Tag: MSc Actuarial Science

AIR-Q Insuretech 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 insuretech, which is a very pertinent issue within the insurance space. The event brings together students from the Actuarial and 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.

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

Speakers illustrated how the sector is already changing. For example, the US-based insuretech 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 insuretech 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 insuretech though. Insuretech 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 insuretech. 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 Vodicka (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.

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)
Co-President,  AIR-Q Society 2019

From Joburg to London: life as a master’s student

Nderitu Ndegwa, MSc Actuarial Management (2019)

My name is Nderitu Ndegwa. I was born in Kenya, raised in Botswana and studied Actuarial Science and Mathematical Statistics in South Africa. Thereafter, I worked as a Senior Actuarial Analyst at Deloitte in Johannesburg, South Africa.

I chose Cass Business School as I wanted to improve upon my leadership skills. I currently serve as the President of the Actuarial, Insurance, Risk and Quants (AIR-Q) Society.

My time at the Cass Business School has been challenging but amazing. The UK is the first European country I have visited independently. I experienced some culture shock at first, but the student diversity that exists here made me feel at home, as I discovered my peer group is partly comprised of Kenyans, alongside Chinese and Indian students, too. Studying with such a varied group of students has allowed me to learn more about different cultures and perspectives.

A positive attitude, I believe, helps one overcome any challenges or obstacles in one’s path. I believe that any student who has ambition and drive will be able to resolve anything; the students coming out of Cass Business School are future game-changers!

In the near future, AIR-Q Society will host both a Sports Day and a Casino Night. The Casino Night will see members use their skills collaboratively to win a Casino game. Alongside my fellow Actuaries, I hope to make a positive impact during my year at Cass Business School.

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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