Featured Analyst: Donald Light
24 September 2018
Donald Light has worked as an insurance analyst and consultant at Allstate, Sapient, his own firm, and now for 15 years at Celent. One of his first assignments was to explain the property/casualty underwriting cycle (back in the days when popular wisdom held there were three good underwriting years, followed by three poor underwriting years, and so on). He never quite figured out that dynamic, but he outlasted it; no one worries about underwriting cycles anymore. He had no connection to insurance before starting, but that has made everything about insurance a new learning challenge – for which he is grateful.
WHERE ARE YOU FROM ORIGINALLY / WHERE DID YOU GROW UP?
Born in Chicago. Proud graduate of Oak Park-River Forest High School. Fellow alums include Ernest Hemingway (to whom I owe my laconic prose style) and Ray Croc (to whom I owe my aversion to French fries).
I currently live in Menlo Park, California
Hiking around Lake Tahoe
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CITY/PLACE YOU’VE TRAVELED?
Deep dish pizza
WHAT'S YOUR STORY?
Insurance and technology are deep and broad and constantly changing fields of knowledge. I try to learn from everyone – starting with my first job in insurance (at Allstate’s Research and Planning Center) and my first job in insurance technology (at Sapient).
The thing I enjoy most about my job is tackling a new and unfamiliar topic -- working to understand it well enough to communicate what is important. The thing I like second most is making my blog posts fun and valuable.
An early adopter, I brought my own Compaq Portable https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compaq_Portable to work with me at Allstate—using a luggage cart to haul it around.
As an analyst, how do you approach your work?
I focus on which solutions are fit for purpose (i.e. fit for a given insurer and that insurer’s requirements). Think benefits (in addition to features and functions). Identify the value propositions. Listen and ask good questions. And look just a bit over the horizon.