FOR THE MODERN ACTUARY FEBRUARY 2021
Jill Gallagher Stars of the Future 2021 Winner
PLUS: ALL THE OTHER STARS OF THE FUTURE FINALISTS INCLUDING KYALO BURT-FULCHER AND DWEENISHA CALEECHURN
SEE EXCLUSIVE ROLES WITH STAR ACTUARIAL ON PAGE 2
PLEASE CONTACT US TO DISCUSS OUR CURRENT VACANCIES OR FOR EXPERT ADVICE TO HELP YOU ACHIEVE YOUR CAREER GOALS
LLOYD’S PRICING ACTUARY
SPECIALTY LINES PRICING ACTUARY
London Market Syndicate
NON-LIFE NORTH/ SOUTH EAST / REMOTE STAR6548
NON-LIFE REMOTE WOKRING / LONDON
Develop and implement a pricing-focused data science strategy, to drive increased competitive advantage. You will lead the development of predictive models, considering all of the opportunities that can be leveraged.
Move into an exciting and varied role, focusing on developing and optimising pricing capabilities. Strong pricing and project management skills are required, and reserving and capital experience would be an advantage.
Our client is seeking a commercial lines pricing expert to join its growing team. You will have a proactive approach, sound actuarial judgement, and strong analytical and IT skills.
TECHNICAL RISK SPECIALIST
Part-Qualified / Qualified
Household Name Insurer
NON-LIFE SOUTH EAST
We are working with a number of consultancies looking to strengthen their teams with talented candidates who bring a track record of delivery in transformation and process improvement projects.
Seeking a risk specialist with a non-life background and varied experience across industry. Working with a team of experts, you will use your strong technical background to contribute through leadership and mentorship.
Deliver accurate and relevant statistical models of claims experience, business volumes and price elasticity, utilising appropriate techniques, including GLMs and machine learning. LONGEVITY ACTUARY
RESERVING & CAPITAL MANAGER
Part-Qualified / Qualified
NON-LIFE SOUTH EAST
LIFE LONDON / AGILE WORKING
An excellent opportunity to lead and develop our client’s reserving process, managing capital requirement assessments and making relevant recommendations to senior stakeholders.
Take up a key role, covering many non-actuarial aspects (e.g. Big Data), alongside pricing for individual annuities, modelling analyses (using GLMs and Machine Learning), and projects such as reinsurance strategy implementation.
Take the lead on the proposition development for our client’s longevity markets. In this key role, you will own the identification of, and basis development for, attractive international longevity markets with new opportunities.
ALM - FIXED TERM CONTRACT
Part-Qualified / Qualified
Financial Services Leader
LIFE LONDON / HOME WORKING
Financial Services Group
INVESTMENT LIFE LONDON / SOUTH EAST STAR6557
A fantastic role, working on market-leading projects, consulting on key strategic issues, and creating innovative commercial insights. You will adapt methods and practices, as required, and contribute to thought leadership.
Use your technical expertise to support product development projects, drive bespoke pricing and distribution activity, and develop analysts in the team.
Support our client’s Asset Management team and With-Profits Actuary. You will monitor the ALM position to ensure matching and consider the asset strategies for the With-Profits Fund. 12-month duration.
INVESTMENTS & MARKET RISK
SENIOR DC INVESTMENT CONSULTANT
CORPORATE PENSIONS ACTUARY
Qualified / CFA
INVESTMENT LIFE RISK SOUTH EAST / AGILE STAR6435
INVESTMENT PENSIONS LONDON
Build on your investment risk experience and take responsibility for the ALM analysis of our client’s UK portfolio, maintaining the liquidity plan and monitoring the emerging cash position.
A key role, requiring a solid understanding of current and upcoming Responsible Investment (RI) regulation and its impact on DC schemes. You will develop RI reporting, whilst supporting ongoing DC climate strategy modelling.
Part-Qualified / Qualified
Take your career to the next level with a growing consultancy. Building on your existing skills and experience, you will work closely with a Director to deliver a wide-range of bespoke solutions.
Antony Buxton FIA
Irene Paterson FFA
Lance Randles MBA PARTNER
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EDITORS NOTE As this lockdown continues we can at least continue to provide good news once again in this edition of the magazine by congratulating Jill Gallagher from Hymans Robertson as the winner of our Stars of the Future award, once again proudly sponsored by Star Actuarial Futures. Special mention must also go to Kyalo Burt-Fulcher and Dweenisha Caleechurn in an extraordinary close contest not just for the top three but across all of the nominees. We also have Helen Galey from Willis Towers Watson looking at the risks facing the Olympics in Tokyo 2021 and we have Dave Garratt from Duck Creek Technologies as he shines the spotlight on the growing global disparity in technology adoption. As ever our regular authors contribute more interesting and insightful articles for you to peruse. We trust you enjoy the magazine and we look forward to welcoming you back again next month
- Jennifer Redwood
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Movers & Shakers
Features Stars of the Future Finalists
Tokyo’s Olympic Risks
Tait’s Modern Pension
The Winds of Change
Lights, Camera, Actuary
What can we learn from the FCA Business Interruption case In this article we consider the impact of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) test case on business interruption (BI) insurance. In 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic spread throughout the world, causing unprecedented
disruption. The pandemic exposed BI insurance coverage issues, ending up in the Supreme Court. For insurers, managing the fallout from this crisis is key to their future success. By Wendy Kriz, IFoA, Senior Consulting
PPF consults on changes to actuarial assumptions The PPF has launched a consultation on its proposals to change the actuarial assumptions under section 143 valuations (PPF assessment valuations) and section 179 valuations (PPF levy valuations). A recent review of the valuation assumptions showed they need updating to align with pricing in the bulk annuity market. The PPF is proposing several changes to bring these assumptions in line with the current market pricing: READ MORE
Actuary and Wan Hsien Heah, FIA CERA, Principal and Consultant at Barnett Waddingham. FCA test case: what happened? From June to September 2020, the FCA argued a test case covering 21 BI policy wordings at the High READ MORE
Pensions Schemes Bill receives Royal Assent Comments from TPR, Aon and Hymans Robertson on the Pension Schemes Bill receiving Royal Assent The Pension Regulator’s (TPR’s) Chief Executive, Charles Counsell, welcomed the Pensions Schemes Bill receiving its Royal Assent. He said: “The Pension Schemes Act 2021 provides a strong package of measures to further protect UK pension savers. We are extremely pleased to see it become law and have worked closely with the Department for Work and Pensions to develop effective
proposals that will make a real difference to savers. “Through the new Act, we will build on our clear, quick and tough approach to drive better standards across the pension schemes we regulate and ensure savers are treated fairly by employers. “The Act gives us new powers to act against unscrupulous employers and enhances our ability to gather information more READ MORE
NEWS UK vaccine rollout will see markets recover and GDP increase Despite market volatility and significant disparities between markets, a senior investment consultant for one of the UK’s leading actuarial and pension consulting firms has stressed that with the continuing effective vaccination rollout, we can confidently expect GDP to bounce back and will see a strong robust economic recovery. Paul Francis, Principal Investment Consultant at Quantum Advisory, was speaking at Quantum’s latest ‘Pensions for Brunch’ webinar which features key insights into selected topical issues affecting the pension and investment industry. Paul opened the event by outlining the READ MORE
Prior to Covid a pandemic crisis was not a top 10 risk
Mixed state of cyber security among UK pension schemes
risks. Enterprise risk management strategies and management teams were therefore unable to rapidly respond to the threat of the pandemic and, when it hit, their risk infrastructure struggled to cope with the initial response.
Aon have released ‘Cyber Threats to Corporate Pension Schemes’, a new survey drawn from information included in Aon’s Pension Cyber Scorecard. It shows the mixed state of cyber resilience and maturity across the UK’s pension schemes.
Aon’s report identified differences in how businesses have responded regionally; prior to COVID-19, less than 30% of respondents in EMEA had a pandemic plan in place, similar to North America at 31%, but contrasting to 52% of respondents in APAC. Notably, organisations in APAC had built more robust pandemic READ MORE
The new report was compiled from the individual assessments of over 100 pension schemes, ranging in size from under £10 million to over £10 billion. It includes greater representation of large schemes (40% had assets of more than £1 billion), which reflects how larger schemes have responded more quickly to dealing with the issue of cyber threats - but READ MORE
Aon have released a global survey, ‘Reprioritizing Risk and Resilience For a Post-COVID-19 Future’, finding that COVID-19 has shown that it will be imperative for businesses to reprioritise risk and to innovate and explore new risk management strategies. Aon’s global report finds that 82% of respondents said, prior to COVID-19, a pandemic or other major health crisis was not a top 10 risk on their organisation’s risk register. At the time of Aon’s Global Risk Management Survey in 2019, pandemic risk was ranked 60 out of 69 identified
MOVERS & SHAKERS The latest moves and appointments from the actuarial marketplace MS Amlin Underwriting appoints CRO and Chief Actuary
PTL appoint Actuary Joanne Fairburn as Client Director
MS Amlin Underwriting Limited (MS AUL), the speciality Lloyd’s (re)insurer, have announced the appointment of Vishal Desai as Chief Risk Officer and Catherine Scullion as Chief Actuary, subject to regulatory approval. Desai, who will report into Johan Slabbert, CEO of MS AUL, brings over 18 years’ general insurance industry experience, both in the U.K and internationally from UBS, PwC and Hiscox. He joins MS AUL from the Bank of England where he holds the role of Acting Head of Division General Insurance Risk Specialists & Chief Actuary. He is an established member of the senior leadership team, holding the specific Risk and Actuarial responsibility for London Market (including Lloyd’s of London) Retail and Groups firm supervision. He has led extensive review work across both wholesale and retail general insurance businesses across risk management, reserving, capital and underwriting. READ MORE
Colin Williams to be new MD Pensions and Savings at Phoenix
PTL continues team growth with the first new hire of 2021, Client Director Joanne Fairbairn. Richard Butcher, Managing Director at PTL, commented: “In these challenging times, a resilient and dynamic team has never been more important. Joanne is an accomplished pension professional and an excellent addition to the PTL team. She brings extensive experience, gained both as an adviser and in-house, and a commitment to innovation and high standards of governance.
PLSA Policy Board appoints six new members The Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) has appointed six new members to its Policy Board, following a comprehensive selection process. Joining the Policy Board are: RPMI’s John Chilman, HSBC Pension Trust’s Lisa Young-Harry, Aon’s Paul McGlone, Phil Brown from The People’s Pension, Sarah Luheshi from the Pensions Policy Institute and JP Morgan Asset Management’s Sorca Kelly-Scholte. Formed in 2018, the PLSA Policy Board guides and decides on the PLSA’s public policy positions, with a remit stretching across all PLSA policy work on pensions and lifetime savings. Its goal is to shape the policy agenda for all aspects of retirement income. READ MORE
“At PTL we aim to approach the challenges facing our clients and the pensions industry with creativity and resourcefulness. Joanne’s track record of significant change initiatives at READ MORE
Phoenix Group announces the appointment of Colin Williams as Managing Director, Pensions and Savings. The appointment signals the strong foundations the firm is putting in place, as it continues to grow a strong
and sustainable business that will help even more people on their journey to and through retirement. Colin Williams has more than 28 years of executive experience within the industry and has been
leading retirement savings businesses since 2001. Most recently Colin served as Managing Director of Aviva’s Workplace Savings and Retirement business and its Financial Advice business, and played an READ MORE
CITY DEALINGS Keeping up to date on acquisitions, mergers and the dealings of companies in the city L and G announce PPF plus transaction with Mowlem Pension Legal & General has agreed a £150 million PPF+ buyout transaction with the Trustee of the Mowlem (1993) Pension Scheme (“the Scheme”), securing the benefits of over 360 deferred members and 650 retirees. The transaction follows the liquidation of its sponsor, Sovereign Hospital Services Limited, part of the Carillion Group. The Scheme entered Pension Protection Fund (PPF) assessment in February 2018 following the liquidation of its sponsor, Sovereign Hospital Services Limited, which was part of the Carillion Group. This transaction will enable the Trustee to secure benefits with Legal & General that are greater than those which would have been provided by the PPF. READ MORE
Rothesay secure LGPS policy with Aberdeen City Council XPS PENSIONS GROUP APPOINTED BY MITCHELLS & BUTLERS
Rothesay, the largest specialist annuity provider in the UK, is pleased to announce that it has completed a £230m pensioner buy-in transaction with the Aberdeen City Council Transport Fund (“The Fund”). The transaction insures the pension payments of 1,360 retired FirstGroup employees through a pensioneronly buy-in. The buy-in is the Fund’s first insurance transaction, securing £230m of its c£300m of pension liabilities. The Aberdeen City Council Transport Fund is only the second Local Government Pension Scheme to secure its pension obligations through an insurance policy. READ MORE
Faith Dickson, Partner, Sackers said:
“It was great to work with ITS and Mercer on this, using our combined experience to achieve such a good outcome for members. A big thank you too to Legal and General for their practical approach to getting the deal done.”
MetLife completes longevity reinsurance deal with L and G Metropolitan Tower Life Insurance Company, a subsidiary of MetLife, Inc. (“MetLife”), announced today it has completed four United Kingdom longevity reinsurance transactions with Legal & General Assurance Society Limited (“Legal & General”) in 2020. “Legal & General is a market leader in the U.K. bulk annuity space and we are pleased they have selected MetLife to reinsure these obligations,” said Jay Wang, senior vice president and head of Risk Solutions at MetLife’s Retirement & Income Solutions business. READ MORE
2021 STARS OF THE FU SPONSORED BY Star Actuarial Future
Message from our Sponsors Star Actuarial Futures It is a great pleasure to sponsor the Actuarial Post Stars of the Future Award. This award provides an excellent platform to showcase the emerging stars of the actuarial profession. We would like to offer our congratulations to all of the nominees, wishing them all the best in their future careers. In particular, we would like to congratulate this year’s winner Jill Gallagher for coming top of this allstar poll and with the voting this year being so close a further mention must be made for Kyalo Burt-Fulcher and Dweenisha Caleechurn who came so close to winning.
2021 STARS OF THE FUTURE WINNER Jill Gallagher
I was so delighted to make the shortlist for this year’s Actuarial Post ‘Stars of the Future’ award. I never expected to win! Thank you so much to everyone who took the time to vote. I really do appreciate it. A special thank you to my mystery nominator who kindly took the time to propose me for this award. I’d love to say that I always dreamed of becoming an actuary. However, I had no idea what an actuary was as a child. I bet most of my friends and family reading this article still have no idea what an actuary is (we’ll get there one day!). I was first intrigued by the actuarial profession when I heard a consulting actuary’s presentation at a university careers fair. I liked idea that I could combine my aptitude for maths, economics and statistics with my softer skills (those who know me will know that I enjoy a blether!). Fast forward to 2012 and I was thrilled to join Hymans Robertson as a trainee actuarial consultant. The firm’s four values – friendly, partnering, confident and straightforward – resonated with me and they really do underpin everything that we do. My core role involves providing pensions advice to of clients were mostly trustees of defined benefit (DB) pension schemes open to new members. For example, pension schemes in the university sector and pension schemes where the sponsoring employer is a non-departmental public body. As such, I decided to specialise in that area. Whilst the number of open DB pension schemes are declining, they are still out there and I enjoy the challenge of finding new and innovative ways to keep DB pension schemes secure and sustainable for future generations. 2020 has been a particularly challenging year for everyone. I appreciate that I am extremely fortunate to have been able to continue to work throughout these unprecedented times. We have all adjusted well to the remote working environment presented by the pandemic and I’m pleased that we could continue to offer a great personalised service when unable to meet our clients in person. I must admit, whilst there are many benefits to the virtual meeting environment, I’m looking forward to having faceto-face meetings with colleagues, clients and pension scheme members in the not too distant future. After all, this is what I enjoy most about my job. My next actuarial challenge is to achieve my Scheme Actuary certificate. My next non-actuarial challenge is to complete a Six by Nico six course masterclass within six hours (easier said than done!). Finally, I would like to congratulate all of the other candidates for this fantastic achievement. Thanks again to the Actuarial Post, Star Actuarial Futures and to all of those who voted.
I am very flattered to be recognised by the Actuarial Post, and incredibly grateful to everyone who voted for me. This is not at all the sort of thing I would have expected. That said, I wouldn’t have predicted much of how my career has gone so far. Like so many of us, I never intended to become an actuary - I hardly knew what one was until I was applying to graduate jobs. After leaving university in 2010, I spent the next two years travelling and working a number of roles including at the homelessness charity St Mungo’s, and in the office of an MP. It was only in 2012 that started at Towers Watson, and I joined Deloitte in 2015. These days, my clients range from ambitious, growing businesses, seeking to understand the level of contributions that will be required by their next acquisition’s DB scheme; to some of the largest pension schemes in the country, looking to provide security for tens of thousands of workers. Not only has Deloitte provided me with the chance to work for some of the highest
2021 STARS OF THE FUTURE
2 Kyalo Burt-Fulcher profile clients and transactions, but my line manager and mentor is newly-crowned Actuary of the Year, Michael Ingram. That said, you do have to be careful not to mention GMP equalisation in front of him - you can get stuck in that conversation for hours… I have come to realise that I was very lucky to fall into pensions work. The UK pensions landscape, probably the most complex in the world, never fails to provide intellectual stimulation. Moreover, you don’t need an actuarial table to know that it will be hugely relevant to almost all of our lives. In my view, when it comes to an issue both as important, and at times as labyrinthine, it is critical that the experts (i.e. us pensions actuaries) contribute fully to public discourse. With this in mind, I now lead on pensions for the Fabian Society think tank’s Economy and Finance Policy Group. We are currently organising a “Pensions in 2021” webinar series, which aims to examine the state of the UK pension system, and what reforms may be necessary in the coming years. First up is “Pensions and the Pandemic” (7pm, 23 Feb), and I’m very excited to be chairing a panel featuring the likes of Stephen Timms MP and Josephine Cumbo. If you’re interested in helping to guide the conversation on pensions reform, you can register for this, and other upcoming events, on Eventbrite. Hopefully by getting together like this we can kick-start a new generation of civic-minded actuaries!
2021 STARS OF THE FUTURE
It is such an honour to win this award. So thank you to the Actuarial Post. And I would like to especially thank whoever nominated me and all my family, friends and colleagues for taking the time to vote for me. I have to say that they have been great campaign managers and it has been heart-warming to see such support. I am originally from the beautiful island of Mauritius and my love for mathematics brought me to the UK. I came first in the world in mathematics at A-level and attended university here for actuarial studies. I am now an actuary in EY’s Pension Consulting team and throughout my career so far, I have had the great opportunity to advise on all sizes of pension schemes (from £5 million to £50 billion). I work across all areas of pension risk transfer and have been heavily involved in building EY’s solution in this area. I really enjoy the work I do, helping my clients achieve the best outcome for their pension scheme members. The best thing about EY is the people. It’s a very human organisation, with a vibrant and diverse culture. And of course, there are so many interesting projects to get involved with multinational clients.
One of my proudest moment so far (on top of the Actuarial Post awards of course!) has been winning ‘Highly commended’ for Adviser of the Year at the Professional Pensions Women in Pensions award. I feel it’s really important for women to meet and get inspired by other female role models, their journeys and their success stories. Which is why I am also on EY’s committee for Women in Pensions. It is open to all women in the industry and is a great forum to come together and discuss anything from RPI to home-schooling. I have recently also been on the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries’ Working Party on Pension Schemes Endgame and have collaborated with industry peers in drafting a paper which is being published in the British Actuarial Journal. It gives me immense pleasure to volunteer for the profession in this way and help shape the future of the UK pensions landscape. The actuarial field is extremely rewarding and constantly evolving. There are also plenty of opportunities to give back to the profession such as volunteering, and I would really encourage all actuaries to do so if they are able to.
4 Christian Ah-See An investment analyst and junior consultant at Barnett Waddingham, working mainly on DB pensions but with some DC and other interesting projects. After a most enjoyable internship in the summer of 2017, I got my first permanent position i in 2018 (so have only been at it for 2.5 years). Prior to this I graduated from the University of St Andrews with a first in maths and economics. 2020 was a challenging year for everyone - but these challenges shouldn’t stop us from delivering great actuarial work. I think overcoming challenges is how we truly succeed as professionals. During the year I continued my progress through the actuarial exams while working on some really exciting projects, including developing a new options-pricing inflation model to value LPI benefits and setting out a journey planning framework to help schemes meet their long-term funding targets. My responsibility for client work also increased quite steadily, and I found myself on the significant new learning curve of project management while working from home. In my spare time I like to play the piano, violin and (like any true Scotsman) the bagpipes. I also enjoy cooking plant-based food, playing casual basketball and chatting about philosophy with friends and family. AP 18
A wee bit about me, I’m 26 and from a town called Bathgate in Scotland which is in between Glasgow and Edinburgh, but more famously known for being the home of one of the greatest performers this land has ever seen, Susan Boyle. I graduated from the University of St Andrews in 2016 with a degree in maths and physics and then started with Isio (then KPMG’s pensions team) in the same year. I started in the Glasgow office for a year and then made the switch to the big city (i.e. the London office) in 2017 and have worked there ever since. I’ve recently just fully qualified as an actuary as of December 2020 and am still buzzing at the fact I never have to do exams ever again. Some personal things, I’m a big football fan and support Celtic and Scotland of course. In fact, I was recently in a trustee meeting the day after Scotland qualified for the Euros (the first time since 1998) and pretty much had to remain mute the whole time because I’d lost my voice from screaming at the telly the night before! I love cooking and am partial to the odd spin class now and again. Although during lockdown, I’ve tried my hand a bit more at this running malarkey much to the despair of my knees.
Nell works as a senior investment consultant at Hymans Robertson. She leads investment advice for private sector Trustee clients with asset values from £15m to £7bn. She proactively assists those clients understand and manage their investment risks and has a breadth of experience in risk management, including complex LDI solutions and implementing longevity hedging. Most recently, she was involved in the implementation of several buy-ins and the conversion of a longevity swap. She is a believer in integrated risk-management and joined-up working among those within and outside of Hymans, and seeks to promote this collaborative culture in her projects. In addition to her client commitments, Nell chairs the learning and development investment group and is involved in the development of the firm’s climate change analytics capabilities. Outside of work, Nell enjoys keeping active by hill-walking, skiing, and (at the moment…) Zoom based exercises classes. She also has a passion for cooking and baking new recipes (and is now moving beyond the weekly ‘lockdown sourdough’).
I am a qualified actuary working at Isio, which was formerly KPMG’s UK pensions practice. I’ve been lucky enough to have been involved in a massive range of work since joining the firm, including advising trustee and corporate clients in all aspects of pensions consulting, across a wide range of industries. I also sit on Isio’s specialist “Operational Excellence” team which supports trustees and employers in achieving robust governance and improving administration processes, a role which has given me the opportunity to develop market insight on different trustee operating models and structures, and best practice governance policies and procedures. The thing I value most about my role at Isio is the team I get to work with every day. As a firm we pride ourselves on being innovative and bright, but this year has shown me that we’re more than that – it really feels like a family. Having only become Isio in March, we headed straight into a lockdown and working from home has presented extra challenges for everybody. It’s been amazing to be able to group together (albeit virtually!) and support each other. In particular, one of the things I’m passionate about is developing an inclusive and diverse team where everybody is valued for being themselves. Outside of work I enjoying travelling, food and running (to balance out the food). The photo shows me at the 2019 London marathon, which was my third (and slowest!) marathon. Hopefully mass events like this will return soon! AP 21
8 Jess Horner Jess is a consultant in LCP’s Pension Actuarial practice, having joined the graduate scheme in 2015 and qualifying in 2019. She works with a wide range of both Trustee and Corporate clients, advising them on all aspects of their pension arrangements, including funding valuations, de-risking strategy and pension scheme accounting. Jess works on a number of large schemes which requires an element of project management skill as well as technical pensions advice. This has led to involvement in numerous de-risking exercises, including a number of buy-ins, buy-outs, and liability management exercises, helping clients to reach their ultimate long-term objectives. Jess is also involved in valuing share option exercises for company accounts. On top of actuarial work Jess is co-chair to LCP’s LGBT+ Network, who ensure LCP is an inclusive place to work through knowledge sharing, awareness raising and social events for both LCP and the wider pensions industry network. AP 22
I am a Manager in EY’s Life Actuarial team. My particular passion is helping financial services firms and the actuarial profession to better understand climate risk, transition to a low carbon economy, and contribute to positive societal change. I lead our Sustainable Finance Actuarial team and have spent the majority of the last 2 years helping firms to design their climate risk and ESG strategies, comply with emerging regulatory expectations, and support with achieving net-zero. I am an active member of the IFOA Biodiversity and Natural Capital Working Party, and I’m excited to see what the profession can achieve in this emerging area. In addition to my work in Sustainable Finance, career highlights to date include supporting high-profile transactions and restructuring in the UK insurance market, helping firms to design and deploy assets into Solvency II friendly investments (including infrastructure debt, commercial real estate debt and equity release mortgages in particular), and supporting firms with their contingency and resilience planning. Outside of work, you’ll most likely find me cycling, running, or gardening. I’m particularly excited to resume my ambition to cycle my tandem in every county in the UK later in 2021!
I joined Barnett Waddingham as a trainee actuary in the pensions teams, but pensions wasn’t my original plan. Neither was being an actuary for that matter. Growing up I always wanted to be an artist; I was going to move to Japan and illustrate children’s books and comics. Somewhere along the line though I realised I was too risk-averse for that plan... so maybe I really am an actuary at heart! I’d always been good at maths and when I found out a bit more about the actuarial profession it sounded like a great (but reasonably safe) challenge. I am also part of Barnett Waddingham’s PPF Services team and so some of the most challenging but rewarding cases I work on are distressed schemes entering a PPF assessment period, including some high profile cases such as the Bhs Pension Schemes. It’s a real honour to be part of this very high performing team that are all working hard to achieve the best possible outcome for members of schemes facing difficult circumstances. When I’m not in the office (real or virtual) I spend most of my time trying to keep up with my very energetic border collie. And as if 15 actuarial exams weren’t punishment enough, once I finished those I challenged myself to start learning Japanese.
Dan’s actuarial career at Barnett Waddingham started on the Trustee Consulting Team, where he helped to advise the trustees of Defined Benefit pension schemes on funding strategies for their schemes. Over the next couple of years, his interest in the investment aspects of the role grew, and he gradually moved over to the Investment Consulting Team. Since qualifying, Dan continues to enjoy the wide range of challenges and opportunities that he is faced with as an Investment Actuary. Dan particularly enjoys helping to set investment strategies for different investors, from pension schemes to university endowment funds. Achieving a well-rounded investment strategy involves balancing many conflicting objectives, which presents an interesting challenge that is different every time. Outside of work, Dan enjoys keeping fit with a variety of sports and listening to music. AP 25
Ruth joined Willis Towers Watson in 2014, having graduated with a degree in Mathematics from the University of Cambridge. Being an actuary appealed because it gave Ruth the opportunity to use her problem-solving skills in a client-facing environment. In the last six years Ruth has worked on a variety of pension schemes, from financial institutions to household brands. She has been giving support to trustees and sponsoring employers in projects ranging from regular pension scheme valuations and accounting to one-off liability management exercises and sustainable investment. Since qualifying as a pensions actuary in 2018 and CERA in 2019, she has been a line and operations manager, supporting her colleagues through the pandemic. Ruth frequently volunteers with the IFoA. During the pandemic she has worked on the IFoA’s COVID-19 Action Taskforce on sustainability issues and before qualifying sat on the Student Consultative Forum, representing the views of actuarial students to the IFoA, influencing policy changes and improving access for students with disabilities. Ruth is also a committee member on WTW’s disability network, helping to run campaigns to improve awareness and support for mental health and disability issues.In her spare time Ruth plays the oboe in an orchestra in North London and is a keen recorder player. AP 26
Hugo is an Investment Actuary working in Barnett Waddingham’s London office, having joined the company as a graduate in 2015. His main area of interest is in improving outcomes for members. For instance, his experience includes: designing bespoke strategies to target buy-in transactions for DB schemes at risk of falling into the PPF; and, recognising the significance of ESG and climate risks for DC member outcomes. He is looking forward to being part of the actuarial industry’s efforts to improve member outcomes further by helping trustees to navigate the broad range of investment risks facing them, including by understanding risk from the members’ perspective. Outside of work, Hugo enjoys sport (in particular, cricket and football) and spending time with his friends and family.
After graduating from Oxford in 2013, I’ve been working in Pensions Actuarial for LCP in Winchester. In anticipation of qualifying in 2018 I started an online MBA, which I completed in 2019. As a glutton for punishment, I’m now pursuing a speciality in removing inequalities arising from GMP (otherwise known as “GMP Equalisation” for the less pedantic among you). I’m a big believer in work-life balance, and switched to working part-time in order to better manage my health conditions and increase my charitable work. LCP offers great support with this, with their volunteering policy and the launch of LCP Foundation earlier this year. I work on a small team that has raised over £13,000 for charity over 2019 to date, and helped staff further their fundraising and volunteering too.
I joined the Finance team at Aegon UK in 2014 after graduating with a Mathematics degree from The University of Edinburgh. I have worked there ever since and over that time have gained a lot of experience in various aspects of Life Insurance business. My current role as a Reporting Actuary revolves around Solvency II, contributing to actual results submitted to our Group (Aegon N.V.) and estimating our solvency position to aid decisionmaking within the company. The highlight of my career so far has definitely been qualifying as a Fellow in 2018. It was a goal I had worked towards since being at school so it was great to finally say I had achieved that. After gaining back some of my free time away from studying, I decided to take up golf – it’s not always enjoyable to end up in the long grass but at least there’s plenty of scope for improvement.
I work as a Manager in EY’s Life Actuarial team, having joined the firm as a graduate in September 2014. Throughout my time at EY, I’ve worked on a wide variety of projects across topics including Solvency II, investments and modelling. Most recently I have been managing the actuarial team on the audit of one of our new insurance clients. This has been an exciting challenge as it has involved developing a strong understanding of a new insurer. Alongside my client work, I mentor a number of junior members of my team. I find this particularly fulfilling as it allows me to draw upon my own experience to support the development of others. I’m also heavily involved in driving the innovation agenda within our actuarial team. In particular, a colleague and I recently won a firm-wide innovation challenge, receiving funding to develop the idea which we pitched to a panel of senior members of the firm. Outside of work, you’ll most likely find me playing badminton, running or gokarting. I’m a fan of Formula 1 and definitely channel my inner F1 driver on the go-kart track! AP 30
I am a consultant and qualified actuary working in the pensions insurance derisking team at LCP. I help advice clients on how to reduce their longevity risk through buy-ins, buy-outs and longevity swaps. I have worked on a number of successful deals since joining LCP including the ICI buy-ins. I have experience working with a number of Trustee and corporate clients covering traditional pensions advise and I’m also part of LCP’s software development team.
I am a consultant in LCP’s Pension Actuarial practice, having joined LCP’s graduate programme in 2015 and qualified as an actuary in 2018. I work with both Trustee and Corporate clients, ranging from in size from sub £50m to £10bn plus, advising them on all aspects of their pension arrangements, including funding valuations, de-risking strategy and pension scheme accounting. As a member of LCP’s specialist de-risking team, I have helped a number of schemes manage their longevity risk through buy-ins and buy-outs. Key transactions I have worked on include Tate and Lyle’s £930m full buy-in in 2019, and the PPF+ full buy-in secured by the Countrywide Farmers RBS in 2020. In my spare time I enjoy playing and following various sports, I’m currently training for my first Ironman triathlon later this year.
Alex joined KPMG’s pensions team in Glasgow as a graduate in 2014 and qualified in December 2018. Alex spends most of his time advising a wide range of trustee clients and is working towards getting his Scheme Actuary certificate. Outside of the office Alex has been involved in promoting actuarial work to university and high school students. He has presented several times at the Highland Maths Weekend for final year high school students and is currently supporting Strathclyde University with their masters degree in actuarial sciences. Last summer he proposed and co-supervised the project of one of the MSc students, based on the new scheme funding code. Alex has also been part of the IFoA’s Student Consultative Forum, representing the views of Glasgow students on actuarial exams directly to the IFoA. He also currently marks some of the early subject assignments for ActEd. Alex has also been heavily involved in CSR activities, such as running quiz nights for staff and clients. Other less conventional CSR activities have involved dribbling a football from Glasgow to Falkirk and climbing up and down stairs equal in height to Kilimanjaro. AP 33
TOKYO 2021: THE RISK FACING THE OLYMPICS
by Helene Galy, Director Willis Research Network Willis Towers Watson Since the revival of the modern Games in 1896, the Olympics have had to cope with a range of risks. From financial, security, sporting, and reputational risks to diplomatic incidents and war. In 2020, that list expanded when the Tokyo Games was postponed due to COVID-19.
Tokyo may not want to accept the risk of an influx of people on top of managing their own national situation. The pandemic has also reduced the enthusiasm of residents to host the event, a recent poll2 showing only 24% in Japan look forward to the Olympics.
Any catastrophic event impacting the Olympic Games has the potential to result in high-impact, long-term consequences for the cities that host them. People, infrastructure and entire supply chains are at stake. Forcing the Tokyo Olympics to be postponed by a year, the COVID-19 pandemic has stolen the risk limelight, but it remains as vital as ever to remember the wider risk landscape.
There are other people risks to consider. Ever since the 1972 Munich Olympics, where terrorists kidnapped and killed Israeli athletes, crowded spaces like sporting and entertainment venues have become targets for international and domestic terrorists. In the latest Cambridge Centre for Risk Studies City Risk index, Tokyo comes top by risk exposure, with Interstate Conflict listed as the top potential loss driver.
People risks Olympic Games typically involve a large population influx from various countries to a city, in this case, Tokyo, already one of the largest cities in the world. How will this work in a COVID-19 world, where physical distancing is set to be recommended for a long time? A recent government survey showed only 0.1% of Tokyo residents have coronavirus antibodies. That is much lower than 14% in the state of New York in April, and 7% in Stockholm1. The citizens of
The multiple layers of security (including police, military and private security) will rely heavily on technology, not least to coordinate their activities. These will be the first Olympics to make use of facial recognition technology to assist with risk management and identification. Technology risks With such a high-profile event, security must be ultra-tight and cybersecurity in particular is a major concern. Due to their operational requirements,
scale and scope, Olympics events have potential to trigger complex second order effects, and cyberattackers have grown increasingly ambitious as organisers have embraced digitalisation. At the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, suspected state-sponsored hackers carried out extensive campaigns with TV signals disrupted, the games website crashing and ticket sales disrupted. Russia was thought to be involved in those attacks and earlier this year Japan’s National Intelligence Agency issued a stark warning on the possibilities of statesponsored attack at the Summer Games. Earth risks Earthquake risk is a top concern for Tokyo. The region sits at the intersection of the Pacific and Philippine Sea tectonic plates being pushed under Eurasia and forming the Itoigawa-Shizuoka Tectonic Line (ISTL). Given the structural dynamics, megathrust earthquakes along these boundaries are a common driver of risk discussions for the region. However, recent swarm activity in the Tokyo area, can be interpreted in two ways. A simple view is that an increase in smaller earthquake activity leads to higher chances of a big one. However, a seismic creep could also be an indication that fault stress is being reduced in the region. Whatever the impact, the immediate response strategy remains the same. Japan already has strict building codes governing construction and engineering and many Olympic venues will sport ‘earthquake-ready’ designs aimed at decreasing damage by spreading the shock to a building across ‘seismic isolation bearings’. Drills and evacuation exercises aimed at supporting fast and efficient emergency plans have been held and extra time should allow organisers to identify further improvements in response strategies. Weather and climate risks The first Olympics to experience heat stress issues were the 1912 Stockholm Games, where temperatures reached 32 degrees Celsius in the shade and resulted in half the marathon runners failing to complete the race. Only two years ago, the record-breaking summer heatwaves in 2018 led to the deaths of over 1,000 people in Japan. Similar heatwaves from that year have been studied in the UK, with research suggesting record-breaking temperatures are now increasingly likely due to human-induced global warming. Japan’s average temperatures are virtually certain to be rising at a rate of 1.21 degrees Celsius per century, compared to the global rate of 0.73 degrees Celsius per century (calculated by the Japan Meteorological Agency3). While fine and sunny weather will help the Games run smoothly, this increased risk of serious and deadly heatwaves is an important consideration to add to other weather 1. 2. 3.
and climate risks such as typhoons and extreme rainfall. Whether contingency plans must be enacted due to heatwaves, or extreme weather leads damage to infrastructure or venues, there could be a substantial financial impact, and risk transfer options will have been considered. Flood risks During the 2012 London Olympics, the tube link to Stratford in east London was closed after a water main flooded the tracks of the Central line, which connects the West End and City to the Olympic Park, raising concerns about the resilience of London’s transport network. Flooding issues were also seen in Russia in the run up to the Sochi Winter Olympics, when flash floods caused massive disruption to the preparations. An estimated 2,000 workers were required to clean up the mess. Japan has committed to large scale infrastructure projects, hoping that the Tokyo Olympic Games leave a long-lasting legacy. The first time Japan hosted the Olympics in 1964 prompted the operations of the first Japanese ‘bullet trains’. In the area of flood resilience, the government has built several state-of-the art flood control structures in Greater Tokyo Metropolitan area, home to more than 37 million people and the most populated megacity in the world. Super levees around the Arakawa River provide protection against major floods, and the massive underground storm water storage facility that forms part of the Metropolitan Area Outer Underground Discharge Channel is the biggest in the world. Stakeholders across the board are going to need to challenge their thinking and decision-making styles as these Games break from the regulated cycle of audits and check-ins. The reputation risks for all involved have never been higher, and while organisers are already looking at options to simplify the Games there may come a point where the risks exceed their appetite. Conclusion It is still unclear whether the Tokyo Olympics will indeed happen in 2021. The current climate has reminded us that we should always expect the unexpected. Taking extreme events and stress-testing them, whether through quantitative modelling or qualitative scenarios is one way to build resilience to global, complex risks and decide what to do next. As COVID-19 has demonstrated, society has developed in such a way that the impacts of past events are no longer a certain guide for the future, and this event presents an opportunity for all to make changes beyond the organisation of these games, and leverage insights from science to increase their resilience.
https://sportstar.thehindu.com/other-sports/tokyo-olympics-2021-covid-19-pandemic-coronavirus-cases-japan-organising-committee-news/article32042825.ece https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2020/07/342812540942-urgent-59-discontent-with-japan-govt-response-to-pandemic-poll.html https://www.jma.go.jp/jma/en/NMHS/indexe_ccmr.html
Hard Choices In 2021 Where 2020 was largely about sitting tight and not panicking, in 2021 we need to get back to looking at long term returns. Unfortunately for pension savers the outlook has changed significantly from pre-COVID days and they may find themselves in unaccustomed territory. The coronavirus impact Over the last few years our pension clients have been fortunate to have seen some very positive investment returns, often in excess of the projected amounts. As a result, annual reviews have been upbeat and despite warnings that this could not last for ever, it has been relatively easy to demonstrate the value of our advice. In 2021 the consensus view is that long term returns are likely to be significantly lower as both economic growth and corporate earnings remain depressed. As this view is coming to us from a number of different asset managers it must be considered realistic and we have to factor this into our advice. Our firm has therefore taken the decision to revise the investment assumptions used in our cashflow modelling meaning that some clients who have previously been told that their plans were comfortably on track may be hearing different – and unwelcome – news at their next review. This is particularly difficult for clients who are already taking income and may no longer be able to justify the same level of withdrawals, but it also affects accumulation clients who may find themselves having to save more or revise their retirement objectives. Drawdown sustainability We know already that under our new projections some clients will still be able to meet their objectives, some will have to make slight adjustments to their plan, and some will unfortunately find that their pension simply cannot continue to support the level of income they want to take. No client likes to be told that they need to reduce their spending, especially if they have always managed to keep on track before, yet it is sometimes necessary for good financial advisers to say things that they know their clients don’t want to hear. Options The obvious solution for a drawdown plan which is no longer predicted to be sustainable is to reduce income withdrawals, and where clients can do this that is what we will advise them to do. In reality however many of these clients are likely to have
existing commitments which they need to meet and immediately reducing income is not a viable course of action. So what else can be done? Firstly, we can look at other assets. A surprising number of clients still hold significant cash reserves even though they are taking money from their pension. A sensible strategy would be to reduce the pension withdrawals and top up with ‘rainy day’ money – this must after all be considered a fairly inclement period for our finances. Top of the list of alternate assets would be money held within cash ISAs or short-term deposit accounts. Longer term deposit account could be used to support income later in the year and other investments could also be used depending on the tax treatment and any timing constraints. In more serious cases it may be time to consider accessing equity from the home, either via downsizing or using equity release. The other main alternative is to revise the investment strategy. Clients with existing capacity for loss may be prepared to increase equity exposure in order to boost potential growth. This is not something that should be done lightly and it is important to take the client’s current attitude to risk into account but this may be acceptable for those with a relatively long term left in retirement during which the potentially greater downside could be ridden out over time. There is of course a way in which to make a higher risk strategy more palatable – by creating a secure income underpin. We still encounter considerable client resistance to annuities however if essential income is covered via partial annuitisation it does provide more scope for the remainder of the portfolio to be invested for growth. Modern retirement products allow clients to hold both an annuity and drawdown within the same plan, and in the case of the Secure Lifetime Income product from JUST the income which is actually withdrawn can still be varied as required. Summary Tempting as it might be, we cannot avoid giving bad news when it occurs and we cannot breeze past it in the hope that things will somehow get better. It is certainly possible that actual investment returns will be better than the ones we are now forecasting but it would be inadvisable to rely on this. Staying on track for a sustainable retirement makes it less likely that even bigger and harder decisions may have to be made later on.
by Fiona Tait Technical Director Intelligent Pensions
RE/INSURERS PUT THE SPOTLIGHT ON CASH MANAGEMENT IN 2021 by Richard Emmett Head of Insurance Services Pro Richard Emmett shines the spotlight on one of the biggest headaches in insurance – unallocated cash
between original insureds, insurers, reinsurers and brokers. The Pro technical accounting experts are often called in at any point in the chain to resolve issues preventing the allocation of cash, many of which we have seen build up significantly over time.
Unallocated cash, uncorrelated cash, unmatched cash, unreconciled cash… whatever you call it, it exists and it is trapped on many underwriters’, re/insurers’ and brokers’ books. And what’s more, it is often a complicated and long-standing There is a fine line between when unallocated cash is ‘expected’ to be resolved to when it issue and will cause significant issues for many develops into a ‘problem’. In most cases, re/ this year if it is not tackled proactively. insurance businesses with high volumes of Cash management is rarely a headline topic transactions will tend to have unallocated cash in our industry - that is, until something at any given time; this is mainly due to the goes wrong. And as we head in 2021, the dynamics of timing differences and transaction cash management challenges that have often periods. remained hidden in the past at re/insurance A reputational issue for re/insurance businesses, are at risk of being thrown into the spotlight if not resolved proactively. Problems, however, can arise when unallocated Pressures including the ultra low interest rate environment dampening investment returns, increased claims payouts across classes, and higher regulatory and media scrutiny are sharpening re/insurers’ focus on their cash management, which for too long has been seen as a non-urgent issue in an industry that has enjoyed strong cash flows due to its premiumdriven nature.
cash can’t be ‘matched’, and, if left undetected it can become a serious problem, leading to auditing fails, damaging client relationships, and ultimately, the reputation of the business in question, and the industry as a whole. Unallocated cash can also be a legacy issue – either inherited as part of historic mergers and acquisitions, or as part of a legacy system transition.
However, this culture of inefficiency - and at worst complacency - has led to some re/ insurers to stumble across significant volumes of unallocated cash on their books, some of which date back many years.
Whatever the causes, the implications caused by unallocated cash are far reaching. From hindered cashflow forecasting or inaccurate reporting and provisions of bad debt, right through to duplicate payments and late – or even missed – settlements of premiums and claims. Whatever the outcome, the results are detrimental and, to some insurers, somewhat unwisely treated as “part and parcel” of their business.
Swiss Re estimated that 2018 global gross written premiums totalled US$5 trillion, representing a huge volume of cash flowing
Finding the culprit Managing unallocated cash is a compliance requirement and high volumes of uncorrelated cash are seen as a red flag to auditors. Not only does it signify deep-rooted cash management problems, but it highlights control issues. It is therefore vital to identify the causes behind it. When looking into reasons behind unallocated cash issues, it is often the case that multiple causes are discovered. Some of these can be simple to identify, such as manual cash to ledger matching, incorrect technical processing, or tax refunds from underwriters. Structural causes, however, can be more technically and procedurally complex to solve. Factors such as system constraints and ineffective auto-match capabilities, right through to incorrect or incomplete technical processing, can all be reasons behind cash discrepancies. The reasons behind unallocated cash could even be found on the ground – especially when resources are over-stretched or historic knowledge following mergers and acquisitions has been lost.
Once the scale of the problem has been investigated and the causes identified, the right resource needs to be applied to resolve the issues and, fundamentally, clear the backlog. Solving the headache There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution to actually allocating the unmatched cash, but by having access to historic data and working with credit control, each individual unallocated cash issue can – with time and effort – be resolved. There is a clear call to action for senior management to be vigilant to tackling unallocated cash holes in their books as we head into a challenging time for the re/insurance market as a whole. Critical to resolving the issue is to take lessons learned forward, including implementing new procedures, reporting and continued, resilient monitoring to help prevent future issues occurring once and for all. A structured approach across an organisation that encompasses all parts of the business involved in cash inflows, outflows and reconciliation is vital not only to avoiding unallocated cash challenges, but also to improving overall liquidity going forwards.
INNER WORKINGS By Tom Murray Head of Product Strategy for LifePlus at Majesco
The Covid19 global pandemic has been a major accelerator in the move to online retailing. What had been a drift became a head-long rush when national lockdowns meant that a digital channel became the best way to reach customers. The choice for companies operating in the life and pension sector is to adopt that channel rapidly or to lose ground to those organisations that embrace digital and digitally-supported commerce. These could be existing players adapting to the new environment quickly or new entrants who already have the technology and customer base to make an impact in the life and pension market. New entrants have the advantage of being able to innovate new financial products and services without the burden of supporting legacy sales and the legacy infrastructure traditional
insurers need to support older products. The surprise of 2020 was the speed at which most life insurers were able to rapidly make changes to support their businesses in a radically different environment. However, many of the changes made to do this were temporary. Now that the online move has solidified, insurers need to examine how to capitalise on their initial makeshift response. Having being forced to move at a faster pace, they need to assess whether to keep going as they are or to use the digitalcentric focus that was forced on the organisation to inspire a radical redesign of their business strategy. At first glance, the idea of a dramatic shift is tempting. Many organisations have been weighed down by the limitations of their legacy infrastructure for years,
which has hobbled both the ability to develop new products and services and the time-frame it takes to implement them. They also have processes and a staff mindset that is constrained to think within these limitations. Like dinosaurs, the companies have lumbered along for generations and now fear that the pandemic is the equivalent of the asteroid smashing into the earth and wiping out the dinosaurs while leaving the more agile animals in place. A move to more flexible, cloud based systems would be transformative for the company inside and out; by giving the employees new opportunities to collaborate and innovate they would be able to design products and services that could be market leaders in the post-pandemic economy. The fear holding them back is that they know, based on
previous experiences, that large projects are notoriously difficult to implement; most large life and pension companies have a history of partially-failed mega projects that ran for way longer than initially projected and ended up massively over-budget. Boards, having been burned before, are generally reluctant to sign off on large strategic bets. Insurers will realise that one of the major benefits of the digital redesign is that the nature of the technology means that it is not necessary to commit to large and risky projects in order to embark on a digital journey. Innovation and incrementalism are not mutually exclusive. In fact, changing in stages can be a better approach as it enables advantage to be taken of new ideas and technologies that occur after the start of the project.
Taking an incremental approach can be better for the organisation. All life insurers have had to adapt on the fly due to the pandemic and the effect of the intermittent lockdowns. This has shaken up the time-worn processes of the companies and shown the staff that there are other ways to run the business. Maintaining a continuous culture of smaller changes in the business will mean the shift to a digital strategy for the future is easily achievable and will bring the employees and the existing customers along with it. It also allows the company to experiment with new ideas and products at a much lower risk-level, making it easier to get Board approval for new projects. Implementing a cloud-based platform to act as a hub for present and future services can be integrated easily with existing legacy platforms to allow new
services to be rolled out for existing customers without the need for huge migration projects. These platforms can facilitate the introduction of new products and services that help the life and pension company penetrate the younger, more digitally aware generations, generations that live their life online and are instinctively more attracted to the new Insuretech entrants rather than the traditional life and pension providers. Moving to a cloud-based platform means that the provider can easily work with partner organisations that provide related services to improve their customers’ digital journey and give consumers a new and more personalised life and pensions experience. Without this, traditional life and pension providers will be unable to compete in this new normal of predominantly digital commerce.
PENSION PILLAR by Dale Critchley Policy Manager Aviva
CAN WE MOVE MORE PEOPLE TO PENSION ADEQUACY? For many actuaries involved in delivering sustainable defined benefit pensions the question of adequacy isn’t a major consideration. Employers offering defined benefits pension schemes are providing a pension that delivers an income in retirement that members can afford to live on, so long as people remain in the pension scheme for a significant period of time. But as we know, not everyone is lucky enough to be provided with a pension scheme that invests such a significant proportion of their income for the future. For many workers in the UK, and in particular those working for smaller employers, and in industries where labour costs are more critical to maintaining a competitive edge, the automatic enrolment minimum contribution rate is standard. You don’t need to be an actuary to work out that a scheme investing 8% of qualifying earnings won’t provide anywhere near the level of pension provided by a defined benefit pension scheme investing in excess of 20% of workers’ salaries. But how do we get to a position where employers and employees commit to contribution levels that deliver an adequate income for a bigger percentage of the population? The government never intended 8% of qualifying earnings to be the pensions equivalent of our ‘5-a-day’. It was always intended to be a foundation. But in the absence of an alternative benchmark it’s difficult
for employers and employees to judge whether their scheme will provide at least a minimum level of income when individuals retire. It’s this benchmark that Aviva have been working on with the Resolution Foundation. The concept is simple. Many employers in the UK already commit to paying their employees the Real Living Wage promoted by the Living Wage Foundation. This is a pledge to pay a wage that people can afford to live on while they’re working. We wondered if we could take the same concept and apply it to pensions, enabling employers to commit to providing a Living Pension scheme. A pension scheme that’s designed to provide employees with at least a minimum income in retirement. The Living Pension would provide an alternative benchmark to the Government’s 8% of qualifying earnings. As you’ll appreciate, this is easier said than done. The Resolution Foundation have done some terrific work. They’ve arrived at a minimum income requirement which when averaged out is very close to the PLSA’s minimum figure. What’s interesting though, is the difference in income required by renters compared to homeowners. Renters need almost 50% greater income to maintain a decent living standard. When it comes to how much needs to be paid into a DC pension,
the complexity is compounded. The report shows that a large proportion of the UK population, especially those on lower incomes, have little pre-automatic enrolment pension wealth. These people are playing catch up. It seems inevitable that arriving at a target contribution for DC pensions which is similar to the Living Wage, is going to involve compromise. We will need to strike a balance between achieving simplicity and understanding on the one hand and getting it right for every cohort on the other. I think it can be done. We can come up with an easy to understand Living Pension accreditation for employers. It won’t mean that every employee who works for that employer will have a decent pension - we can’t, for example, turn back the clock for those who haven’t accrued any pension and are close to retirement. But if we can get a critical mass of employers to commit to a providing a Living Pension scheme, we can ensure that contributions are maintained at a reasonable level from one employer to the next, and for a bigger percentage of the UK population. We can consign 8% of qualifying earnings to history, introduce a much healthier ‘5-a-day’ for pensions, and ensure that more people in the UK accrue a pension that’s adequate to live on. I think that’s worth working on.
RETIREMENT PUZZLE CARBON = ENGAGEMENT OR DISINVESTMENT? Alex White, Head of ALM Research Redington To tackle the climate crisis we need, among other things, to transition away from a carbon economy. There are a few ways to do this, but we can fundamentally boil them down to three: • Invest in replacements (e.g. buy a wind farm, support green research, etc.) • Engage with carbon emitters to reduce emissions • Disinvest from the highest emitters In pure impact terms, the first is likely to be the most effective. If you can generate clean energy, or lab-grown beef, then you make coal plant and cattle ranches less viable. The UK energy mix produces around 0.23kg of carbon (and carbon equivalents) per MWh, and 1MW of renewable power costs about £1.7m. Assuming marginal replacement, £1m investment in renewable power could therefore reduce carbon emissions by around 500 tonnes per year. For context, the UK stock market is worth about £4 trillion, and the UK emits around 400 million tonnes of carbon emission per annum. So if all emissions were from stocks, a £1m investment would equate to 100 tonnes per year. Renewable energy, unsurprisingly, is effective at reducing carbon emissions. However, direct investment in green tech or renewables is unlikely to be viable for all investors, who may have size, liquidity, return, risk, fee and concentration constraints. Fortunately, there are other options. In particular, you can invest in managers who restrict their investments, or who engage with the companies they buy to reduce carbon emissions. But which is more effective? Disinvestment has some obvious advantages. Its objective (at least on the surface- there are complications with measurement), and it should
generally change demand. It’s also likely to look good on any metrics used. Whereas engagement can be a box-ticking exercise that allows companies to greenwash and pollute, it’s much clearer whether a company is avoiding investments in, say, coal plants. Moreover, engagement without at least a credible threat of disinvestment is likely to be toothless, so disinvestment is a key tool. However, there are some issues. Basically, if you want to improve something, the most effective way is generally to make the worst bit less bad (think Loris Karius at Liverpool). Coal plants emit around 1000g/Kwh, with natural gas at around 500g and solar/nuclear/wind at around 30-50g (very roughly, source IPCC). That means making a nuclear power plant 100% carbon neutral is about 1/3 as effective as a 10% reduction in emissions from a Coal plant. And, admittedly without knowing the science, I suspect the latter is likely to be far easier as there will be more options as to how to do it, and more scope for inefficiency. That’s why, in general, 10% moves are easier than 100% moves. However, if the only investors in a coal plant are those who care less about reducing emissions, and total investments are lower, it’s arguably less likely that those changes will get made. What this means is, if you can engage meaningfully, the scope for improvement is likely to be higher. Engagement has the potential to achieve more. Moreover, it enables you to keep the investible universe, which can make it easier to track the broader market and maintain fiduciary responsibilities. Set against that, it is easier to game, and it is easier for unscrupulous managers to say they’re engaging without really doing anything. As so often, the conclusions are somewhat trite- but here again, having a robust process and the research to pick the right managers is not just important financially, it’s also critical for the climate.
THE WINDS OF CHANGE
Dave Garratt, Sales Director, Duck Creek Technologies The winds of change: Europe’s insurers need to keep pace or risk being left behind Dave Garratt, shines the spotlight on the growing global disparity in technology adoption and spells out what this means for UK and European slow adopters in the face of such a fast pace of change. UK and European domiciled nonlife insurers have long faced the challenge of digitally transforming their operations, grappling with managing and maintaining legacy technology and making the right choices that will make their operations future-ready. Never was this challenge thrown more into the spotlight than in 2020, when the pandemic enforced remote working almost universally. Those insurers that found themselves struggling to maintain business as usual did so and continue to do so because
their technology architecture is not up to the challenge.
Core systems holding insurers back
When enforced change happens, innovation emerges more quickly. But UK and European domiciled insurers have a mixed track record in terms of innovation when compared to their international counterparts, and this growing disparity could be the catalyst for a more fundamental disruption in a low-growth, high-cost insurance market.
The pandemic situation has accelerated insurers’ efforts to try to engage with customers, innovate with more relevant products, and deploy these products through new channels. An independent 2020 survey of senior insurance decision makers based in the UK and Europe found that 50% of IT / business support respondents felt their core systems were preventing their organisations from providing their employees with flexible remote working arrangements.
And after a year of stressed results, the largest European domiciled insurers are now faced with continued pressures, not least the £1.2 billion or more in pandemic-related business interruption claims as a result of the UK Supreme Court’s comprehensive ruling in favour of policyholders, but also ongoing operational pressures to reduce often high expense and cost ratios.
Similarly, 52% of all respondents said they were taking immediate steps to address IT weaknesses exposed by the pandemic, or that they’d seen some challenges and were now thinking more strategically. But having these goals is one thing and achieving them is another altogether, and too often legacy technology
proves such a major blockage for insurers that new initiatives simply don’t get off the ground. The need to leverage all the advantages of cloud technology is truly urgent for insurers from taking advantage of an exponential growth in computing power and the most secure data storage available to accessibility to decentralised workforces. Clearly customer demand is also changing, and in the wake of the UK Supreme Court ruling, customers and particularly SMEs will want to have full insight over their policy terms - insurers that can’t offer the right terms quickly and transparently will be left behind. UK and Europe seen as behind the curve A common theme we hear from multinationals is that the UK and Europe is now considered a slow growth market. Investment is focussed on LATAM and APAC regions as these are growing insurance markets, but the US market is also a target for investment and growth, and technology adoption plays a big part in this. In 2019 alone, Duck Creek’s OnDemand cloud SaaS software handled 13,000 claims per hour. This is just one example of its process efficiency - vastly improving customer experience for valid claims, and deploying savvy technology to find and flag more complex or potentially fraudulent claims. Cloud-based software as a service (SaaS) systems not only leverage the best available technology right at the point of adoption, but
are also continuously delivering new functionality to solve everchanging insurance business challenges. The fundamental advantage is that this type of technology does not dictate the innovation insurers can access now or in the future. Cloud SaaS is essentially an evergreen solution that provides a low-code platform for innovation, using open architecture that can allow insurers to plug into the latest insurtech solutions, for instance. From data-driven intelligent underwriting to automated claims fraud detection, it is this ability to distill the complexity of the business of insurance into a system that enables new ideas and products to be put into play quickly and easily, at scale, that is enabling a fundamentally new approach to competing in today’s industry. Compare this with the traditional closed-box, on-premises systems which are essentially out of date as soon as they are installed, leading to the situation of automatically working with less up-to-date systems - in other words, installing legacy from the get-go. Re-allocation of IT talent and experience Insurers using cloud solutions across their enterprises have found that they are able to reallocate IT resources to support higher value business priorities like product innovation, becoming insurance product factories and providing better, more relevant and personalised customer experiences, rather than focusing on maintenance, application
support, or clunky software upgrades. This potential to re-focus and redeploy IT resources from day-today infrastructure management to more strategic value-add projects are fueling agility - allowing IT expertise to support businesses to innovate, differentiate, and grow - and, critically, not miss out on pursuing opportunity because of technology limitations. Security is also a key issue - and here too cloud SaaS solutions far exceed their on-premises counterparts. The security offered by cloud providers is typically far beyond what insurers have in-house themselves, and this is enhanced further by a simplified overall architecture. 2021: the year of the cloud European and UK domiciled insurers looking to lower their operational costs and increase their ability to embrace innovation in 2021 must look at what the rest of the world is doing - 2021 is the year of the cloud in insurance. “Futureready” - modern solutions as part of a simplified, more streamlined architecture to take advantage of current and future innovations - is the future. The debate about what “good” looks like in technology is over. It comes in the shape of a cloud - secure, agile, and future-ready. UK and European insurers need to take a look at the technology that the US and emerging markets are adopting to help them gain market share, and take the leap that is needed to truly innovate. Anything else is simply rearranging the chairs on a sinking ship.
search & selection
LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTUARY!
Bolton Associates’ focus is specifically in the non-life actuarial space; the largest dedicated GI actuarial specialist in the market. Working throughout the insurance market, the consultants at Bolton Associates offer an exceptional service, managing the process with the utmost tact and respect for all parties. We are passionate about our market, taking great interest in the insurance world as a whole, keeping up with trends and changes, and maintaining our everexpanding network. We are good at what we do, because we enjoy what we do.
The next focus for Bolton Associates’ Spotlight page, is an interview with a leading actuary within one of the market’s actuarial technology providers. As the world, including the Lloyd’s and London Market, look to use AI techniques, and automated modelling in our data-rich world, both self-starters and larger corporations have turned their gaze and interest to using technology and modelling to automate systems, generate prices and break boundaries. These providers to the insurance markets, know what both underwriters and brokers need, and how the actuaries within them can benefit from the tools and software they can provide. For the next few months Zoe Bolton will be talking to the senior actuaries in these firms, getting a brief insight into their career paths and visions for the future. This month Zoe talks to Charlie Kefford, Director at Willis Towers Watson.
What is your current role, and how did you end up in it? My role includes global responsibility for P&C software products within WTW’s Insurance Consulting and Technology division. Our consulting and technology teams are well integrated and with this role I moved across from our consulting team to our technology team 3 years ago. What is the defining moment of your career to date? Being shouted at for having diligently taken “the same approach as last time” during a regular reserving project. Being junior and new to the firm, I thought it was perfectly reasonable, whereas the partner thought we should never accept the status quo. We should always look to improve, move forward insurance market practice and add more value. It’s a valuable philosophy. In your opinion, what prepared you best to take on your current role? Having spent many years in our consulting team. The individuals within that team and the clients that I have been lucky enough to work with are all highly innovative and forward thinking. There is a desire to embrace new ideas and new technology, all with a clear focus on the value that can bring to an insurer and its customers. What is the biggest challenge you face in your role within this market? It’s an exciting time. The world is changing with data and technology being key enablers. We can now deliver real time analytics and insight to decision makers at the point of decision making.
Automation, integration and robotics are transforming business practices across the market. Navigating this evolving landscape can be a challenge but being closely aligned to our consulting team and clients helps us deliver cutting edge solutions. How does your actuarial training and background assist in your day-to-day role now? Actuaries have a great mix of analytical depth and business acumen and insight. For example, they are quick to pick up evolving data science techniques and apply them very effectively to solve meaningful problems in a practical way. The actuarial skillset is a very valuable addition to our teams that span from software engineers to data scientists, underwriters and claims experts. When did you first join the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries, and what advice would you give to those students looking to emulate your career path? Insurtech is an exciting area and there are many routes into it. Insurance market knowledge is vital so working in any consulting or in-house team that has the ambition and vision to improve the status quo is a great place to start. If you had your time again, what would you do, career-wise? I always quite fancied being a teacher. Please share your favourite piece of trivia with our readers! That there are as many stars in the universe as there are grains of sand on every beach on Earth.
EMAIL ADDRESS PROVIDES CLUE TO INSURANCE FRAUD RISK
Insurance providers work hard to achieve the right balance between offering a swift and relatively painless application experience while at the same time applying robust fraud detection and prevention checks that won’t create unnecessary friction either prior to or post policy inception. The pandemic has made this balance all the more important. As household finances come under pressure, memories of the 2008 recession where fraudulent insurance claims increased by 17% have come to the fore and fears are growing that fraudsters are already looking to take advantage of the fall-out . The insurance market is highly conscious of the need to deliver fast and fair quotes, while doing their utmost to protect themselves and their customers from scammers. Tackling fraud at the front end, before the applicant is on-boarded, has therefore become a heightened priority for the market. Application fraud is usually conducted with the intent of selling policies on or setting up false insurance policies, leading to fraudulent claims. In both scenarios innocent insurance customers can end up victims – whether it’s
a young driver sold a cheap insurance policy from a fake provider, or a delivery driver who has their ID stolen so the fraudster can secure a policy with the sole intention of committing claims fraud. In 2019, 760,000 cases of application fraud were detected, worth £1.4billion . The fact these were detected demonstrates how the market has been building its fraud prevention practices using ID validation techniques at the point of application, quote and post policy inception – often based on public and industry shared data. While these techniques can be effective, they are often timeconsuming, labour intensive and can still leave gaps in knowledge and insurance providers exposed to fraud. The question has been how to build resilience against ID fraud based on the information provided at the point of application. The answer is to leverage the intelligence linked to the applicant’s email address. Of all the pieces of data provided in the application, email address can now be one of the most powerful in detecting application fraud.
Email is a unique global identifier and an integral part of everyday life. No two people will have exactly the same email address and changing email is difficult because of the links to all of an individual’s online accounts.
The risk score is built on billions of transactions from global payment processors and other online industries to provide an instant score based on an individual’s email address information, at the point of quote.
Despite the growth and prominence of mobile messengers and chat apps, in 2019, the number of global e-mail users amounted to 3.9 billion and is set to grow to 4.48 billion users in 2024 . 91% of users have the same email address for more than 3 years, and 51% have the same email address for more than 10 years . Above all, an email address is one of the most commonly used components of an online transaction and therefore unlocks digital engagement and transactions in every industry.
This scoring model can be used to automatically validate every quote that comes through to indicate whether the ID used for the application could be fraudulent. It can also be used to help inform pricing decisions alongside a wide range of data enrichment datasets, including publicly available data and policy history data, property, vehicle and environmental.
Unique email addresses are connected to many attributes including IP addresses and domain names. Looking at an email address and the Digital Footprint that goes with it, based on how it has been used online, it is now possible to create a risk score built on a range of factors such as whether the email and domain even exist, or whether the email bears close resemblance to the proposer’s name for the policy.
In the fight against insurance fraud, email address intelligence-based risk scores can enable insurance providers to deliver a streamlined quote and onboarding service to customers in the knowledge that those applications with a higher risk of ID fraud will be flagged for further investigation. Designed to complement the insurance market’s existing counter-fraud armoury, email address-based risk scores may provide the crucial piece in the jigsaw in understanding application fraud risk.
James Burton, Snr Director of Insurance Product Managemnt, LexisNexis® Risk Solutions
1. 2. 3. 4.
https://www.insurancefraudbureau.org/media-centre/news/2020/industry-calls-on-the-public-to-help-stop-the-scams-amid-predicted-rise-in-insurance-fraud/# https://www.abi.org.uk/news/news-articles/2020/09/detected-insurance-fraud/ https://www.statista.com/statistics/255080/number-of-e-mail-users-worldwide/ DMA Insight: Consumer Email Tracking Study (2015) - UK respondents
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search & selection Pricing Actuary / Analyst
Reinsurance Pricing Actuary
General Insurance Circa £65,000 + Benefits London
General Insurance Up to £130,000 Per Annum London
Lloyd’s of London insurer are expanding their pricing team and looking to bring on a part-qualified actuary. Experience can be across pricing, reserving or capital modelling but a pro-active approach and excellent communication skills are essential.
An opportunity has arisen for a qualified Actuary to be part of an embedded actuarial team within a successful and expanding global casualty broking team in London. With clients ranging from small monoline accounts to global treaties, you will be working directly with account executives and client contacts on a daily basis as part of market placements and internal development projects.
REF: ZB 001617 JC
REF: ZB 001597 HT
Director - London Market Pricing
General Insurance £90,000 Per Annum London
General Insurance £Upper Quartile City of London
Exciting opportunity to join a leading insurer seeking a dynamic and commercially minded Actuary. Reporting directly into the Head of Reserving, you will play a key role in reserving tasks of the Marine, Aviation and Energy syndicate.
Global Consultancy seeks Director to assist in the growth of a dedicated London Market Consultancy team. Practical experience in building commercial/specialty pricing models across a breadth of classes while focusing on designing and implementing cutting-edge client solutions. Opportunity to build a profile/brand as Group representative, developing a market portfolio of clients.
REF: ZB 001620 MM
REF: ZB 0001595 SC
Risk Actuary / Analyst
General Insurance Up to £80,000 Per Annum London
General Insurance $200,000 + Package Bermuda
Newly created risk and governance team has openings for two risk analyst / actuaries. You will have experience in quantitative risk assessment. Reporting into the Head of Portfolio Governance you will support in consolidating and monitoring the full range of quantitative risks across the group, ensuring these are sufficiently controlled and communicated.
Fantastic opportunity to join a start-up reinsurer in Bermuda. As the first actuarial team members, this offers the chance to be involved in something special from the start: London Market Pricing Actuaries required to lead the pricing offering, and Reserving and Capital Actuaries required to get processes set up from the start.
REF: ZB 001568 CS
REF: ZB 001577 ZB
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