Amit Alon, Data Science Team Lead at Assured Allies, recently sat down with a steaming cup of Cortado to chat about her work. After only a few months at the Tel Aviv office, she has found her stride as a leader of the small yet mighty multidisciplinary team at the heart of the company’s innovation.
What motivated you to join Assured Allies?
I have always been drawn to medical and medically-adjacent domains. Previously, I worked at a company that automated medical diagnosis delivery to consumers. Assured Allies intrigued me because it has a higher standard than a purely medical one. We want to help all older adults age healthily, yes, but also to age successfully in a more holistic sense. Our latest product, NeverStop, a wellness program for adults 55+ offered in partnership with financial companies, addresses our members’ financial health, physical health, social life, purpose in life, and much more.
Other than being excited by the company’s mission, I liked the vibes. Everyone I spoke to during the interview process spoke passionately about their work and seemed genuinely dedicated to the company’s mission.
You have worked in both academia and private industry, with a rich background in computational biology, math, statistics, and computer science. What excites you about data science at Assured Allies?
Our overall approach is creating some disruption in the industry. Our products allow our clients, insurance and financial companies, to be more efficient, inclusive, and accurate in terms of trajectory prediction than ever before, particularly for long-term care insurance carriers.
Take AgeAssured, a program that helps older adults age in place. Our data science uses historical data (from both individual policyholders and large-scale data sets) to estimate when any given individual might benefit from support, usually in the form of a simple, low-cost intervention that our company provides. By doing so, we’ve demonstrated that we can help policyholders age in place and help long-term insurance carriers avoid or defer claims. No other company has been able to do this yet.
To support our new wellness program, NeverStop, we created Assured Digital Underwriting, an all-new form of underwriting that is done 100% online in less than 30 minutes. It broadens access to long-term care insurance (LTC) and other retirement financial products by being quick, easy, and frictionless in addition to providing almost immediate results. We have also infused standard actuarial calculations in the industry with new data that allow us to configure products for people who normally would be rejected from any LTC plan.
How will data science at Assured Allies continue to foster innovation?
We are already making waves and the future potential is huge. Our ongoing edge is our in-house clinical-data-actuary trifecta and the deeper and broader proprietary data sets that will continue to sharpen our predictive analytics. With our partners, we will develop new and exciting products that help thousands of older adults to thrive financially and age successfully. We will continue to refine all of our products in terms of digital underwriting efficacy and more robust, evidence-based, and personalized actuarial modeling.
What does it take to be both successful and data-driven as a company?
Paradoxically, it takes a leap of faith first of all. And then you need excellent researchers who can bring you the right data for your vision to succeed.
Why a leap of faith?
You have to start out with a strong vision of what’s possible, and then persuade others that you are correct. The financial industry is fairly conservative. When you try to improve any long-lived paradigm, it’s only natural that you will stumble upon resistance. This can be most challenging when regulated services are involved. Ultimately, this is a productive tension, as it raises the bar for us as a company. We must be absolutely sure that our data modeling represents the real world, and communicate that in a clear and effective way to our clients and partners.
What do you love the most about your job?
I am surrounded by creative people who challenge me every day. My absolute favorite thing is to tackle that one area or problem that everyone avoids. The difficulty forces me to be creative and seek solutions in far-flung places. Which brings me to another thing I love about this company: the multidisciplinary collaboration. My team, for example, is composed of only four data scientists but we each have unique backgrounds that allow us to converse across at least six different fields—physics, statistics, mathematics, computer science, biology, and engineering. When we tackle a problem together, we have such interesting and fruitful discussions! We also work very closely with the clinical research and actuary teams.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I love to go to the beach and paddleboard with my spouse and daughter. I also love watching movies, especially Marvel comics and action flicks. And, to my surprise, I recently discovered I enjoy baking. I used to avoid it because I was so bad at it, but ever since becoming a mother, I’ve found it to be one of the most bonding mother-daughter activities yet.
What are your hopes for your own successful aging?
I hope to be a NeverStopper when I turn 55!