Tag Archives: Eamon Comerford

Making better use of available internal data

Data science is a term given to the broad array of activities used to gain insight and extract value from existing data sources, including techniques such as data analytics, predictive analytics, machine learning, data mining and artificial intelligence. The use of data science techniques enables the extraction of value from increasingly diverse sources of data.

The cost of storing data has been falling exponentially for decades, and many companies have started storing lots of potentially valuable internal data. Computing speeds have been increasing exponentially for decades, and data analysis software has been steadily improving, making it feasible for companies to analyse and gain insight from these larger data sets.

In this briefing note, Milliman’s Donal McGinley, Bridget MacDonnell and Eamon Comerford provide a high-level overview of how insurers can make better use of internal data to gain insight and drive competitive advantage.

How can data science extract value from external data sources?

Traditionally, insurers have relied heavily on data they have collected as well as industry-specific data to inform their business decisions and strategy. However, data science techniques have become more sophisticated, allowing insurers to better understand the relationship between internal and external data sources. Predictive analytics, machine learning, data mining, and artificial intelligence are helping companies extract value from both sources.

In this article, Milliman’s Cormac Gleeson and Eamon Comerford discuss how the use of external data can complement a company’s wider data science initiatives. They also explore some of the challenges posed by working with external data.

Can the financial services industry help address Ireland’s homelessness crisis?

Ireland is in the midst of an affordable housing crisis. Figures published by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government show 6,497 homeless adults in late 2019 with a further 3,778 homeless children. In total, 1,721 families were in emergency or temporary accommodation including hotels, bed and breakfasts, hostels, and other temporary accommodation facilities. In addition, a large number of people are in private rental accommodation, relying on local authority assistance in paying rent.

A shortage of housing supply seems to be at the crux of the problem, particularly in the context of increased demand arising from improved economic conditions and an increased number of large multinational employers. Harnessing the power of pooled investment funds could help alleviate this crisis while also potentially providing returns to individual investors.

The proposed pooled investment fund would:

  • Build a portfolio of residential properties, through acquisition and/or development. Initially, it is likely that the focus of the fund would be on purchasing residential properties, but development of suitable residential properties would also be possible over time.
  • Rent those properties on long-term secure tenancies with transparent rules around rental increases either to tenants directly in receipt of the Housing Assistance Payment or directly to local authorities to supplement the local authority housing stock.

In this paper, Milliman consultants discuss the rationale for a pooled investment fund focused on social and affordable housing.

Investment strategy considerations under Solvency II

The introduction of Solvency II has led many insurers to reevaluate a range of strategic questions. One such consideration for insurers is whether their existing investment strategies remain optimal, or even appropriate, under Solvency II.

Investment strategies can change for a variety of reasons. The change from Solvency I to Solvency II is a sufficient change in the regulatory environment to have material knock-on implications for investment strategy. The key drivers of this are probably threefold:

1. Changes in the liability valuation basis under Solvency II have resulted in a change to the liability profile.
2. Relaxing of asset restrictions that were in place under Solvency I but are replaced by the Prudent Person Principle under Solvency II.
3. Capital requirements are now different under Solvency II.

In addition to these key drivers, there are many factors that can influence investment strategy. For example, market conditions have changed and risk appetite may have changed.

Milliman consultants Kevin Manning and Eamon Comerford carried out an analysis of the potential return for a range of assets compared with their Solvency II Standard Formula Solvency Capital Requirement. They explore how closely these capital requirements aligned with the risks underlying those assets. Kevin and Eamon also considered a number of alternative assets that may be interesting to insurers, as well as different risk mitigation options.

To read more about investment strategy under Solvency II, read the report “Investment strategy under Solvency II”.