Tech Talk for the Non-Technical: Video Transcript

David Groff (BS Mathematics and Statistics, Miami, 1991) [heads the pricing analytics department at Cincinnati Insurance]: The liberal arts education that I got at Miami, my main major was mathematics and statistics, so it's very technical. The liberal arts education and exposure to the communications, more of the soft skills, prepared me to go in with my numerical and math skillset, but we find that the biggest problem that a lot of actuarial people have is the inability to talk to the non-technical person. The liberal arts education and exposure, I think, gave me that good foundation to be able to talk to the business units, to talk to people that didn't understand the math and statistics, but I could present it in a way that they would accept it and start using it in their business and in their day-to-day operation.

I would say the actuarial function — actuarial career — it prepares you for a number of things, a variety of things. You have the statistical and mathematical degrees and functions that you need to have to pass the exams. But it also teaches you business, it also teaches you economics, accounting, law; so you get a wide variety of exposure to a lot of different areas. So the actuarial function and all this experience that you get, exposed to all these different areas, you can really take that in a number of different ways. What we've been using our skillset for lately is to drive more and more business decisions based on the data, the numbers, and the actuarial skillset.

I find that we do a lot of recruiting internally in our department, and we see a lot of candidates that have very deep understanding of some subjects, but it's not very broad, and there are some candidates that have very broad understanding but it's very shallow for all of those. Our ideal candidate is probably somewhere in between. We need that person with a very technical skillset to be able to understand, maybe they don't need to actually develop high level technical, but they also need to be able to talk to other departments. That liberal arts really provides that understanding and wideness of experiences and information, and definitely in our current company we look for that when we are hiring.

[March 2014]