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14.09.2021

APR and hx – the collaboration

If you’re the type of person who reads GI-themed APR articles, you’ve clearly got your finger firmly on the pulse. You know where to find all the best content, and there’s no need for me to tell you about Renew – a pricing platform with a growing GI client base – and hx – the developers behind Renew.

However, wishing to steer clear of dangerous assumptions regarding how in-the-know our readership is, I will first introduce you to Renew. I’ll then tell you a bit about how APR and hx work together, and I will end by recounting my own experience working on a client’s Renew implementation.

If you have stumbled upon this article via our News & Views page, it’s worth me saying that parts of this piece are very much Views rather than News. If you have come via some other source, why not check out our News & Views page?

What is Renew?

Renew is a pricing platform. It’s simply an alternative to whatever software has been used to build your existing models – assuming you aren’t already using Renew (nearly my second dangerous assumption in four paragraphs, don’t let him near the technical rates!).  This isn’t a Renew marketing article so I won’t dwell too much here on all the specific things Renew has to offer – that’s all on the hx website – but the basic premise is it is a cloud-based tool allowing very quick development of pricing models and is especially good at incorporating sparse or unstructured datasets that are typically found in specialty insurance.

It’s worth clarifying at this stage our relationship with hx.  We have worked together for over three years, and see ourselves as strategic partners, driven entirely by both parties having seen the benefits of the partner’s proposition.  However there is no joint ownership or other financial interest, and of course we are not recommending the use of Renew for any party without a full review of the environment and competing software.

Why are APR writing about Renew?

Regular readers of this mailer will know that we love writing about the various bits of technology actuaries use – what it is, how it’s changing, the exact moment we fell in love with Excel’s lambda function – that sort of thing. In that sense, this article is more of the same, just with a GI twist.

Over the last couple of years, APR have worked on various Renew projects as part of our expansion into General Insurance. The idea is that while hx focus their considerable expertise on making Renew the best pricing tool it can possibly be, APR help our clients implement the system, often by simply providing resource to slot into a client’s actuarial team. This is very similar to how APR works with lots of our clients, but the benefit of the strong relationship with hx is that we’re able to access support from the developers of the tool – to consider an appropriate parallel, Bill Gates never gets back to me when I question him on the new Microsoft suite.

We think this hx-APR-client arrangement works well. At APR, we’ve always been proud of the technological capability of our staff – they are perfect for model implementation projects such as this – and importantly, it’s the kind of work a lot of our staff really enjoy.

My experience

In Feb 2020, I started my first project in GI – a big occasion in an otherwise quiet year, globally speaking.

The project saw me work 3 days a week, helping to implement a set of Renew pricing models for a London market client. As mentioned, I had no GI experience, but had worked on a few model development projects before, so was comfortable with that side of things.

Aside from Renew, my model development experience has primarily been with R and Excel/VBA and so, to close off, I thought I’d quickly jot down some of my thoughts on Renew in relation to the other two, as well as some more general thoughts that may be of interest depending on your role:

Want to find out more?

I hope this article has been informative – I’ve tried not to get bogged down in too many specifics, but if you did want to find out more about anything in this article, please feel free to contact me at deven.rickaby@aprllp.com. Alternatively, more information on hx & Renew can be found on their website, or on their blog.  We and hx are keen to develop our relationship further including using APR’s knowledge of the life insurance market to explore how Renew may deliver value to life insurers.

Finally, APR are always keen to form partnerships with other providers delivering valuable products to our core insurance market, especially those with a tech or software focus, as these align well with the skills of our staff.  If any readers are interested in exploring this further, please drop a line with a brief overview of your product to mohassin.shah@aprllp.com.

Deven Rickaby

September 2021