Meet Spencer Wideman, Senior Vice President, Pricing Actuary
What is your backstory? Tell us about your path to Sompo International.
I’m from a small town in Michigan and my actuarial career started in 2002 as an actuarial analyst at CNA Insurance in Chicago. I spent 7 years there, including roles in both pricing and reserving supporting various standard and specialty lines of business. I took actuarial exams along the way and ultimately became a Fellow of the Casualty Actuarial Society. In 2008, I relocated to Charlotte, NC to be the actuary for Global Indemnity’s program branch, United National Group, which partnered with various Managing General Underwriters (MGU) on many unique lines of business. In 2011, I transferred to the reinsurance division of Global Indemnity, located in Bermuda. I made the move to Endurance in 2012 and have supported Sompo International’s Bermuda insurance lines since then.
What is something about your role / BU that people may not know?
I participate on the Casualty Risk Sub-Committee, which is responsible for identifying the universe of accumulation risk sources that should be considered by the businesses. The purpose of the committee is to oversee the liability risk profile of Sompo International, including recommending risk strategies and ensuring that risk acceptance / mitigation activities are consistent with our strategy and appetite.
What do you think makes Sompo International unique?
Our strong growth vision to become a top 10 worldwide insurer is exciting and not necessarily the vision of some of our competitors. Specific to Bermuda insurance, there is a strong collaboration between our underwriting and actuarial teams, which I think is unique compared to other companies where the functions are typically more siloed.
Can you shed light on a current project / initiative you / your BU is working on?
Trends projects are very prominent within our team at this time. One such being the Healthcare Claims Trends Project – we used our historical database of 20 years of submission loss data on 19 of the top 25 Healthcare systems we have written for 10+ years. From that, we were able to identify increasing frequency of severity against large exposure growth and used the results to educate brokers and clients about the changing landscape of risk within Healthcare and our need for more rate as an insurer. We are doing something similar with Excess Casualty Claims – using our data to create exhibits to see how loss frequency and severity have changed over time by industry.
What is a trend you feel is impacting the industry at the moment?
Aggressive plaintiffs’ bars and an increase in litigation financing has increased loss severity in liability lines. In the casualty world, we are also tracking our exposure to potential new emerging risks such as Opioids, PFAS, Glyphosate, DEHP, Talc, etc. Also, the recent positive rate environment has some insurers cutting limits while maintaining top line premium production. In some cases, this is causing capacity issues for insureds, or requiring them to purchase less overall limit.
Any advice to your younger self?
Work hard at developing and maintaining strong relationships with friends and family.
What do you do when you’re not working?
Spend time with my wife and 2 sons (Axel – 10, and JD -7), snorkeling, exercising, watching sports, and chasing a golf ball across Bermuda’s many beautiful courses.