What's making waves in life and health insurance?

EVP highlights opportunities to improve products and increase accessibility

What's making waves in life and health insurance?

Life & Health

By Gia Snape

The life and health (re)insurance industry has been rapidly transformed by technological advancements in the last decade, with one expert flagging innovations like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning as game changers.

“The trend that I think is having the biggest impact on life and health insurance is the digital transformation and integration of technology across the value chain,” said Senan O’Loughlin (pictured), executive vice president of US mortality markets at Reinsurance Group of America, Incorporated (RGA).

“With the advancement of digital technologies (like optical character recognition/natural language processing, artificial intelligence, machine learning, automation [and others]), there are so many opportunities to improve insurance products, how they are underwritten and ultimately improve the purchase experience which will increase their reach, desirability, and accessibility,” he said.

O’Loughlin is one of the speakers at this week’s much anticipated Women in Insurance New York summit.

The in-person conference, set for September 21, 2023, aims to provide valuable networking and resource-sharing opportunities for women in insurance.

‘AI creates a lot of opportunities’ for insurance

O’Loughlin leads RGA’s traditional mortality functions for the US, including business development, pricing, underwriting, medical, claims, and operations. He also oversees the US business initiatives team that develops and implements RGA’s risk assessment products and solutions.

Speaking to Insurance Business ahead of the Women in Insurance New York conference, O’Loughlin named AI as the technology that’s making big waves in his sector.

“AI creates a lot of opportunities for the insurance industry. While it is not a sliver bullet, responsible use of AI can help insurers serve more people and improve customer experience,” O’Loughlin said.

By leveraging customer data and AI/ML technologies, insurance companies can create tailored solutions for individuals that cater to their specific coverage needs, as well as encourage them to adopt healthy lifestyle behaviors that minimize their risk.

“Many processes across the life and health insurance value chain are time and resource intensive and have a lot of friction. AI has the potential to help improve a range of processes from the insurance buying and selling process to underwriting, servicing, and claims,” said O’Loughlin.

“Ultimately, improving the customer experience and helping to make insurance products more personalized and accessible.”

Passion for the life and health reinsurance sector

Before joining RGA in 2021, O’Loughlin accrued 30 years of senior management experience with insurance and reinsurance companies on three continents. He held several roles with Swiss Re, including head of sales and client engagement for its life and health division, as well as regional head of strategy and operations for the Americas.

Prior to Swiss Re, he worked at AIG-AIA in Hong Kong as regional head of actuarial under Asia-Pacific life operations.

He began his career as a trainee actuary at Hibernian Group in Ireland (now Aviva), where he went on to work in a variety of management roles, including strategy, life, and retirement product development, marketing, valuation, and project management.

Throughout his tenure in insurance, O’Loughlin has remained passionate about working in the life and health space, particularly because of the people within it.

“I would say that the field of insurance has some of the nicest people that you can hope to work with, and I’ve had the opportunity to work with truly great, inspiring people across my career and in my current role,” he told Insurance Business.

“The thing that excites me and motivates me is understanding the profound impact that protection products have on the lives of customers, and also seeing my colleagues’ desire and commitment to improve insurance for our clients and to ultimately expand access to financial protection to more and more people.”

Register for Women in Insurance New York Summit to join the conversation on cyber and other market trends.

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