Elizabeth Mann began her career as a mathematician in academia, spending a decade in the field. Her initial plan had been to become a professor, on a path that would start with a Ph.D. and a postdoc.
However, something was missing. Eager to engage more directly with the world at large, she pivoted her career toward finance.
Mann found a door of entry at Goldman Sachs, where after initially filling a quantitative role involving complex financing structures she subsequently transitioned to investment banking and a new focus on M&A and corporate finance in the tech and media sectors.Read More
After more than decade with Goldman Sachs, she moved to S&P Global. Here, after first handling such corporate finance areas as treasury, tax, and capital allocation, she eventually stepped into a divisional CFO role. This was her first experience on a leadership team, which offered her a broader view of running a business and deepened her operational expertise.
Mann’s journey led her to become CFO of Verisk, a provider of data, analytics, and technology to the insurance industry. Here, she focuses on leveraging the company’s foundation in data and analytics to enhance its offerings in the insurance sector, particularly in the face of challenges like climate change and technological advances. Her role now includes overseeing an extensive finance transformation, involving the upgrade of the company’s ERP system.
Looking back, Mann doesn’t second-guess her investment of early career years inside academia—if anything, she seems to value them all the more.
Says Mann: “Those years were not wasted. I learned a lot about rigor and about how to think about things in a clear way and independent way, have the agency to come up with your own views and perspective, and really pursue an idea to its logical conclusion.” –Jack Sweeney
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CFOTL: Tell us about Verisk … what does this company do, and what are its offerings today?
Mann: Verisk is a provider of data, analytics, and technology to the insurance industry. We support the insurance industry worldwide. The heart of our business is focused on the property and casualty segment of the industry, where our history is pretty important. We were founded in the 1970s as a consortium of many of the U.S. property and casualty providers, who realized that they needed to share each other’s data to be able to better select pricing, underwrite risk, and process claims more efficiently. In particular, they wanted to be able to better identify fraudulent claims in the insurance space.
No one insurance carrier has enough data on their own to be able to do these things best. For example, when it comes to the actuarial assessment of risk, they need a dataset from across the industry to understand what’s going on in their sector or in their particular insurance industry.Read More
If you especially think about fraudulent claims, this becomes interesting. About 10% of property and casualty insurance claims have some element of fraud attached to them, so this phenomenon is fairly prevalent in the industry. The single best predictor of fraud is the previous record of a particular claimant, whether it’s an individual or a small business. So, if you, as an insurance carrier, want to identify fraud, the best thing that you can do is to check into what else that claimant has filed in the past. You can’t do this, obviously, just with your own set of claims. You want to look across the industry, and we enable folks to do just that.
Verisk has a very important consortium and network history, and, as you can tell, we have been very focused on data and analytics right from the start—way before it was trendy like it is today. Back in the ’70s, we were actually owned by many of the insurance carriers. In the 1990s, we were split off as an independent, for-profit entity, before eventually going public in 2009. Over time, we expanded from serving only the insurance industry to experimenting with other end markets in the data and analytics space. More recently, though, in 2021 and ’22, we divested a bunch of these businesses so that we could bring our focus back to the heart of where we started—data and analytics for the insurance industry. jb