Tech is a game-changer across all industries, but none more than insurance.

I was delighted to work on this year’s Actuarial, Insurance, Risk and Quants (AIR-Q) society forum. This year, we selected a focus on insurtech, which is a very pertinent issue within the insurance space. The event brings together students from the actuarial, insurance and risk master’s cohorts as well as insurance industry practitioners and is held at Cass Business School.

The impact of technology cuts across both market needs and service delivery for insurance providers. As Co-President of the AIR-Q society, myself and the rest of the committee felt it was important for students to consider the changing landscape as we prepare to start our professional lives in the sector. Being an MSc Actuarial Management student, it is always an exciting prospect to be at the heart of conversations happening in the career of my choice.

Through keynote addresses provided by esteemed guests Madeline Bailey, James Norman, Massimo Vascotto and Rahul Mathur, attendees had the chance to listen in on how insurtech is expected to transform the future industry roles and market needs.

Speakers illustrated how the sector is already changing. For example, the US-based insurtech startup Lemonade uses AI for most of its operations, including underwriting and claims management. This presents opportunities for “insurance-on-demand” which could be as influential a disruptor as Uber was in the taxi sector.

The speakers’ talks were followed by an interactive panel discussion. One of my key takeaways was that insurtech can be a tool for the optimisation of insurance products and services. Madeline Bailey gave an example of how the Insurewave platform uses blockchain technology to make marine insurance more efficient, thus providing better protection for the very complex maritime logistics sector.

For students to gain an edge in this changing market, they need to equip themselves with modern skills such as programming and data analysis. It is therefore clear why Cass shows support for this by offering modules such as Python Programming, Machine Learning, Modelling and Data Analysis and VBA programming among others.

It was not all praise for insurtech though. Insurtech does indeed present new opportunities, but it is also important to remember that at the centre of it all lies the end-consumer of insurance. Domain knowledge and a good understanding of human factors are crucial in the successful implementation of insurtech. This provided a very balanced debate and an engaging learning experience for both speakers and students.

Leading up to the event, myself and my Co-Presidents Maria Bou-Rizk, MSc Insurance and Risk (2019), Vinit John, MSc Insurance and Risk (2019) and Peter V, PhD candidate in Actuarial Science, worked with support of Cass’ events team to book the speakers and venue. With immense gratitude, we received further support by the Faculty of Actuarial Science and Insurance, with Dr Simone Krummaker moderating the panel discussion. It was an incredible learning experience that tested our teamwork and organisational skills. Hearing all these current conversations in the sector and mixing with industry leaders has helped bring into focus many of the academic aspects of my programme.

At the end of the event, we hosted a networking session which provided the chance for all the attendees to mingle. Overall, it was a great evening and I look forward to many more successful forums!

Eric Ndoria, MSc Actuarial Management (2019)