Canadian Underwriter

P&C People: Who’s doing what

November 25, 2017   by David Gambrill, Editor-in-Chief

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Quebec regulator names inaugural fintech director

The Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF), the regulatory and oversight body for Québec’s financial sector, has appointed Moad Fahmi to the new position of director of fintech and innovation.

“This new function will foster the collaboration that is essential to developing Québec’s fintech ecosystem,” said Louis Morisset, AMF president and CEO. “It is good news for our Fintech Working Group, the industry and the academic research milieu.”

Fahmi will co-ordinate the work of the Fintech Working Group, which includes six major projects:

  • blockchain technology;
  • mobile payment solutions and virtual currencies;
  • fundraising platforms;
  • automated insurance and investment tools;
  • regtech;
  • big data and connected devices.

He will also be responsible for chairing the Technological Innovation Advisory Committee, ensuring effective guidance for emerging businesses, and supporting innovation at the AMF.


iA Financial Group welcomes new chief operating officer

iA Financial Group has appointed Denis Ricard as its chief operating officer.

In his new role, Ricard is responsible for all the company’s individual and group insurance operations in both Canada and the U.S. These activities include individual insurance and annuities, group benefits and retirement services, special market risks, car dealer services and car loans as well as auto and home insurance operations.

Ricard will also lead the company’s digital transformation strategy.

“This appointment recognizes the outstanding performance that Denis has delivered throughout his 32‑year career with iA Financial Group,” iA president and CEO Yvon Charest said.

A graduate of Université Laval in actuarial sciences, Ricard has been employed with iA Financial Group since 1985. Since that time, he has progressed from corporate actuarial analyst and middle manager through to roles of increasing responsibility including chief actuary (2004-2010) and senior vice president of business development (2010-2015).

He has been executive vice president of individual insurance and annuities since 2015 and a member of the company’s eight-person strategic planning committee since 2012. An accomplished saxophonist, he has also studied at the Royal Conservatory of Music.

Founded in 1892, iA Financial Group is an insurance and wealth management company in Canada, with operations in the United States.


Director of data science appointed to lead Surex Direct AI initiatives

Canadian online brokerage Surex Direct has appointed Dr. Eric Chalmers as its director of data science to oversee their artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning initiatives.

‘’Being able to incorporate machine learning to better understand our customers and their needs is an industry game-changer,’’ Surex Direct CEO Lance Miller said. ‘’Hiring someone of Dr. Eric Chalmers’ pedigree is our first move in drastically improving the current insurance marketplace.’’

‘’Dr. Eric’’, as he’s known around the office, graduated from the University of Alberta with a Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering. Prior to joining Surex Direct, Dr. Eric spent six years developing intelligent systems for use in health care, proteomics, sports analytics and agriculture.

‘’As an online brokerage, we take great pride in our technology and ability to service our customers,’’ Matthew Alston, chief operating officer of Surex Direct, said. ‘’Canadians deserve the absolute best when it comes to their insurance needs. This AI and machine learning movement will improve our business and set us apart from our competition.’’

Surex Direct is pursuing AI to automate processes such as reading and sorting documents, freeing up staff to focus on more complex tasks. Intelligent systems will also analyze Surex Direct’s database to discover new underwriting insights and improved risk assessment models.

‘’Simply put, AI technologies will reduce overhead costs while enabling unprecedented products and service,’’ Chalmers said. ‘’AI technologies are a tool we’ll use to stay ahead. From shopping the market to years into a customers’ relationship with Surex Direct, these AI technologies will enhance our ability to provide first-class service, at every step of the insurance process.’’

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