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Bringing Science to Data and Analytics

Robert Regis Hyle | May 12, 2014

There seems little doubt that Murli Buluswar has the most interesting title in the insurance field today. The Chief Science Officer for AIG spoke at the opening session of the ACORD LOMA Forum last week and offered some sage advice for insurers, whether they work in the IT department or on the business side.

Buluswar is a smart man, but one of the great things about being smart is knowing your limitations as well as your capabilities. That is particularly true when your job is to find what data can do for your company.

Buluswar believes in the quote from Albert Einstein: “I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”

Buluswar knows his way around a quote as well. He told his audience: “It isn’t about what you know; it’s about how you are willing to learn and adapt.”

When Buluswar joined AIG as Chief Science Officer in 2011 he was charged with putting together a team of data scientists and that team has grown to 125 individuals. The direction he and his staff are taking include a look beyond the problems of today.

“Don’t let the status quo prevent us from progressing,” he says.

The key point for any data scientists is to figure out the proper questions to ask of the data. Once that has been established the future becomes easier to understand and work with.

“Innovation and creating something new is a pretty process,” he says.

Buluswar’s best suggestion for IT professionals is to be courageous about your convictions, particularly when it comes to business decisions. Too many IT people defer to the business side, but Buluswar believes both sides need to work together.

“You are the business,” he said to the IT leaders at ACORD LOMA. “Bring knowledge [to the enterprise] on how technology can be transformative.”



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