• Forbes moves from chief actuary, will report to Rooney
  • John Hancock's Finch to take actuary post, report to CFO

Manulife Financial Corp., Canada’s largest life insurer, created a new analytics role as the company seeks better ways of using data to target customers and boost margins at a time when the industry is pressured by low interest rates.

Cindy Forbes was appointed chief analytics officer reporting to Paul Rooney, chief operating officer, as of April 1, the Toronto-based company said Tuesday in a statement. She is moving from the role of chief actuary.

“Cindy will be responsible for building the company’s analytic capability and providing this information to our business leaders to enhance the company’s top and bottom line performance,” Rooney said in the statement. She will expand the use of data from internal and external sources as the company seeks the “overall improvement of our decision making.”

Insurers are increasingly looking to data gathering to help set prices, assess risks, target customers and evaluate the prospects of potential new offerings. New York-based American International Group Inc. has increased spending on science to improve underwriting standards and claims handling.

Steve Finch, who was most recently the chief financial officer of Manulife’s John Hancock Financial Services subsidiary, was named chief actuary. He joins Manulife’s executive committee and will report to CFO Steve Roder.

Manulife dropped 1.1 percent to C$18.81 at 10:46 a.m. in Toronto. That extended its fall for the year to 9.3 percent.

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