Paul Braithwaite co-leads the global insurance services practice and is a senior managing director at FTI Consulting. Paul offers clients deep knowledge of insurance and reinsurance company management, actuarial science and underwriting. He has testified in US and UK venues as an expert in over 30 insurance and reinsurance disputes on topics including scrutiny of actuarial work, appropriate levels of capital, brokerage commissions, coverage issues, unfair rate discrimination and measurement of damages.
WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO A CAREER IN INSURANCE SERVICES?
While pursuing my degree in applied mathematics at Brown University, I participated in an intensive seminar on the mathematics of insurance and was drawn to the many challenging, unsolved problems in the insurance industry, particularly related to property-casualty. I then spent over 25 years as an executive in the insurance and reinsurance industry with responsibilities including chief actuary and chief underwriting officer. I decided to move to consulting because the flexibility allowed me to continue solving complex problems while holding the demanding volunteer position as president of the Casualty Actuarial Society.
HOW HAS THE MARKET CHANGED SINCE YOU STARTED PRACTISING?
The market has undergone many profound transformations, but the most noteworthy and pervasive trends involve the use of data. Whether or not Moore’s Law is precisely correct, increasing computing power undeniably continues to unlock greater value from insurers’ underwriting and claims data. This is causing the roles of former industry rating bureaux to change, and accelerating the need for insurers to protect their proprietary data and analytical insights.
HOW DO YOU PREPARE TO GIVE EXPERT TESTIMONY IN INSURANCE DISPUTES?
As with many activities in life, there is no substitute for a good night’s sleep, some early-morning exercise and being mentally fresh. I find it valuable to think through how best to explain the complex topics in simple, understandable terms suitable to the judge, the jury or panel members. I always prepare by having full knowledge of the documents and facts, ready to tackle the unexpected. The greatest challenge – and my favourite part – of expert testimony is the unanticipated questions and topics that no amount of studying can prepare you for.
WHAT ARE THE INSURANCE IMPLICATIONS OF THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC IN THE US?
Many important legal issues remain undecided, but I expect the portion of damages paid by the insurance industry to comprise one of the largest mass torts in its history, if not the single largest. Similar to asbestos liabilities, there will be great challenges in how to apportion those liabilities among lawyers and types of insurance coverage. I anticipate the opioid-related liability allocation process will be complex, contentious and take many years to resolve.
HOW IS THE INCREASING NUMBER OF LAWSUITS CENTRED AROUND UNFAIR DISCRIMINATION IN INSURANCE RATES AFFECTING THE MARKET?
The emerging era of “big data” raises the potential for allegations of insurers using data in unfair ways, whether intentional or not. While this development is leading to some interesting technical and analytical disputes, there are also initiatives to implement prudent enhancements to insurers’ risk management and governance processes.
The risk management and governance areas may include underwriting, pricing and claims, as well as other administrative functions.
HOW DOES FTI CONSULTING DISTINGUISH ITSELF FROM COMPETITORS IN THE MARKET?
FTI Consulting’s insurance practice uniquely offers a full suite of specialties and services, including a range of expert transaction-related and advisory services. The practice includes high-level former industry executives and experts with diverse expertise who can apply a wholistic view to the industry’s evolving landscape.
FTI provides services globally, with more than 4,700 employees in 27 countries. Since FTI does not provide audit or brokerage services, we are free from many of the conflicts other advisory firms face. Finally, we use tools and technology to enhance our effectiveness and efficiency, increase our ability to collaborate, and enable our professionals to have current information at their fingertips.
HOW DO YOU SEE YOUR PRACTICE DEVELOPING OVER THE NEXT FIVE YEARS?
It is an exciting time for us. Our insurance practice is growing globally due to client demand and the many challenges facing insurance companies. Along with emerging disputes requiring more specialised expertise, I anticipate greater involvement of capital markets, increased consolidation in the industry, and added complexity of accounting rules such as IFRS 17 and regulatory requirements.
Paul Braithwaite is esteemed by commentators as "among the most highly regarded names" in the field for complex insurance expertise.
Mr Braithwaite has 40 years of industry experience, and brings deep knowledge and understanding of actuarial science, underwriting, insurance and reinsurance company management to his clients. Mr Braithwaite was previously the president of the Casualty Actuarial Society. Mr Braithwaite assists clients as an appointed actuary to insurance companies, provides expert testimony and dispute resolution support, loss reserve estimation (including asbestos and environmental), reinsurance commutations and reserve reviews, underwriting audits, due diligence, finite risk and structured product pricing analysis, and regulatory services. Mr Braithwaite has provided expert testimony in the United States and in London on diverse topics, including damage estimates, insurance and reinsurance underwriting and pricing custom and practice, insurance and reinsurance accounting and risk transfer, profit commissions, adjustable premium mechanisms, rehabilitation plans, solvent schemes of arrangement, self-insurance and captive liabilities and compliance with actuarial standards of practice. Mr Braithwaite is an ARIAS-certified reinsurance arbitrator; fellow of the Casualty Actuarial Society; member of American Academy of Actuaries; member of the International Actuarial Association / ASTIN and member of the Professional Liability Underwriting Society.