Category: MSc Actuarial Science

AIR-Q Insurtech Forum 2.0: Is this the future of Insurance?

There is good reason to believe that insurance is heading down the path of major disruptive innovation, but few are putting InsurTech at the heart of their strategy. Earlier this month, I had the privilege of hosting an Insurtech forum with four Insurtech industry leaders for the Actuarial, Insurance, Risk and Quants (AIR-Q) society at the Business School (formerly Cass).

As an MSc Actuarial Science student and co-president of AIR-Q society, I hope to share my passion for applying and enriching knowledge of the insurance industry. Further, as someone who comes from a mathematical background, I understand the fear of approaching new technical jargon, when hearing from professionals or reading articles. Therefore, I hope to bring clarity to help break down the barrier between high performing professionals and students through my role as co-president.

In our recent forum, we looked through the lens of InsurTech leaders to understand current trends and business models that are employed. We also discovered the intricacies that are worth paying attention to, as part of this monumental shift in the industry.

The panel consisted of the following Insurtech leaders:

Transforming Insurance Carriers from Companies using Data to Data Companies in Insurance


The event began with a presentation by Michael. He shared five trends he believes are helping companies thrive in the current digital world:

  • The shift from offline to online
  • The virtualisation of all technology, services, and solution delivery
  • Accelerated consumption of cloud-based services and solutions
  • Increased demand for real-time predictive analytics to drive decision making
  • All built and delivered around human-centred design

Michael shared data which demonstrates the major drivers and challenges encountered by carriers. In the legacy systems, there are processes manually worked across multiple data sources point to point. The real challenge is how to go from the legacy system to processes worked across multiple data sources with orchestration layer end to end.

Further, Michael shared with us a quote from a colleague “An AI is like a 14-year-old girl”, in his explanation of some of the pitfalls of AI and how Intelligent Automation is shaping the future of work, a more human-centred digital delivery of work.

InsurTech in 2020: Lens on InsurTech investment and partnerships

Sabine focused on Insurtech sector investment funding and trends. She stated that Insurtech investments in 2020 have gone towards mature ventures with established business models. Some investors have favoured companies that are pure digital players, with a focus on niche market segments. Others have primarily gone on to target small business and gig economy worker propositions. It is no surprise that cyber risk prevention & the reduction of cybercrime are top of mind. Lately, cognitive intelligence solutions are securing funding where they can support a range of operational transformation activities.

Some of the investment strategies used by insurers have included making investments in emerging technologies (IoT, Big Data, Cloud, 5G, Blockchain, Mobile, and AI). Insurers have already allocated significant funds to these technologies and are combining them into unique capabilities.

She concluded by suggesting that Insurtech players need to join the dots by including ‘differentiating platform’ and ‘ecosystem thinking’, into the mix.

Insurtech – everything you need to know to participate in the disruption of a multi-trillion-dollar industry

Sebastian spoke about the similarities between Insurtech and the Fintech market. He discussed where the money is, what it takes to build an Insurtech firm and the power of dynamic between incumbents and new entrants in Insurtech disruption. Given Sebastian’s expertise in African Insurance market, he also spoke about the emerging markets and the evolving nature of insurance services being offered. He shared a myriad of knowledge including where the demand is and why the youngest populations, such as Africa, are a good market. With the rise of online banking, embedded finance is more prevalent in Kenya than it is in Texas.

Below are the links to register if you would like to attend the insurance conventions mentioned by Sebastian to hear further about emerging markets in Insurtech:
: Africa 3.0 | Insurance 3.0

Ki Insurance: the first fully digital and algorithmically driven Lloyd’s syndicate

James talked about Ki being the first fully digital Lloyd’s of London ‘follow only’ syndicate. Ki has teamed up with Google cloud and enlisted the help of the computer science department at University College London (UCL) to design the algorithms.

Ki is a Brit Insurance venture which aims to redefine commercial insurance by bringing disruptive technology. This will certainly challenge the traditional industry designed by brokers by providing a more efficient way of getting quotes in the Lloyd’s of London. The vision is to make Lloyd’s more comparable to the London Stock Exchange, by digitalising risk. The benefits here are twofold: brokers get a more user-friendly and timely way to access follow positions, and Brit can carve out a huge chunk of cost from the lengthy end-to-end process by using technology.

Opening the discussion with the floor

Speaker’s presentations were followed by an open discussion between speakers and guests, moderated by Siddhesh Surpatne. We were pleased to have a very engaged audience, who put forward thought-provoking questions making the event very interactive.

The AIR-Q society was honoured to have Michael, Sabine, Sebastian and James share their knowledge with everyone, and we would like to extend our sincere gratitude to them.

Thank You

The founder and presidents of AIR-Q society (Peter V, Ruby Ison, Harry Parker, Vered Opoku-Baffour, Simran Dewani and Siddhesh Surpatne) would like to thank the Business School (formerly Cass) careers and events team, specifically Leon Cuthbertson for his help in setting up a successful webinar. Many thanks to our attendees, and especially the speakers for their wonderful and insightful presentations on the reshaping the insurance industry. Together, you made this event a success. We hope to host more enjoyable and informative events in the future.

Follow AIR-Q society to join us for future events:

Campus groups



The Future of Actuaries

Choosing Cass

I studied pure mathematics in my undergraduate degree but was already interested pursuing a career as an actuary. I became an intern in a life insurance company as an actuary and later became a full-time employee after graduation.

In my experience, life insurance products tend to have complex and long policy terms, which become a challenge for actuaries to quantify the risks and calculate the optimum premium and reserves. I found this challenging yet fun because the problem could vary every time and the products themselves are getting more innovative, which brings a whole new level of calculation complexity. These are the reasons I wanted to pursue my career as an actuary in the life insurance industry.

I decided to continue learning by studying the Cass MSc Actuarial Science. I wanted to increase my mathematical and statistical skills, with a focusing on the actuarial field, as well as broaden my knowledge of the applications of actuarial science.

Cass is well-known for its MSc Actuarial Science programme. The School offers broad and varied accredited actuarial science modules which allows students up to six actuarial exam exemptions. The assessment in most modules are a real-life application and are carried out using essential software such as R, VBA and Excel. In addition, there are also options for student to take business analytics modules which is really what got me really interested in the first place and helped me decide where to study.

The Future of Actuaries

The ever-growing trend of business digitalisation is pushing a lot of companies to require people with technical skills related to big data platforms and automation. Companies will need more people with the ability to analyse large amounts of raw data, manipulate it, and create an algorithm to transform it into something functional for the company to then visualise the result. That is where a business analyst plays an important role.

While it is true that business analysts are needed in every sector, in the financial sector and the insurance and investment industries, business analysts require a combination of strong data analysis skills as well as the ability to quantify future risks. In these cases, an actuary can fulfil these requirements.

Combining actuarial science and business analytics: preparing for my future career

What I think will be the most useful technique of business analysis for my career is machine learning. As an actuary, I will be dealing with a lot of data to make some assumptions out of it to predict future risks. It became a much more challenging thing in life insurance where actuaries were required to predict long-term future risks based on historical data. Machine learning could help clean the data by predicting missing values or even predict new variables using unsupervised techniques.

Frequent analysis of the data is also common for actuaries, whether it is to calculate monthly reserve, performance monitoring, or premium re-calculation for Yearly Renewable products. Machine learning could speed up the process by fitting all of the analysis models and validate the result much quicker.

Muhammad Alhavif, MSc Actuarial Science (2020)

*From September 2020, Cass Business School will be launching the MSc in Actuarial Science with Business Analytics pathway, which prepares students for the non-traditional actuarial field of business analytics.

How I’m preparing for a career as a modern actuary

Choosing Cass 

I am an MSc Actuarial Science student at Cass Business School. I aspire to pursue a career in the non-traditional actuarial field of business analytics.

Prior to studying at Cass, I studied BSc Mathematics at the University of Birmingham. After graduating from my bachelor’s, I wanted to learn more about actuarial science in insurance, finance and investment. I knew that actuarial studies would be the ideal combination of mathematical and probabilistic techniques and analysis of business and would allow me to combine my greatest passions.

Based in the City of London, Cass is in an ideal location for finding a job post-graduation. In addition, our excellent lecturers have deep industry knowledge and understanding of current affairs and offer us the knowledge we need to learn.

All these factors motivated me to study the MSc in Actuarial Science at Cass.

Actuaries: the future of business analytics

By following the new curriculum of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, Cass offers a detailed study of actuarial computer-based applications in R and Python programming and VBA. Given the excellent skill set acquired via these, I am developing my knowledge of analytics methods for business and machine learning, all of which are being adopted across actuarial practice areas.

I like this course structure, not only because it delivers the fundamentals of actuarial science, but also offers computer-based applications and modules on analytics methods for business and machine learning. These tools are very useful for my career path. I want to become a non-traditional actuary equipped with strong technical skills.

Help from the Careers Team

With the support of Cass Careers Team, I have already attended many workshops and I have booked numerous 1:1 appointments to help me apply for jobs in the UK. I feel more confident in answering competency questions and doing video interviews. I really appreciate the careers coaches because they have helped me gain confidence and realise where my personal strengths lie.

Studying at Cass Business School has enriched my understanding of actuarial science and improved my commercial awareness. I look forward to seeing what the future holds.

Yiqi Chang, MSc Actuarial Science (2020)

 If you’d like to find out more about Yiqi’s experience or have any general questions about studying on a master’s degree at Cass, contact her on our Ask a student platform.

*From September 2020, Cass Business School will be launching the MSc in Actuarial Science with Business Analytics pathway, which prepares students for the non-traditional actuarial field of business analytics.

Choosing Cass was a wise decision

Before I arrived at Cass, I asked myself ‘Is this the right choice?’

After I arrived at Cass to study the MSc in Actuarial Science, I realised that I’d made a wise decision.

During my undergraduate studies at Queen’s University in Canada, I became interested in the actuarial profession. That’s when I first started to consider pursuing a master’s degree in Actuarial Science. I wanted to complete my master’s in a different location, somewhere full of opportunities and challenges, so I chose the UK.

I was lucky enough to get in touch with a Cass alumnus before applying. He told me a lot about this place. He shared his experience with me and he told me that Cass is not just a place to study, it is also a platform for you to explore and to connect with like-minded people. He also said that even though the one-year programme is demanding and tough, it is the most rewarding and memorable experience he has had.

About the MSc in Actuarial Science

The MSc in Actuarial Science at Cass is a one-year programme. All the modules offered are structured and graded based on the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) requirements. This means that you will not only receive your degree, but also some CT1 to CT8 exemptions upon graduation if you meet the grade threshold. All the course instructors at Cass have years of vocational experience. For example, one of the module instructors has over 20-years working experience in pension funds. Instead of just giving us theoretical concepts from the textbook, he gave us real-life examples to help us fully understand the concepts. As a student without much experience in the workplace, such insights are extremely valuable.

Social events

The master’s programme is demanding and intense, but that does not necessarily mean you won’t have time for social events. In fact, Cass helps students succeed in their academic life and career. A variety of workshops are running each week to help you to prepare your CV and cover letter for job hunting. One-to-one interviews are also available to book if you have any specific concerns.

I attended the majority of the workshops and I found that they are of great significance. One point I really want to emphasise is that all career advisers in the Cass Career Team have years of experience as Human Resource managers or recruiters, which means they know exactly what companies are looking for and they can teach you how to match your abilities with the roles you apply for, eventually making you stand out from the other applicants to secure a job offer.

What’s more, Cass also holds different panel events to provide a platform for current students to connect with alumni. For example, by holding the actuarial science panel event, I got the opportunities to talk to senior directors from an insurance company and gained insights about the current UK markets. By engaging in conversations and asking questions, I understood more and gained greater knowledge about the insurance market in the UK than I could ever have learnt from a textbook or newspaper. By listening to their personal stories, I learnt techniques and skills that I can apply to my day-to-day study and work.

Having the opportunity to study at Cass makes it possible to meet and connect with people from all over the world. Listening to their stories, learning about their languages and cultures has enriched my business school experience.

Yue Yin, MSc Actuarial Science (2019)

Keep Calm & Trust Cass Careers

After one long year of brainstorming, I finally decided to quit my Senior Actuarial Analyst job at AXA XL Catlin in New Delhi and begin an MSc in Actuarial Management at Cass Business School.

Like most of my peers, I aspire to work in the UK and I’m keen to explore the various routes to employment here.

Two weeks into the course, Cass gave us an opportunity to meet more than 60 employers under one roof at the Cass Careers Fair. Here, we could network with an array of leading companies: Aviva, KPMG, Deloitte and many more.

Before the Careers Fair, we were given access to online sessions and workshops on how to make the most of the event. Looking back, it really helped me understand the application process of the companies that interested me.

The Cass Careers Service organises weekly sessions to enhance our employability. In those sessions, they address various topics like the preparation of CVs, covering letters, interview skills and sessions on industry-specific knowledge.

I made sure I attended each session at least once and they turned out to be very helpful in the application process. Moreover, the Cass Careers website has a real-time update on graduate jobs in different industries in the UK market, making it easier for us to keep track of opportunities.

I was invited to a telephone interview with KPMG. Afterwards, I had to record a series of answers and send them back by the end of the day. I had classes until 3pm that day, so I went to Cass Careers immediately afterwards. Although I’d not booked an appointment beforehand, they assigned an expert who helped me refine my answers until they were perfect and ready to be sent off.

As of today, I’ve been invited to five video interviews (stage three of the applications process for many companies). I’ve made it this far thanks to the Cass Careers Service. The detailed guidance and feedback at every stage– from drafting application answers to psychometric tests – really makes it easier.

The Cass Careers Service employ experts who have worked in the industry for more than 10 years, so they understand better than anyone else what makes your application stand out from a pool of thousands of other applications. Soliciting their advice throughout the different stages of the application process is really helpful.

So, if you enrol to Cass, then you can be confident and trust their Careers Service.

Sambhav Jain,  MSc in Actuarial Management (2019)

If you have any questions for Sambhav or any of our other student ambassadors about the student experience, visit our Ask a Student page. 

Heading Out

This year’s induction sessions began on the 17th of September 2018. As a MSc Actuarial Management student, I expected numerous lectures throughout the week involving a lot of mathematical calculations, group assignments and the inevitable long hours at the school library.

For the most part, this is the expected life of an Actuarial student. But Cass Business School provides way more than that for its pupils.

Our weekly timetable includes a module on Professional Development. Again, I expected this to be a typical lecture series which theorised about competition and personal development. However, the course turned out to be a very practical module, drawing upon the wisdom of experts in various fields.

One of the most popular sessions held was titled ‘Networking with Fun, Confidence and Professionalism’, hosted by Sue Tonks from The Career Farm. Surprisingly, as mathematically-minded actuarial professionals, networking is not exactly a natural skill for us! It is something we would rather avoid in favour of complicated spreadsheets and data models.

However, with the increasingly global reach of most professions and the requirement to engage with a wider variety of stakeholders, it is something we must all do at some point.

The session was led humorously by Sue, who also provided many key insights into the following matters:

  • How to prepare effectively for a networking session: this involves everything from logistics to emotional and physical preparation;
  • How to break the ice when meeting new people: acceptable topics include asking where the other person is from, how do they know the host, what brought them to the event, and the weather (always a safe topic in London);
  • How to discuss business matters: enquire into people’s current interests and plans and generate a conversation from this;
  • How to work the room: engaging people with courtesy and politeness and, importantly, how to join and leave groups;
  • How to maintain contact after the event: keeping in touch by exchanging business cards or contact information.

As the module is available for all Cass students, I highly recommend attending, even for just one key insight. Other useful professional development sessions included: ‘How to Effectively use LinkedIn’, ‘Write Effective Cover Letters and CVs’ and ‘Building Industry Awareness’.

Heading to Middle Earth

As hinted above, weather in London can be dreary and cold for most international students. I recommend taking a day trip outside London; that will cure some of those weather blues! Me and a few classmates visited both Warwick and Oxford one weekend in October. Here are some highlights:

  •  Our visit to The Collegiate Church of St Mary, Warwick: Originally founded in 1123, the church is a treasure of Gothic architecture. Nearby, J.R.R. Tolkien (author of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, for all the non-middle earth fans) married Edith Bratt at another Warwick church, St Mary Immaculate, in March 1916.
  • Visiting Oxford: Exploring some of the locations from the Harry Potter films is a must, and so we paid a visit to the famous Oxford University colleges. Most famous of all is Christ Church College, that inspired the design of the Great Hall in the Harry Potter movies. At Christ Church, both muggles and non-muggles are welcome to visit!

Joan Wanja Mungai, MSc Actuarial Management (2019)

The Cass Actuarial Science experience

Hello everyone, my name is Kartik and I am studying my master’s degree in Actuarial Science at Cass Business School. I previously completed an undergraduate degree in Financial Mathematics in the UK and after working in risk management during my placement year I decided to become an Actuary. With this blog, I hope to share with you many of my wonderful and sometimes challenging experiences at Cass.

For this first blog I think it is fitting that I talk about my first few weeks at Cass. Now I am sure you have heard of the expression “the calm before the storm” and looking back I think this best describes how the first few weeks unfolded.

The first two weeks of the master’s degree are set aside for induction which consists of various learning courses and social events. I was very anxious before starting the course as it had been almost three years since I started my undergraduate studies and have had to go through the process of meeting complete strangers and making new friends at university. However, the anxiety and nervousness quickly disappeared as I must say everyone on my course was particularly social and very easy to talk to.

A lot of credit is due to the Actuarial Science department at Cass for arranging an excellent itinerary, during our first few weeks on the course, maximising the opportunity to meet new people, from many different backgrounds. Here we are at one such event. I am the second to last guy on the right if you are curious!

There are many events that the student unions hold providing great opportunities to meet people outside of the course and have enjoyable night outs.

After inductions are over, it is time to face the music! There is a lot to cover on the MSc Actuarial Science and so there is no soothing transition as one might be accustomed to from undergraduate studies. The lectures have a very brief introduction, the course begins almost immediately and there are online tests as early as week three of lectures. I was one of the people who made the mistake of taking it a little bit easy in my first week of lectures and so I would definitely urge others not to make the same mistake, especially if you are doing all four Core Technicals (CTs) in the first term as I was.

However, the lecturers at Cass are particularly helpful and there are office hours as well as tutorials that help greatly with much of the work. The content of the first two to three weeks of the master’s degree is also slightly easier compared to the rest so this definitely helps to transition into the course.

Besides lectures, there was always one thing at the back of my mind – other than the numerous online coursework and laborious tests – jobs! Typically most graduate roles at some of the top companies in the UK close their applications by November, despite the difficulty finding time, the applications had to be submitted.

I want to point out the outstanding support I received from the Careers Team at Cass. They helped and guided me from the very first week whether it was to help me with my CV and cover letter or with online tests and assessment centres. The careers interphase, CCO, is also particularly helpful in finding roles suitable for my course. All of this is not to say that it will be too late to apply for jobs in the second term. I am writing this blog in March and there are plenty of roles available to apply for!

Fast forward six months and I am now towards the end of my second term marvelling at the time gone. I thought the first term of the course was very difficult having done four Core Technical subjects; the second term is relatively challenging and I am only doing two Core Technical subjects! There really is no room for slacking in the second term as the amount of content covered every week is enormous. The difficulty of each CT is also tenfold compared to the first term.

During the second term there was also the task of choosing electives or research projects for the third term. I chose to do all five electives as it is very helpful in providing real life experiences within the actuarial field. There is also the added bonus of finishing by mid July. Even though I am thinking of the holidays, exams are already here and the pressure is definitely on! Wish me luck…

To sum it all up, I would say the first month of the master’s degree is fun but challenging. There are plenty of new people to meet and events to enjoy but it is also important to enter with the right mind-set right from the very start, when it comes to lectures, as time flies by very quickly! Before you know it, you will be seven months into the course and getting ready for exams in April!

Kartik Vyas, MSc Actuarial Science (2018)


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