On to the NBA Finals!

Heat vs. Spurs tonight in game 6.  With their backs against the wall, the Heat are a 6 point favorite tonight but the big winner still appears to be Chubb and the underwriters at their Federal Insurance Company subsidiary.  We’ll have to look more into this next week but for now, Go Heat!

San Antonio Spurs

Miami Heat

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NBA Eastern Conference Finals Game 7

Seeing that we’re all big Miami Heat fans here at the Risk Metrics office and in the spirit of tonight’s NBA Eastern Conference game 7 in Miami, I thought we would take a look at the lineup. Now, ESPN and TNT can handle covering the starting 5 for each team but lets dive a bit deeper into some insurance data. Below are the basics for both teams coming out of Risk Metrics’ newest ProspectBase product that should be out in full production soon.

Miami Heat


Indiana Pacers

We’re all looking forward to tonight’s game and hopefully a big game 7 win by the Heat. Additionally, we’re looking forward to sharing more information like this and the full release of ProspectBase over the next few months!

P.S. it looks like the real winner coming out of this match up is actually Chubb and their Federal Insurance Company program that appears to already count two of the best performing teams in the NBA as clients.

Stay tuned for the Finals!

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Amazon AWS vs SSDNotes – SSD Nodes Rocks

So lately at Risk Metrics we have be developing for our cloud based offerings and API’s.

Amazon vs. SSD Nodes

SSD Nodes vs. Amazon AWS

Having read pretty much everywhere about Amazon’s amazing AWS we thought we would spin it up and give it a go.

Off we went, first simpleDB, then RDS, then a few RDS upgrades.

Its a little interesting that Amazon currently has 4 offerings;

  • Small
  • Large
  • X-Large
  • XX-Large

Wouldn’t you think that they would have a Medium?

Anyway, after spin up, throughput on some, if not all of our queries was taking too long and we started scratching our heads.  Changed some data structure…upgraded…reupgraded etc.

When queries continued to take upwards of 3 minutes we knew something else needed to be done.  Essentially we could go with multi nodes or begin to look elsewhere for database types.  Not wanting to change too much and before multi-multiplying our AWS pricing we looked elsewhere and after getting quotes from a number of players in the space that promised exponential reduction in processing time, we found SSDNodes.  (Front runner otherwise was Vertica but a was bit too much $$)

SSD Nodes allowed us to essentially run queries in 1/100th of the time of that which they were running on AWS.

In all fairness, Amazon isn’t yet pushing solid state drives but they did inform us that its on their road map.  AWS, when you get there, feel free to give us a call.

So, thanks SSD nodes, here is a good customer review for you!

P.S. don’t get bought by Amazon.

A few screenshots of query bench-marking below

SSD Lepton

SSD Preon
SSD Preon

Amazon AWS
Amazon AWS with thoughput at 195.00 seconds….lame

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Big Data & Data 2.0 Conference

Listening to the Data 2.0 conference while pondering what percent of companies today can actually capitalize on all that is big data.  My feeling is that everyone wants big data but not many can handle it.  Image

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UBS: P/C Insurance Agent Survey: March 2011

Highlights from the Insurance P&C report out today by ex colleague and commercial lines analyst at UBS, Brian Meredith.

Commercial Lines Improvement Continues 

„Small/middle market commercial-lines pricing continues to firm Agents’ expectation of commercial lines insurance pricing has improved to an average expected increase of 6.3% in the next six months, up from 5.2% in our December survey, with both property and casualty up in the mid single digits. The biggest negative from the survey was the indication that insurers are getting more competitive on new business.

„Tighter underwriting, less generous terms and conditions

One half of agents reported tightening underwriting standards and less generous terms and conditions on commercial renewals (up from 38% in our previous survey). Tighter underwriting is also leading to more business going to the E&S market, which benefits ACE, WRB, ACGL, ALTE and AHL in our universe.

Personal auto pricing stable; favorable claims frequency in 1Q12

Our current survey indicates that personal auto insurance price increases will remain in the low single digits for the next six months. Also, the survey showed an improved claims frequency environment for personal auto insurance, which should help 1Q12 profitability. We believe ALL’s results could exceed 1Q12 consensus EPS expectations in part because of favorable claims frequency in personal auto.

TRV losing share, but outlook for margin improvement is encouraging 

Our survey indicated that TRV is leading the charge for higher small/middle market rates, which will continue to cost the company some market share in the near term. However, improved returns from the price increases and tighter underwriting ultimately will drive BVPS growth and stock price performance.

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State Farm to Stop Insuring Churches in Florida

Recently, Insurance Journal covered the news that State Farm would stop insuring Churches in the state of Florida.

Michael Adams at IJ commented that “the churches being non-renewed by State Farm Florida should be able to secure private coverage. There are several private insurers including Church Mutual Insurance Co. and Guide One Insurance Co. that insurer churches.”

This is true but lets take a closer look at what we can see when evaluating the market share for State Farm on the workers compensation level.  There are many other lines that Churches pick up but this could be a good start.

Below: Top 20 Carrier Groups writing workers compensation policies for religious organizations (SIC 8660 and 8661) in Florida.

Diving deeper into the State Farm book, we see that 16 of their 220 policies come up for renewal in November.

A few of these incude:

  • Discovery Christian Learning Center, Ocala FL (11/7 renewal)
  • Oakhill Church of Nazarene, Jacksonville FL (11/13 renewal)
  • Jubilee Christian Center of Pensacola, Pensacoloa FL  (11/20 renewal)
  • If your interested in more, visit us at www.riskmetricscorp.com or our agency company at www.datalister.com
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Risk Metrics Insurance360

Rolled out our new Insurance360 API last week in Dallas.

Some shots of the event and slides are below.

Data as a Service Process

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Data scientist: The hot new gig in tech

The unemployment rate in the U.S. continues to be abysmal (9.1% in July), but the tech world has spawned a new kind of highly skilled, nerdy-cool job that companies are scrambling to fill: data scientist.

A data scientist helps companies make sense of the massive streams of digital information they collect every day, everything from internally generated sales reports to customer tweets. The gig which requires the specialist to capture, sort, and figure out what data are relevant is one part statistician, one part forensic scientist, and one part hacker. “A data scientist doesn’t only look at one data set and then stop digging,” says Richard Snee, a vice president of marketing at EMC (EMC), the data-storage company. “They need to find nuggets of truth in data and then explain it to the business leaders.”

Data scientists have been a fixture at online companies like Google (GOOG) and Amazon (AMZN) for years. But these days organizations as diverse as Wal-Mart (WMT) and Foursquare are hiring computer science experts who can analyze all their data and provide intelligence that leads to better business decisions or new products. At Bitly, the URL-shortening service, for example, chief scientist Hilary Mason is helping the company package some of its massive volume of data into a measurement tool that Bitly customers can use to track how their content is faring online.

6 ideas that could change tech for good

Data science has become such a hot field that EMC convened the first-ever data scientist summit in Las Vegas in May (300 people attended). The profession has its own blogs, includingDataists.com, founded by Bitly’s Mason. And Stanford University’s course on data mining is packed: More than 120 students registered last year; when it was first offered five years ago, just 20 signed up.

“That shows you the growth and interest in large-scale data mining,” says course instructor Anand Rajaraman, who also runs @WalmartLabs, a division of Wal-Mart that is looking at ways to use e-commerce data to add mobile and social shopping features at its retail locations. “Companies want these people, and they become more attractive if they learn the skills.”

No one currently tracks exactly how many data scientists there are, or how many will be needed, but by all accounts demand will be high. A recent report from the McKinsey Global Institute says that by 2018 the U.S. could face a shortage of up to 190,000 workers with analytical skills. “Data engineers are already harder to find than search engineers, and that’s a sign of the times,” says Deep Nishar, head of product at LinkedIn (LNKD). There’s certainly plenty for data scientists to work with: IDC estimates consumers and companies will create 1.8 zettabytes (equal to a trillion gigabytes) of digital information by the end of the year. And that’s a data point too big to ignore.

This article is from the September 5, 2011 issue of Fortune.


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LinkedIn takes a deep dive into the profiles for startup founders

Here’s how LinkedIn evaluated and separated the data. Linkedin considered professionals as Startup Founders if they identified themselves as founders (or co- founders) of U.S. companies created after 2000, with a LinkedIn company profile, and that currently have between 2 – 200 employees. LinkedIn excluded small law, consulting and real
estate firms, as well as LLCs (the pool ended up with over 13,000 entrepreneurs). LinkedIn then compared founders them with the average LinkedIn member and highlighted characteristics that disproportionately appear among startup founders.



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Illinois Work Comp Legislation – Pushing Data Analytics!

Just last month, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn singed into law sweeping changes to the Illinois workers compensation system.  The modified bill, totaling 179 pages is a bit much to wade through on a Thursday night so we decided to give you it in one giant Wordle to sum all up.

Understand it all now?  Great!

But seriously, if you are looking for something a bit more in depth on the subject, HFN provided us with a decent overview of the bill here General Overview of Changes to IL Workers’ Compensation in HB 1698/Public Act 097-0018

On my radar, the largest modification, and probably the one least paid attention to is on compliance and enforcement.  Particularly section (e-5) that states

"The fraud and insurance non-compliance unit shall
procure and implement a system utilizing advanced analytics
inclusive of predictive modeling, data mining, social network
analysis, and scoring algorithms for the detection and
prevention of fraud, waste, and abuse on or before January 1,

Advanced analytics, predictive modeling, data mining, social network analysis and scoring algorithms in the GOVERNMENT??  I’m skeptical but maybe a bit optimistic.

And now another Wordle on HB 1698

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