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Technological changes reshaping reinsurance industry

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HAMILTON, Bermuda — Technology has always been a tool of the reinsurance industry but is now expanding its role in the sector, even changing the way the industry does business, according to a panel discussion at the 2015 Standard & Poors/PriceWaterhouseCoopers Bermuda Reinsurance Conference, “Reinsurance Reshaped,” in Hamilton on Tuesday.

“For some time, the use of technology has actually been fundamental to successful reinsurance underwriting in Bermuda, but technology can also be a disruptive force,” said Arthur Wightman, territory leader and insurance leader for PricewaterhouseCoopers Ltd. in Hamilton.

The reinsurance sector is on the cusp of a new digital age.

“This is just the beginning of where the world is going,” said Kevin O’Donnell, president and CEO of RenaissanceRe Holdings Ltd., Pembroke, Bermuda.

“Technology is going to emerge not only just in the way we model risk, but the way in which we apply risk,” said Mr. O’Donnell.

The industry is only beginning to employ technological advances as it tackles new and larger challenges.

“I think there’s a lot more work to go on, given our job is to analyze and price risks as we look at bigger and bigger pools of data,” said Michael Butt, chairman, Axis Capital Holdings Ltd., in Hamilton.

At the same time, novel risks are emerging from new businesses forged by technology.

“The risks being created by this digital world, whether Uber or Airbnb, we’re all trying to wrestle with that,” said Brian Duperreault, CEO of Hamilton Insurance Group Ltd. in Hamilton.

“It’s very exciting, because it’s going to change the landscape we insure,” said Mr. Duperreault.