A woman is sitting and talking to a colleague out of shot in a corporate setting.
Jennifer Cruise, head of data science at ACIA. Image: Luke Maxwell/Siliconrepublic.com

Why insurance could be the ‘most exciting industry’ for data scientists

17 Oct 2019

Jennifer Cruise of Aon discusses the non-typical skills that will power the future insurance industry.

The Aon Centre for Innovation and Analytics (ACIA) is based across three specialist centres in Dublin, Singapore and Krakow. Here in Ireland, its data science team works to harness the latest developments in this field and apply them to challenges in the insurance industry.  

Heading up that team is Jennifer Cruise, who offered Siliconrepublic.com some insights into how she strives to achieve that, and what she predicts for the future. 

The ‘original data industry’ 

With data science continuing to grow in popularity as a career path, insurance may not be the first, or the most exciting, application to come to mind. But Cruise explained why people should reconsider that perception.

“It’s the most exciting industry for data scientists to be in. In my opinion, the insurance industry is actually the original data industry. 

But what exactly is it that enthrals her? The most rewarding thing for me is working with people who genuinely get a kick out of solving problems and watching all the different skillsets at play. 

Most important to her are people using creativity in how they approach a problem, but then fusing that creative thinking with logic and data science and machine learning”. 

The future of insurance

The future of work is set to revolutionise how we collaborate and what skills we’ll need to keep abreast of emerging trends, and the insurance industry won’t be left behind.

The future of work, particularly in relation to the insurance industry, is very exciting, and I think we’re going to be impacted more than other industries in terms of what our workforce is going to look like,” Cruise said.

She believes that a suite of “very non-typical skillsets” will become central to the insurance sector. 

We’re already seeing that. Our centre here is maybe ahead of the curve, given that it’s 10 years old. The types of skills that you see in this centre are what you’re going to see more widespread across the industry. 

Lisa Ardill
By Lisa Ardill

Lisa Ardill joined Silicon Republic as senior careers reporter in July 2019. She has a BA in neuroscience and a master’s degree in science communication. She is also a semi-published poet and a big fan of doggos. Lisa briefly served as Careers Editor at Silicon Republic before leaving the company in June 2021.

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