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Whistle-stop Wednesdays: Becoming an Actuary

James is one of our Actuarial Trainees, working towards becoming a fully qualified Actuary, hopefully this year! Read about his career journey below. 

What do you do in Admiral and how long have you been working here?  

I work as an Actuary within the Capital Modelling team. I joined in November 2019, so it will be coming up to 2 years at Admiral soon! I predominately work on the Standard Formula and Capital Add-on Model, which is used for Admiral’s Regulatory Reporting as well as deciding the dividend payment.  

My role involves: 

  • Running quarterly updates on the model when new data becomes available 

  • Collating the outputs and providing explanations on movements to my Manger and other senior members 

  • Validating and testing model outputs 

I have taken on significant responsibility since joining Admiral and have presented to the Group Chief Finance Officer (CFO) and Chief Risk Officer (CRO) several times. 

How did you get into your role? What is your background?  

I studied Mathematics and Statistics at London School of Economics (LSE) with the idea that I would choose a career in Actuarial Science. By my third year, I was certain of this path and sat all Actuarial based exams in order to get 4 exemptions from the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA).  

I then worked in London for 18 months as a Graduate Actuary at a Reinsurance Broker before deciding that I wanted a career change. I started looking for Actuarial roles and was surprised at the number of opportunities. I then came across an opportunity at Admiral, and having grown up in Swansea, I was already well aware of the great employer reputation, so I applied! 

Following the interview, it was definitely somewhere I wanted to work. The great opportunities for development along with the team being a mix of Senior Actuaries and Actuarial Trainees led me to rejecting other offers and take the role here.  

What's the most exciting change or project happening within your area?  

The team is currently working on the Internal Model Approval Process (IMAP) which will allow us to use our own specially built Internal Model to Regulatory Report rather than the Standard Formula and Capital Add-on. This is a huge project that has been running for several years and requires regulatory approval. The model is tailor-built to Admiral’s portfolio and needs, using bespoke insurance software. It’s a great way of working on and developing my skills and wider understanding of General Insurance.   

Do you think there are opportunities to grow and develop here?  

There are so many opportunities to grow within the team and develop your knowledge. Many in the team have several years of Actuarial experience, and they’re always keen to help and knowledge share. We have the opportunity to become a Fellow of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA), a professional body well-respected around the world. To become a Fellow, you need to pass all relevant Actuarial Exams (11 in total) and have at least 3 years’ experience. Admiral offer financial support for this as well as study time and a salary bonus for each exam passed. I’m only one exam away from becoming fully qualified, and some of the other Trainees are only a year or two away! We’ve had a brilliant track record so far, and I’d definitely say it’s a testament to the support we get from Admiral.   

Do you have a career-defining moment? 

When first joining Admiral, I had a task to perform an analysis that would require Board and regulatory sign off. Being new in the company, I had a lot of assistance from senior members who steered me through the process. I made some mistakes but learnt from them and my work was approved. 

My best career moment was then a year later when this analysis would be required again but this time, I would be doing it solo. I managed to complete the task in a much shorter timeframe and gained approval from the Board and the Regulators on my first attempt. I was congratulated by senior members for the hard work I had done.   

Do you have any advice for someone looking to join your area?  

Having a strong mathematical background is very important as the skills from this will be used every day. Communication skills are also important as you will be presenting results and need to be able to explain your work to a non-technical audience. The desire to learn and ability to pick up new tasks will be beneficial as you’ll frequently be working on new and interesting tasks. 

I would recommend checking if you’re eligible for any exemptions from the IFoA, as this allows you to become a Fellow sooner and sit less exams. When joining in this role, you will be required to join the IFoA and start working towards Fellowship with exam sittings being held every April and September.  

 

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