named after the company’s former president and chief executive officer. The endowed professorship will develop curriculum and educational programs in the field of risk engineering and analytics, cultivate scientific investigation and research, recruit faculty, and create technologies that advance the field.

The center also will expand AIG’s engineering capabilities and enhance the understanding of risk and ways to mitigate it. Its mission will be to create a next-generation workforce skilled in risk engineering and systems analytics, develop innovative technology-based tools to mitigate risk exposure, and facilitate the use of big data to make critical decisions.

Content Continues Below

AXIS Re and University of Illinois

Axis Re hosted its inaugural “Future of Insurance” student hackathon at the Siebel Center for Design on the campus of the University of Illinois this spring. Contestants were tasked with building data visualization tools for underwriters to assess impacts of catastrophic events using computer programming and risk modeling technologies. President and chief underwriting officer Jon Collelo says the goal was "to draw more young professionals into the field while illustrating the dynamic and exciting opportunities within today’s rapidly evolving insurance industry."

LIMRA and UConn

LIMRA is partnering with the University of Connecticut’s School of Business to supporting financial services companies’ analytics projects, through its Center for the Advancement of Business Analytics, or CABA. The center will work with the life-insurance trade organization on analytics-driven research to enhance its members’ technology capabilities.

Sentry and University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

Sentry has donated $4 million to endows two faculty positions at its local branch of the University of Wisconsin. The Sentry Insurance Endowed Chair in Computational Analytics will be part of the Computing and New Media Technologies Department. The Sentry Insurance Endowed Chair in Business Analytics will be part of the School of Business and Economics. Endowment proceeds support activities such as collaborative research, outreach and related student-faculty activities of the chair.

Content Continues Below

COUNTRY and University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Multiline insurer COUNTRY Financial has opened a digital innovation lab at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The "DigitaLab" is located in the university's Research Park, which connects private industry with faculty researchers and students. COUNTRY is among more than 100 other companies working with U of I students. COUNTRY's IT department says the lab will he used to develop digital products, especially mobile apps.

University of Vermont and MassMutual

MassMutual is providing the University of Vermont $500,000 to fund a pilot program within the educational institution's data science unit. The grant for UVM's Complex Systems Center, which supports data science and complex systems education through interdisciplinary learning, is the largest since its inception in 2009. The proceeds fund a visual data artist-in-residence that will partner with Complex Systems Center students and faculty, as well as MassMutual's data science team to create visualizations that allow people to easily understand and interact with complex data.

It follows a $2 million program with Mount Holyoke College and Smith College, as well as a $15 million donation to UMass Amherst, as MassMutual continues a corporate effort to develop data science talent in the northern New England region.