Tech & Product Blog Series:  Aaron Temples, Chief Analytics Officer


After three years as Accelerant’s U.S. Chief Actuary, Aaron Temples is now Chief Analytics Officer of the Accelerant Risk Exchange. Prior to Accelerant, Aaron spent 15 years leading actuarial functions at Axis Insurance and 8 years as an Actuarial Consultant. At Accelerant, Aaron’s team provides actuarial and analytics support to Members, Risk Exchange insurers, and internal stakeholders.

We spoke to Aaron on the importance of analytics in driving business forward and Accelerant’s unique approach to supporting MGAs.

Why did you join Accelerant?

I found Accelerant’s model very attractive. It seemed like a great opportunity to apply all of the lessons I had learned throughout my career and build something new and innovative from the ground up — the right way. Historically, MGA-carrier relationships have been mismanaged across the industry, but the Risk Exchange model has allowed us to build a support structure based on collaboration, transparency and data-driven insights. Since coming on board, I’ve never looked back — it was the best decision I ever made.

How do the Actuarial and Analytics functions fit in the larger Accelerant ecosystem?

We provide actuarial support throughout our relationships with our MGA Members. When we receive a submission for a new MGA opportunity, we analyze it to determine fit. Many times, we’ll develop suggestions for how to strengthen the profitability of the MGA. And during onboarding, we help develop data requirements so that we can provide meaningful analytics once the Member joins us.

Once an MGA is on board, we closely monitor their growth, portfolio composition, rate levels, and profitability. We provide ongoing feedback based on what we’re seeing and work collaboratively to develop strategies for profitable growth. Over the course of the MGA’s lifetime with us, we continue tracking the impact of the actions we take together. It’s all about supporting the Member.

For insurers, we help curate diversified portfolios that accommodate the risk appetite of our partners and steer those portfolios together over time. By working with MGAs to support their continued profitability, we protect insurers’ capital and provide them the returns they’re looking for.

We also develop prototypes for the analytics we are rolling out on our digital platform. Providing direct access to our MGA and Insurer partners will continue to enhance the collaboration and transparency that’s key to our partnerships. Robust analytics are key. The longer it takes to recognize and react to a problem or opportunity, the worse outcomes can be. We catch signals and trends early and react with targeted solutions quickly.

What advice would you give insurers and MGAs for them to get the most value out of their relationship with your team?

We are an extremely open and transparent organization. The more open our partners are with us, the more detailed discussions we can have and the better we can support their success. Likewise, the more data Members provide us, the more we can do with it to provide targeted solutions. Sometimes, this takes additional investment on their part, but the payoff in terms of improved insights and results, is more than worth it.

We understand that coming into this relationship, partners can be skeptical, due to the history of this industry and the scars we all carry with us. Once they realize that we’re completely different from an Insurer and our goal is to truly build a partnership and work together on behalf of our shared interests, they open up, and we accomplish more together.

How does Accelerant’s approach to analytics differ from the rest of the industry?

Insurers generally do not treat MGAs as their most important business. Most insurers have internal underwriting units that they have to compete against for the company’s resources (and sometimes directly in the market). This typically results in the MGAs losing out to the internal underwriters. Accelerant’s Risk Exchange is a completely different model. By making MGAs our sole focus, our attention is exclusively on supporting them.

Carriers tend not to be as collaborative and transparent as we are, especially with the MGAs they work with.  We don’t abandon MGAs to work on their business alone — we partner to help them. They also don’t have the technology and data infrastructure necessary to support MGAs in a data-driven way. The depth of the analytics we’re able to deploy goes beyond anything I’ve seen in my career.  It’s not easy, and that’s exactly why we believe it’s the only way to do it right.

What industry trends will shape actuarial services and the work you do with Accelerant?

There’s a growing emphasis on analytics and big data in insurance.

Looking ahead, we’re focused on enriching our Members’ data with 3rd party data that will provide additional market insights and increase our ability to differentiate risks. We collaborate closely with our Data Science team to work on initiatives in alignment with this shift — such as risk scoring — so we’re in a unique position to help give MGAs an edge in the market.

Also, the MGA space is growing as underwriters seek to own their results, and technology is enabling them to be more efficient and effective. Accelerant does a great job of working with startups and providing the support they need to be successful.

What goals do you and the analytics team have?

We’re very excited for the year ahead.  The analytics that we’ve been developing and using internally over the last few years are being rolled out on the platform to be accessed directly by our Members and insurer partners. This gives us a chance to get further feedback, enabling us to refine and maximize the value they provide. 

These initial dashboards are what we think of as “foundational.” They’re core to understanding performance, rate movements, portfolio drift, etc., but they also lay the foundation for what’s coming next and what we’re most excited about. Looking ahead, we’re developing the next level of analytics and predictive tools.  We’re working to incorporate third party data as well as predictive models being built by our brilliant Data Science team to provide a further edge to our Members around risk selection, pricing and portfolio steering.  We’re also developing “what-if” tools to allow Members to explore potential actions and how they’ll impact their business. Our overall goal is to provide tools and insights to our partners that give them an advantage in the market and make us all more successful.

What is the most surprising thing about the Actuaries at Accelerant that people don’t know?

People have a misconception that all actuaries are introverted and nerdy. The team we’ve built is actually very approachable and fun! We are definitely outside the mold.

What is your favorite piece of tech that you use in your personal life?

I have a tech-enabled aquarium with fish, corals, anemones, shrimps, crabs, snails — and salt. 500 gallons of saltwater.  But what’s unique is that all of its components are monitored and controlled through an app on my phone — the feeding, the pumps, chemical testing and dosing, etc. There is a full room of digital equipment behind the aquarium that controls everything.

Once, a lightning strike knocked out the whole system, and because it came already set up with the house, I realized I didn’t know how to take care of the aquarium without it. Needless to say, I learned quickly.