“Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes (Turn and Face the Strange)”
Rob Walling

“Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes (Turn and Face the Strange)”

The 2017 NRRA National Conference Focuses on the Reality of Disruptive Innovation

Rob Walling October 10, 2017 Posted in: Blog Posts, General, News

This year’s National Risk Retention Association (NRRA) National Conference in Chicago offered several sessions focused on disruptive innovation’s impact on the rapidly changing face of risk. Sessions on Big Data, Radical Change and the American Dream, Artificial Intelligence, Using the Captive Industry to Build Tomorrow’s Leaders, The Impact of Technology on the Transportation Industry, and leading-edge capital tools all underscored how broadly and quickly disruptive technology is changing numerous aspects of the captive industry, particularly risk retention groups (RRGs).

The keynote presentation, The Reality Trap, was a thought-provoking exploration of how expanding one’s perspective can equip people to better embrace change. The presenter challenged audience members’ preconceived notions about generational differences and suggested that we simply cannot learn new skills quickly enough to keep up with the ever-accelerating pace of change.

While these sessions were all intellectually stimulating, something else happened… something I’ve never experienced at any other captive trade show: The real, practical current impact of disruptive innovation on RRGs became apparent out in the hallways and reception areas. Everywhere I went, there were small group discussions about how disruptive innovation is impacting specific industries. Professionals involved in transportation programs were conversing about telematics and truck-, bus- and cab-driver monitoring systems. Long-term care and senior living programs were sharing how devices within the internet of things are providing real-time monitoring of patient movements and fall risks. Medical professional liability insurance programs were conferring about artificial intelligence’s impact on treatment best practices. They were asking how innovations ranging from nanotechnology to robotic blood draws, and from surgeries to 3-D printing of replacement knees, are impacting today’s patient treatment. Lawyers, auditors and actuaries were also discussing how artificial intelligence is dramatically impacting their work.

The NRRA 2017 National Conference’s message could not have been clearer: Disruptive innovation is materially impacting captives and RRGs… today. RRGs and their service providers need to embrace this change and find the opportunities it presents. David Bowie has never been truer. “Don’t want to be a richer man… just gonna’ have to be a different man. Time may change me, but I can’t trace time.


Rob Walling is a Principal and Consulting Actuary with Pinnacle Actuarial Resources, Inc. and has been in the insurance industry since 1989, consulting since 1997. He is focused on commercial lines ratemaking and product development, actuarial studies for captives and self-insureds, commercial lines loss reserving, legislative costing, litigation support, regulatory consulting and expert testimony. Mr. Walling is a Fellow of the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS), a Member of the American Academy of Actuaries and a Chartered Enterprise Risk Analyst. He currently serves as a member of the CAS Board of Directors. He has previously served as the Chairman of the CAS Ratemaking Seminar Committee, Risk and Capital Management Seminar Committee, and the New Fellows Committee. Mr. Walling is a frequent speaker at industry meetings on professionalism, predictive analytics, captives and alternative markets, medical professional liability and government insurance program topics.

Tags: RRGs, NRRA
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