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6-min Clip: The Moral Puzzle of Sales feat. Jonathan Beach

My second interview, with Jonathan Beach, is easily (easily) the most underappreciated show I've done. JB is one of the most influential people in my professional life. We don't all get to record the semi-mythical stories that form our intellectual style and professional value system. I do! This is one of the stories I tell to just about everyone given enough time because, like all great fables, I think it teaches powerful lessons in how to behave and how the world works. In this story an...


Blockchain! With Steve Mildenhall

Today we have the return of Steve Mildenhall where Steve and I talk blockchain! Steve suggested the idea to me a few months ago and that sent me down a bit of a rabbit hole exploring this technology. In this episode Steve and I talk about what the blockchain is from both a technical and strategic perspective. It covers insurance but we go wider! This is possibly a transformational innovation, but how?


Terri Vaughan on The Financial Crisis and Why State Regulation Works

This episode features Terri Vaughan, professor of actuarial science at Drake University and CEO of the NAIC during the Great Recession. We can call this the Not Unreasonable 10-year retrospective on the financial crisis. I first came across Terri's work as an actuarial student and been fascinated ever since by her case for state regulation and citation of the insurers' performance during the financial crisis as evidence in its favor. Are you an actuary? Someone you know? Check out the Not...


Tyler Cowen on Stubborn Attachments, Tyrone and Multiple Perspectives

This is a special interview for me because Tyler Cowen has been an enormous intellectual and moral influence on me over the last ten years or so. I'm not alone. Tyler blogs with Alex Tabarrok at, which is usually ranked as the top economics blog and Tyler as one of the most influential economists of the day. Tyler's books (see my blog post) are also enormously influential and you name your favorite economic or financial public intellectual and they probably read...


How Specialty Insurers are Like Arbitrageurs - Deep Dive with Rich Derr

This episode is about diving deep into a comparison between stock market arbitrageurs and specialty insurance underwriters. The idea for the show came from the guest, Rich Derr, an actuary at Nationwide Insurance Company's specialty division and I love nothing more than falling down a well with someone comparing financial and insurance markets. The original paper that inspired Rich is called The Limits of Arbitrage and doesn't really contemplate insurance. That's our job! I learned a lot...


[3-min clip] How Surviving A Terrorist Attack Changes Your Life

In this clip from my conversation with Barbara Chabbaga, Barbara talks about being in trapped in a storage closet for hours while terrorists massacred mall shoppers outside the door. She was sure she'd die but didn't and describes what it was like coming home to her infant daughter and what decisions her newfound resolve drove her to.


Joshua Gans on Prediction Machines

How are we supposed to think about Machine Learning? How are businesses going to change? This week I interview Joshua Gans, Professor of Strategic Management at the Rotman School of Business at the University of Toronto and the Chief Economist at the University's Creative Destruction Lab. Joshua is the co-author, along with Ajay Agarwal and Avi Goldfarb, of Prediction Machines: The Simple Economics of Artificial Intelligence. Are you an actuary? Someone you know? Check out the Not...


The Not Unreasonable Book Club With Steve Mildenhall- Episode 1

Today I'm kicking off a new series tentatively called the Not Unreasonable Book club to be co-hosted with Steve Mildenhall (who is running for the board of the Casualty Actuarial Society, so vote for him!). Steve is an assistant professor at St John's University's school of risk management and former head of Analytics at Aon Re. Steve's an all-around smart dude and I'm looking forward to learning from him and hopefully disagreeing once in a while! Books and papers discussed in today's...


How's Lloyd's Doing? With Rob Johnson

Rob Johnson returns to the Not Unreasonable Podcast for a deep dive into the financial results of the Lloyd's market. Rob almost always has a contrarian view of insurance company results. Usually when an insurer is lamenting their results they're much better than they seem. And when they're pumping up their performance, that's a warning sign! Rob has taught me that insurance companies are remarkably resilient institutions and amid all the hand-wringing of the Lloyd's market's results he...


Joe Petrelli is Disrupting Rating Agencies

My guest this week is Joe Petrelli, the founder and CEO of Demotech, a rating agency based in Columbus, Ohio. This interview was a particular delight for me, folks, because I've finally found a real example of classic Clay Christensen Disruption in Insurance. Demotech has been quietly disrupting what he calls "the legacy rating agencies" for decades. THIS is what real disruption looks like: That's disruption kids. And he did it at least two more times with Florida Homeowners and Title...


Managing Hedge Funds, Insurers and Reinsurers with Todd Hart

Todd has had the following jobs: political campaigner, investment banker, hedge fund trader, hedge fund portfolio manager, private equity investor, reinsurance company CEO, insurance company CEO and stay at home dad. I've known Todd for many years and have always admired his level-headed attitude towards complicated problems and what otherwise might be very difficult situations. You can be smart and hard working, and Todd is both those things, but to me is he is more of a model for *how*...


[1 min clip] Ted Blanch on the Dawn of Cat Modeling

It was harder than it looks now in retrospect!


Why Building Systems Is Hard With Bill Jenkins

My guest this week is Bill Jenkins. Bill is a technology specialist in the insurance industry. I like to joke that the customer satisfaction rate for insurer systems is 0. But does that need to be the case? I've finally had the chance to ask these questions of an out and out expert. Bill has headed up internal technology projects at insurers, he's run the technology at brokers. He's been a consultant. A Board member. An industry standards advocate. If there is a puzzle in insurance...


Barbara Chabbaga on Insurance Product Development in Kenya

Barbara Chabbaga is an insurance product consultant in Kenya. She trained as an actuary in Canada before returning to Nairobi and working for a carrier there. After surviving a terrorist attack she quit her job and founded a consulting company, AB Consultants, to work on microsinurance product development. Barbara wrestles with the same problems we all face and so this interview was a fantastic mix of familiar and foreign (to US ears). We cover a lot of ground including life as an...


Insurance is Not Sold with John Shettle

Recently I've gotten to know today's guest, John Shettle, and all along I've been trying to figure out how to just hook up the cables and suck as much information out of him as I could. But how do you ask someone: hey can I just pepper you with the most challenging questions I can think of in insurance for an hour or so.. you know, for fun? I'll tell you how.. you start a podcast and pretend "it's all for the audience". John Shettle is awesome. He's currently an operating partner at...


A Spirit Guide For Insurance, Rick Lindsey

I sometimes think of insurance as a morality game. The problem of assessing and pricing risks is so hard that we fall back on human concepts of fairness and relationships to guide our actions. Think about the oldest of old school underwriters. They build relationships. They fight claims swindlers and predators to the death. They're unscrupulously honest and fair. Perhaps the most fundamental human quality is trust and the thing that great underwriters are great at is figuring out who is...


Paul Ingrey on Marc Grandisson (1 min clip)

Marc Grandisson recently became CEO of Arch Capital Group. Ever wonder what he was like as a young man? Well find out in this re-air of a clip from my episode with Paul Ingrey on how Marc joined Arch.


Gabe Glynn on Iowa, Manufacturing and Sending People Home From Work

Today's guest is Gabe Glynn, co-founder and CEO of MakuSafe and host of the Advanced Manufacturing Podcast. Gabe's company is a technology startup designing wearable sensors to dramatically improve workplace safety in manufacturing. We cover a lot of ground in our conversation, including the culture of manufacturing, why unemployment is so low in Iowa and, of course, how to spot shoplifter. Subscribe to the Not Unreasonable Podcast in iTunes, stitcher, or by rss feed. Sign up for the...


Why Cut Education with Bryan Caplan

This show's guest is Bryan Caplan, Professor of Economics at George Mason Unviersity and his latest book is *The Case Against Education: Why the Education System is a Waste of Time and Money*. In this book Bryan makes the point that if we evaluated school based on what we are saying it does, teach us useful skills, it fails. So, argues the book, education spending should be cut dramatically. To paraphrase something Tyler Cowen once said: Bryan does a much better job defending his 'crazy'...


At The Cutting Edge of Insurance Modeling With Jim Weiss

Today's guest is Jim Weiss, the director of analytic solutions for ISO. ISO houses perhaps the richest insurance data repository on the planet and among Jim's responsibilities is building models that don't use it! I joke.. Actually, Jim is exploring new frontiers of modeling for insurance purposes. This episode works very well in conjunction with the Cathy O'Neil episode which of course recommend you listen to right away! Subscribe in iTunes, stitcher, or by rss feed. Sign up for the...