Tag: insurance

Career advice for insurance and risk management students

Join a student society to network and learn

As an MSc Insurance and Risk Management student, I jumped at the opportunity to join the Actuarial, Insurance, Risk, and Quants Society (AIR-Q) as one of the Co-Presidents. Joining AIR-Q Society has been an excellent way to build my network and to delve deeper into the field I want to pursue a career in by speaking to alumni working in the sector.

How to break into the insurance industry

As a soon-to-be MSc Insurance and Risk Management alumnus, it is crucial to understand what to expect in the future which is why it was incredibly rewarding to work on hosting a webinar in May with the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII), Insurance Institute of London (IIL) and AIR-Q. The session was specifically aimed at master’s students interested in following a career in the insurance industry.

We had more than 30 attendees join the forum with questions for our panel of six, including three alumni, led by Vivine Cameron. I am very grateful to the six panellists who shared their career advice and professional trajectories. They were:

  • Vivine Cameron: Education Partnerships Manager
  • Afsar Ali: Cyber Analyst at Guy Carpenter (alumnus)
  • Amanda Yek: Actuarial Placement Analyst at Markel International
  • Irem Yerdelen: Client & Business Development Director, Corporate Risk & Broking segment, Willis Towers Watson (alumnus)
  • Louise Healy: Recruitment Consultant at Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty
  • Stephanie Nightingale: Head of Risk Reporting and Underwriting Risk Oversight at Chaucer Syndicates

 

The different career paths in insurance

There are plenty of roles involved in the insurance businesses, such as underwriting, claims, brokering and loss adjustment among others. Which path you decide to pursue will depend on your abilities, your interests and which path is most dynamic when you are graduating. During my master’s studies, I gained a better understanding and deep insights into the industry. Topics like insurtech, digitalisation and startups are trending in the insurance industry.  There is a lot of space for innovation and many companies are developing new tech and generating brand new products that are more transparent, are easier to understand and are increasingly accessible to existing or unique customers, which makes it a very exciting time to enter the industry.

A fast-track to being awarded CII professional certifications

One of the benefits of studying the MSc Insurance and Risk Management at Cass is the possibility to study modules which award credits towards the professional CII certifications. Thanks to Vivine, we were able to understand the advanced benefits we will have towards our CII qualifications. She provided us with unique guidance on which insurance roles exist. Asfar Ali, Cyber Analyst at Guy Carpenter shared valuable tips into which  next steps we need to take to be awarded the CII diploma and spoke about company sponsorship to receive the qualifications.

Career advice from our panellists: enjoy the process

Each future graduates is different. We have unique skill sets and distinctive ambitions in short-term and long-term.  The majority of us are concerned as to which career path we might follow now and in the near months. Irem Yerdelen, an alumna and the Client & Business Development Director, Corporate Risk & Broking segment at Willis Tower Watson is a fellow graduate of the MSc Insurance and Risk Management. Irem was able to tell the online attendees how the course benefitted her career. Her professional journey started in Istanbul and after pursuing her master’s degree, she decided to stay in London to pursue her career. Irem gave an important message: “doing a master’s is a great step for your career. When looking for a job, think about which option is the best for you but don’t forget to enjoy the process!”

Job-searching online

Due to the significant changes the insurance sector and many dependent sectors are facing, job-searching is going to be completely different from what it used to be. Most recruitment processes and interviews will be fully online. Louise Healy, Recruitment Consultant at Allianz, talked about her experience in the recruitment sector and gave us some valuable insights. Louise highlighted how candidates need to demonstrate their soft skills and suggested we show our genuine personality, saying, “Be natural, show who you really are.”

Thank you!

Myself and my fellow Co-Presidents of AIR-Q Society (Rocio Plasencia, Evangelos Santas, Lucy Nondi, David Flanigan, Adam Upenieks, and Peter Vodička) would like to deliver a special thanks to guest speakers for a great session and for answering all the audience questions.

Juan Sebastián de la Torre, MSc Insurance and Risk Management (2020)

 

Meet Cass AIR-Q Society’s Presidents of 2019/20

I am Peter Vodicka, PhD Candidate at Cass and Founder of Cass AIR-Q Society – the Cass Actuarial, Insurance, Risk and Quants Society. We are focused on bringing together students with like-minded interests, the society organises meetups, workshops and networking events allowing students to immerse themselves in the actuarial, insurance, risk and quantitative finance industries.

The Society is made up of five Co-Presidents: one undergraduate student and four master’s students. I spoke to our Co-Presidents and asked them about their time at Cass so far and their plans for AIR-Q. Meet the Co-Presidents:

Rocio Plasencia, MSc Insurance and Risk Management (2020) from Peru

I decided to study at Cass to continue my personal and professional development. Cass is not only providing me the appropriate tools to improve my skills and to progress my expertise and vision in insurance business, but also it is giving me the opportunity to get to know the worldwide leading insurance market. I have met incredible and inspiring people from all over the world. I am looking forward to all our future events at Cass AIR-Q Society.

As a Peruvian lawyer, the diversity of the modules on the MSc Insurance and Risk Management can be a big challenge, but it was one of the main reasons I chose this master’s. What I love the most about the insurance industry is the possibility of getting to know people with different perspectives and professions.

As one of the Presidents of the Cass AIR-Q Society, my objective is to contribute to the society becoming a reference point and a source of knowledge at Cass and in the industry by hosting specialised workshops and seminars.

Lucy Nondi, MSc Actuarial Management (2020) from Kenya

Located at the hub of UK’s capital, Cass attracts a blend of cultures from all over the world. This has been one of its outstanding attributes, on top of the quality of education it provides in the fields of finance and business. My first three months have been very exciting as I have been able to attend various events that have helped sharpen both my networking skills and clarify my career path.

Joining Cass AIR-Q as one of the Presidents provides a great platform for interacting and learning from different professionals who are already in the finance field. I will therefore be able to keep up to date with what is currently happening in the industry through the networking events are planning for in the new year. Cass AIR-Q will also be an opportunity for me to improve my networking skills that is really essential in my career goal as an actuary.

Evangelos Santas, MSc Financial Mathematics (2020), from Greece

Being a postgraduate student in the heart of the financial capital and being in contact with world-leading finance leaders, every day here at Cass just feels so amazing. The professional environment have made me feel back in my element and comfortable. The many helpful people I work with every day made me quickly forget about London’s rainy weather. It’s a great way to entry in the world of business!

Coming from a university in a different country, I had to face with a completely different study culture. Understanding how to approach my finance classes, as I come from a quantitative background, were challenging but incredibly rewarding.

Joining AIR-Q Society as one of its Presidents has been a great opportunity to give back to the Cass community. I’ve had the chance to meet interesting people, to learn about the industry’s current trends and to develop my organisational and communication skills by preparing interesting events, focusing on quants master’s students.

Adam Upenieks, MSc Quantitative Finance (2020), from Canada

 

Walking through the doors for the first time, I noticed that Cass is more than just a place to learn. It is a place to meet people, gain connections and learn about your peers. The atmosphere of Cass and the energy of London has made it a great place to train for a career in finance.

The biggest challenge of any graduate programme is time management. It is a crucial part of being a successful student and an invaluable skill to have for a successful career. Currently, I am balancing my time between studying for my CFA level II, taking extra-curricular Python courses, and studying a full course load at Cass. This is a challenge, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Being part of AIR-Q presents you with opportunities to gain invaluable knowledge through meeting industry professionals and networking. It is also a fantastic opportunity to create tailored events for our peers in the quantitative disciplines. As a President, you need to have your finger on the pulse of what is happening in the world of finance, what is interesting to your peers and to organise remarkable events. My goal this year is to bring meaningful information to my peers in the world of quantitative finance, so that we can all learn and move forward together.

Juan Sebastián de la Torre, MSc Insurance and Risk Management (2020), from Ecuador

Joining Cass and AIR-Q has been amazing and I’m enjoying every moment. The campus facilities are excellent— you have access to every resource you need for your research and studies. The master’s programme encourages you to give your best and reach your potential.

Finding a balance between studies, social life and hobbies is a must. At the moment my modules have been amazing providing me with a lot of knowledge and that encourages me to seek for more information and always be investigating about new trends in the insurance market.

I decided to run for Cass AIR-Q President because I’m passionate about the field I’m studying and it is a great opportunity to provide my classmates and Cass students with great opportunities to assist to workshops, discussions panels and events organized by the society with interesting and experienced workers in the field. My goal with Cass AIR-Q is to provide quality events that will benefit the students and increase the society group members.

Follow AIR-Q Society on LinkedIn

David Flanigan, BSc Actuarial Science (2020), from the United Kingdom

I am in my final year of BSc Actuarial Science and have benefited hugely by making the most of the resources and facilities offered by Cass and would urge new students to do the same!

As well as my role as President of AIR-Q, I am also President of the undergraduate Society of Actuaries and hope to establish a strong link between master’s students and our undergraduate students who may be looking for mentors or advice.  Collectively, we can recognise the benefits expanding our networks to draw on our peers’ expertise.

AIR-Q Insurtech Forum: the Future of Insurance is Now!

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)

Studying MSc Insurance and Risk Management at Cass: the Khatib legacy

Reem El Khatib

Prior to my bachelor’s degree in psychology, my father would sit me down and talk to me about the insurance industry’s potential, hoping that one day I would follow his path and that of his brothers. I was, however, fixated on a certain perception that stopped me from delving deeper into this misunderstood field. Upon finishing my bachelor’s, I soon realised that despite my passion for psychology, it was not the right career for me. By that time, I had lost my father and my main source of guidance and advice. I struggled to find a new passion that would give me the same excitement and thrill as that from psychology.

I am lucky enough to come from a family that looks out for each other. Although I lost my father, I had another father figure in my life that I looked up to, my uncle, Wael El Khatib, the Chairman of Lockton MENA. My uncle completed his MSc in Insurance and Risk Management at Cass in 1998. Upon completing his degree, he had unknowingly begun a legacy for the Khatibs to follow. Years later, my cousin, Ata El Khatib, followed in his father’s footsteps and also completed his MSc in Insurance and Risk Management at Cass in 2008. Ata is currently Deputy CEO at Lockton MENA.

I think by now you know where this is heading… Ata was not the last Khatib at Cass.  His brother, Faris, also joined Cass in 2012 and completed the same master’s degree. Faris is currently the head of Employee Benefits at Lockton MENA. Obviously, the list continues… In 2016, Zainab, their sister, also joined Cass. Zainab had a similar background to mine where, despite her bachelor’s in linguistics, she decided to venture into the world of insurance. She joined Liberty Specialty Markets in London, around two years ago, in an underwriting assistant role for the Strategic Assets team.

During my phase of confusion, Zainab spent hours talking to me about the beauty of the insurance industry. She described it as “the field that offers you something new every day, the field that challenges your analytical abilities and forces you to think about the unthinkable.” She helped me overcome the misconceptions and helped me acquire a clearer vision of what I wanted. That’s how the fifth member of the Khatib family joined Cass, as I am currently doing my MSc in Insurance and Risk Management.

Faris, Ata and Wael El Khatib

If it wasn’t for my uncle, I wouldn’t be where I am at right now. He encouraged me to join Cass and supported me in every way. They all told me about the strength of Cass’s education system, their remarkable memories at Cass and the unbreakable friendships that they developed. Hence, I knew that Cass was the place to be. There was always a common story that I heard, a story that described my family’s respect towards our professor, Chris Parsons. Professor Parsons managed to teach every member of my family. In the span of 20 years, he met the father, the sons, the daughter and the niece! Which is crazy if you think about it…

Zainab Khatib’s graduation

I am currently creating my own Cass experience, which so far has been indescribable. Not only have I acquired a new family that is so diverse and caring, I am discovering a world that I had no idea existed. Although I am leaning more towards Risk Management at this point, I am enjoying every aspect of the programme. I can’t deny it, it can be challenging sometimes, but I am definitely receiving the appropriate support and knowledge from my professors to help me overcome the obstacles. It is safe to say that my vision of what I want to do after my master’s is becoming clearer. But for the time being, I am planning to take my time in developing this vision. Every day I am learning something new, every day I am falling in love with a different aspect of this field. But, I am sure that Cass will eventually direct me towards establishing my vision.

 

Reem El-Khatib, MSc Insurance and Risk Management (2019)

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