Berkshire’s Gen Re Hires BioSignia’s Hu for Life Analytics Role

Berkshire Hathaway Inc.’s General Re hired Guizhou Hu to head analytics at the North America unit that takes on insurance contracts tied to life expectancies and health.

Hu joins from BioSignia, a closely held company that assesses risk for insurers, according to a statement Monday from Stamford, Connecticut-based General Re. He’ll report in the new role to Jim Greenwood, senior vice president of the individual-products division.

Insurers have access to more data about claims histories and have been analyzing the figures to help determine which risks to take, and how much to charge for them. Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire acquired Gen Re in 1998 in one of Chairman Warren Buffett’s largest deals. The life-and-health unit’s underwriting gain slipped 21 percent last year to $107 million on costs tied to long-term care and disability coverage.

“We’ve been increasingly focused on decision analytics in individual-life risk selection these past few years,” Steve Mannik, president of General Re Life, said in the statement. “Guizhou’s fresh perspective will help us to expand into other areas and offer additional resources to our clients.”

Hu was chief scientific officer at BioSignia for 16 years, according to the statement, overseeing mortality underwriting research. He has a medical degree from Beijing Medical University and a doctorate in epidemiology from Cornell University, according to the statement.

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