RISING STARS: PROFILES ///// 37
RISK AND CAPITAL ACTUARY
INTERNATIONAL GENERAL INSURANCE (IGI)
2016: Risk and capital actuary, International General
2013: Actuarial manager, Direct Line Group
2012: Actuarial consultant, XL Catlin
2010: Director (analytics), Aon Benfield
2009: Actual executive, MSIG Holdings (Asia)
How did you choose the re/insurance industry?
I began my career in analytics at a consultancy that specialised in
actuarial support for the insurance industry. As part of my role I
worked closely with a broker and began to appreciate the role and value
of insurance and reinsurance. I also quickly saw how my skills as an
actuary could help insurers and reinsurers navigate volatile situations,
improve capital management and optimise risk and return.
I started my insurance career with MSIG as an actuarial executive
and then joined Aon Benfield as an actuarial analyst.
If I had one piece of advice for graduates it would be to not
purely focus on academics, but to spend time developing their
High performance computing and modelling software coupled
with open source tools such as Python and R are the tools of the
trade and being able to apply these intelligently in a hands-on
manner is what will set the new actuaries of the future apart.
Is the industry attractive to young professionals?
Unfortunately, the industry struggles with an unappealing reputation
and when most people think of jobs in insurance they think of call
centres or relate back to a bad personal experience with a claim.
However, the commercial lines market is different. We are in the
business of facilitating others to take measured risk or protecting
against unavoidable hazards and as a result are often there for
people in some of the worst moments of their lives.
For example, following the string of natural catastrophes in
the US in 2017, the insurance industry played an invaluable role
in helping rebuild lives, and played a fundamental role restoring
properties and businesses. I don’t think young professionals realise
the difference they can make towards the common good.
“Young people coming into the
workplace want more than just a
job, they want a career and that’s
what insurance can offer.”
Does the re/insurance industry offer good opportunities and
career development to young professionals?
Yes, but I don’t think the industry publicises it well enough.
With technological advancements such as driverless cars, drones,
wearables, big data, data science and blockchain it has never been a
more exciting time to work in insurance. There are jobs for people
with a variety of skills, from underwriter, broker, claims adjuster,
accountant, computer engineer and data scientist.
Whether it’s a new client or business risk, each day will bring its
own challenges for you to solve. An increasing amount of studies
show that young people coming into the workplace want more than
just a job, they want a career and that’s what insurance can offer.
In insurance, young professionals are able to exercise their
entrepreneurial attitude in jobs that require creative thinking,
problem-solving and a desire to help others.
What are your aspirations for the future?
My short-term goal is to continue to apply advanced technology
and analytics that will enable my colleagues at IGI and the wider
industry to concentrate on real value-added work and deliver deep
insights that can maximise return on risk while delivering an ever-improving
service to our customers.
In the longer term, my aspiration is to use data and analytics
to help mitigate risk and reduce the reliance of insurance as a
backstop. We are already seeing this in the personal lines and health
markets through harnessing the internet of things (IoT), wearables
and big data—I want to see this move in to the commercial lines and
What if we could harness these types of technology to monitor
and underwrite risk at, say, a petrochemical site which monitors every
aspect in real time allowing it to take corrective actions way before
any manual intervention? Could this economic driver and additional
insight help drive even better risk management at the site?
Bringing all these things together in a way that repositions the
insurer as a risk management partner would literally be a game-changer,
and young professionals and digital natives can help to
If you had chosen a different profession/career path, what
would it have been?
I would have loved to be a chef. I think this goes back to my
passionate and analytical nature. I get such satisfaction out of
understanding the different components and how they can be put
together to create something beautiful. n
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