Remember the main!

No, I didn’t misspell it. What I’m remembering the mainframe – and IBM’s marketing decision that misjudged the market for desktop units.

Sop and I unknowingly read the same comments on the ALL board and he connected the dots in his excellent post on Merlin and McKinsey.  The story of the Mac on my mind is told in one of my favorite books, Organizing Genius – relevant to insurance issues because it describes the development of an alternative that became a new standard when the big blue blinked.

Systems are built to resist change. A strong system will assimilate change to the point that over time what was intended to change the system simply becomes a part of the system – the National Flood Insurance Program a case in point.

Real system change occurs when external events pressure the system to the point that it has to change to survive.  In that sense, Hurricane Katrina will prove to be the wind of change for an insurance system exempt from federal anti-trust law – an exemption that created reserves so large only 4.2% was lost from the largest insured event in history, according to the White Paper linked below.

Remember the main, read or re-read Robert Hunter’s White Paper, take another look at Sop’s post – then, run out and buy yourself a copy of Organizing Genius.

Chip Merlin Weighs In on Allstate and McKinsey

The weekend before April 15th typically means I’m working and this year is no different.   I took a break from checking returns and surfed my blogroll and followed a link my friend Russell sent that he knew would capture my interest.

Before we get to Chip’s blog and the cyber stops it entails I’ll share some concepts that help pull together this post on insurance, statistical theory and economics. The best place to start is with Russell’s link to Bloomberg and a fantastic story they did on Nassim Taleb late last month. The piece is biographical in nature but does delve into Taleb’s thought processes and how some of his theories have shaken up the status quo in the statistical community which is where we find our intersection with insurance theory.

Taleb has made enemies, too. In August, The American Statistician, the quarterly journal of the American Statistical Association, came out with a special Black Swan issue that published a series of critical reviews alongside an article by Taleb.

“He characterizes statisticians as people who blindly assume things, and nothing could be further from the truth,” says Peter Westfall, the journal’s editor and a professor of information systems and quantitative sciences at Texas Tech University in Lubbock. Continue reading “Chip Merlin Weighs In on Allstate and McKinsey”

Good ol’ boys blog their power plays!

Bo and Luke have gone high-tech after discovering you can run folks down faster with DSL than diesel. Bo has a JD; Luke drives an SUV – good ol’ boys hungry for power.

How come I can’t get in on that … deal?

You gotta be a good ol’ boy.

In this sense, good ol’ boy means you have to belong to the particular good ol’ boy network . Continue reading “Good ol’ boys blog their power plays!”