Welcome to our third EMEA Quarterly of 2019. I hope you are refreshed after your summer holidays and ready to deliver on your 2019 plans, even as you have probably already started with the 2020 planning process. Part of planning, of course, is seeing the possibilities, and the content we’ve selected for you in our newsletter may help with that process!

Helping others see the possibilities that are important to our future success often begins with a lecture during an event. While no one would present without preparing in advance, the way in which we do it can make a big difference in the result.  In my personal experience and observations, I have found that the way I challenge myself while preparing is essential, and I share what has worked and what hasn’t in Failing to Prepare Is Preparing to Fail.

Sometimes we are almost overwhelmed with the possibilities in front of us, especially in this age of big data. How can we harness that torrent of information to identify and prioritize between the things we can do, and the things we should do? Richard Xu, Head of Data Science in RGA’s Global Research and Data Analytics group has a summarized examples of data science in action that may be helpful in his article, Getting Up to Speed: Best Practices in Data Science.

One reason for all the data, of course, is to better understand our customers and the interesting ways they make decisions. In Behavioural Economics, Disclosure Gaps, and Customer Journeys in Life and Health Insurance, Matt Battersby, RGA’s Chief Behavioral Scientist, has examples of how understanding and managing this behavior in advance can ensure more accurate information in the application process.

The latest possibility being pursued by social media giant Facebook is leveraging its position to create its own currency, independent of reserve banks. In Facebook’s Libra: The World’s First Corporate Digital Currency, Imran Lorgat, International Pricing Actuary for RGA South Africa, provides an interesting analysis of Facebook’s strategy and the groundwork behind it.

Speaking of social media, our South African office is actively engaged in these channels and have been studying the power and peril of several social trends that affect the insurance industry. In Social Mania: The Impact of Likes, Posts, and Swipes on Insurance, three of our team members share their thoughts on employee endorsements, social selling and social product development. Neil Parkin, Chief Pricing Actuary; Cliff Jooste, Chief Underwriter; and Belinda Thorpe, Head of Claims for Africa and Middle East provide you with a comprehensive perspective on the risks and possibilities of this new reality.

The possibility of insurance fraud is an ongoing reality. The growing Middle East insurance market, like any other region, must deal with this as well. Rahul Gupta, Claim Manager for RGA Middle East, offers strategies for how to deal with this by using cross-team collaboration in his article, Managing Fraud: A Claims Perspective.

Years ago our Chief of Staff, Arjan van der Velden, was asked to consider whether his work had meaning. He found that it did, but saw there was a possibility he could leverage his business skills to help in more directly humanitarian areas. In the process, he found that the things he learned doing that may actually have helped his professional skills as well. You can share his experience by reading The Meaning Is the Message.

Thank you for your continued support, and for spending some time with this publication. My philosophy is that business is a series of ongoing discussions; if there are questions or comments that you have for me, I would love to hear from you. Best wishes for a successful conclusion to your year!

Olav Cuiper

Executive Vice President
Head of RGA EMEA

September 2019