There are many roles you can pursue as an actuary; Find out more about what a Senior Analyst at Willis Towers Watson does here…
I have worked in the General Insurance practice of a large consultancy firm for four years working on a wide range of different projects in that time.
Most of the work that I do centres on reserving projects. This involves looking at the claims that an insurer has received and projecting those into the future; to estimate the total claims that the insurer will receive and when they will receive them. This enables the client to know how much money they need to put aside to pay those claims as well as giving an indication of how profitable the policies they have written will be. I mostly work on niche types of insurance such as cargo ships, aircraft or even space insurance. As London is such a hub for this type of business you get to hear about interesting things that occur all over the world.
Much of the work that I do involves dealing with large volumes of data which need to be analysed. During the first couple of years much of the work that I was doing involved processing this data; applying statistical techniques and preparing documents to be sent to the client. This involved regularly speaking to clients about the data to gain a better understanding of it. This included discussing how the business had changed since we last spoke to them or any large catastrophes that may have occurred.
As my career has progressed there has been more focus on the judgemental aspect of the job, making the selections used in the models to accurately predict the future claims as well as an increase in the amount of project management undertaken. This involves a lot more day to day contact with the clients; not just the actuarial team but underwriters and claims handling teams as well. I often spend time in meetings with clients getting to know their needs and then presenting results to them.
Product development is also an important part of the job. The tools and software that we have is what draws clients to work with us; so it is important that we are always on top of industry hot topics and creating innovative solutions to issues as they emerge within the industry. This may mean getting involved in designing a new piece of software or creating an analysis of an industry as a whole. An example I have worked on over the last four years is an annual snapshot of the motor industry; which highlights a wide variety of issues that the industry is facing or may face in the future from whiplash claims to driverless cars.
I work with teams all over the world including across Europe and in India. Through working for a multinational organisation there are opportunities to work with colleagues and clients across the globe. There is also some scope for travel either in our office locations across the world or to work on secondment at a client’s office. During my time with the business I have had the opportunity to attend conferences in Paris and Lisbon.
I have also had the opportunity to work with some of the largest insurers in the UK; putting together pricing models to enable them to set premium for their household and motor business. This involves looking at huge quantities of data to determine what it is that makes a person more risky and creating innovative data items which capture this.
I came into the job after having completed a six week internship with the same company; which gave me an excellent insight into the company and the type of work that I would be expected to do. This was an experience that I thoroughly enjoyed and something that I would strongly recommend; if you are interested in the actuarial profession.
I would say that the biggest challenge is getting the balance of study whilst working full time. The exams are tough and sometime work commitments can get in the way of your preparation; but the company that I work for is very supportive in allowing you time and resources to study.