Insurers face battle to entice in-demand data scientists

Published: November 29, 2017

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones

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Canadian property and casualty (P&C) insurers will need data scientists to advance their innovations in artificial intelligence (AI), but attracting them to the industry will be difficult, argues a recruiter who works for insurers.

“I think there’s a lot of talk in the marketplace that this talent is really needed, but finding that talent is extremely difficult,” says Antonella Leone, talent and acquisitions partner at DGA Careers. “The need is there and companies are moving faster than the actual academic institutes are producing these people.

“And if you are lucky enough to find one, there’s probably 10 companies courting that person, so the demand is huge and the talent is short. Anybody who does have them on staff will do everything they can to retain them.”

Intact Insurance is one P&C company that has already hired data scientists. However, they are in hot demand across sectors, especially in the tech industry. Insurance companies will be entering an ultra-competitive market where short supply of professionals has driven data scientist salries as high as $500,000 per year.

“Data science is a "concept to unify statistics, data analysis and their related methods" in order to "understand and analyze actual phenomena" with data.  It employs techniques and theories drawn from many fields within the broad areas of mathematics, statistics, information science, and computer science, in particular from the subdomains of machine learning, classification, cluster analysis, data mining, databases, and visualization.”