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  • May 2023
  • 5 minutes

Affordable Access to Quantum Computing Opens the Door to Experimentation, Potential Security Threats ​

  • Ed Dueser
  • Jeff Heaton
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In Brief

The future of quantum computing has already begun, and the implications for the insurance industry are profound. Insurers would be well served to take steps now to determine how quantum computing might impact their businesses moving forward.

Thanks to more affordable accessibility through major cloud carriers, insurers can begin exploring how quantum computing can improve critical business processes for seemingly endless applications. Amazingly fast, quantum provides enormous capacity to enhance analytics for much more massive datasets at high volume. Quantum also speeds calculations and the ability to run a far greater range of scenarios in much more detail.

Until access via cloud solutions providers became a reality, deploying quantum computing power was an expensive and cumbersome proposition, requiring the purchase of specialized hardware exceeding $15 million. Without affordable access, insurers have been maximizing conventional computers by networking hundreds of graphics processing units (GPUs) capable of providing the computational power sought.

The affordable quantum computing power now available via the cloud has the potential to revolutionize the insurance industry, providing much greater speed, precision, and bandwidth. Cloud accessibility makes it possible for insurers to begin building infrastructure for quantum exploration and seek new ways to strengthen their actuarial modeling, product development, underwriting, claims administration, and more.

At the same time, however, insurers must remain cognizant that quantum computing could open the door to several possible risks important to guard against.


Simply defined, quantum computing is the expanded electronic capacity to perform multiple simultaneous analyses of massive datasets with great rapidity. Such computing power can quickly reveal new factors and variable combinations to enhance underwriting, reserving, and product pricing. Quantum can also facilitate deeper analysis to improve accuracy of market forecasts and simulations of more extensive population settings to enable market expansion.

On the front end, its capacity to analyze large datasets quickly and precisely can strengthen product customization and customer engagement by providing more accurate and personalized insights into customer behavior and preferences. These insights can help insurers tailor products and services to better meet consumer needs and design marketing campaigns that effectively connect those products to target markets.

Quantum computing can also strengthen machine learning applications by enabling more robust guidance for deep neural networks. By compressing what would have previously taken thousands of years of machine learning training into just a few hours, its computing capability can direct deep neural networks to make much more accurate predictions.

One of the most significant opportunities quantum computing presents is in risk assessment and underwriting. With the ever-increasing availability of new and massive datasets, quantum could enable insurers to determine the predictive value of alternative data sources in various combinations and then improve how the data is used in real-world applications.

Finally, quantum computing could help identify and ease barriers to efficient policy administration and claims management. By uncovering claim characteristics associated with complex scenarios and even fraud patterns, it could enable faster payouts for policyholders alongside cost savings for insurers.

At RGA, we are eager to engage with clients to better understand and tackle the industry’s most pressing challenges together. Contact us to discuss and to learn more about RGA's capabilities, resources, and solutions.


Quantum computing should be approached with risk management in mind. Ill-conceived, unsuccessful experiments can lead to strategic, investment, and operational risk.

Insurers should be mindful that quantum computing can pose threats to current cybersecurity internet encryption frameworks. A quantum computer of sufficient capacity and power (known as a cryptanalytically relevant quantum computer, or CRQC) is predicted to be capable of cracking most internet security codes worldwide by speedily running through every possible encryption key combination – an exercise that would take a classic computer billions of years of computing time. The risk that internet encryption will be compromised threatens the security of business transactions, customer data, communications, and more.

An international effort is underway to facilitate quantum-resistant cryptography and protect the internet from this “years to quantum” (Y2Q) risk. Unlike 2000’s Y2K risk, when computer experts feared computers would malfunction when the last two digits on computer clocks turned from 1999 to 2000, Y2Q does not have a set date. Given the speed at which computing technology continues to advance and evolve, efforts to mitigate possible damage become increasingly imperative.


Insurers seeking to sharpen their competitive edge with quantum computing must be willing to spend substantial amounts of time and effort experimenting with its capabilities to ensure the results provide the most value. Quantum computing approaches calculations differently than traditional methods, so insurers will need to take the time necessary to establish best practices.

While large-scale quantum computing’s true problem-solving potential is at the early exploratory phase and not yet known, experts agree there will be broad implications. Now that large-scale experimentation is possible, the future of quantum computing has already begun. Many companies across several sectors, including the insurance industry and RGA, have exploratory teams in place to determine the widespread implications of quantum computing moving forward. All insurers should consider doing the same.

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Meet the Authors & Experts

Ed Dueser
Ed Dueser

Senior Software Architect, Corporate Technology Solutions

Jeff Heaton
Vice President, Data Science, Data Strategy and Infrastructure