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Training the next generation of Bermuda actuaries

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Thankful: Taiyana (Tai) Allen, an actuarial analyst at Wilton Re (Photograph supplied)

A pilot programme that provided coaching for aspiring actuaries has recorded its first success.

Taiyana “Tai” Allen, a 24-year-old Bermudian who works as an actuarial analyst at Wilton Re, has passed Exam P – the first step in becoming a qualified actuary – after enrolling in a six-week course offered by James Robinson, the founder of Cactus Ltd, the Bermudian-based software company.

The course, held one evening a week at the Planet Math offices in Hamilton, was the brainchild of Mr Robinson, Wilton Re CEO Sylvia Oliveira, and Planet Math founders Kevin Warner and Sergio Pitcher.

Mr Robinson, a graduate in mathematics from Cambridge University, said: "When I discovered quite how much actuaries got paid and how much study leave and progression companies would offer to those that took the exams, I did the first four exams for a bit of fun.

"When I expressed this thought to Sylvia over lunch she insisted that if I found it so easy, I should offer a course to help others pass the exams."

Students studying for the exams use the weekly sessions to seek help in areas where they need assistance.

Ms Allen, who attended every session of the course, said: "I am extremely thankful for the support and guidance provided by James and to Planet Math for giving us a place to study. I am excited to continue my studies and pursue my career as an actuary.”

Mr Robinson said: “Tai's dedication and hard work paid off, and we are thrilled to see her succeed in passing Exam P. We are committed to helping young mathematically gifted people living in Bermuda pass their actuary exams.”

His company, Cactus, is behind Marmalade, the award-winning pricing and data capture system.

Marmalade, a web-based SaaS platform that’s custom-built for casualty and specialty underwriters, is so named because it’s not JAAM (just another actuarial model). It is available on a subscription basis.

Cactus recently won the International Innovation of the Year award at the Bermuda Tech Awards.

Mr Robinson said Cactus is dedicated to improving the way that insurance companies transact business.

He added: "If we are successful in our mission Bermuda will need even more actuaries.”

Mr Robinson said he hopes to offer another six-week course ahead of the next exam sitting on March 9.

He added that one student has already expressed an interest in taking the course. Adding at least one more student would be ideal, as would attracting a second person to help teach the material.

Mr Robinson said: "With Tai's success, the concept of investing time in training actuaries has been validated. I would like to encourage any others who have successfully passed actuarial exams to come forward and see if we can expand the programme."

Aspiring actuaries must pass three preliminary exams, following which they select a specialised track. Passing four additional exams qualifies a person as an actuary.

Mr Robinson spoke to more than 200 qualified actuaries recently when he presented at the GIRO conference in Liverpool, England, organised by the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, where he shared his thoughts on the importance of delivering actionable insights to underwriters in order to improve the quality of collected data.

The talk, "How to Train Your Underwriter," focused on the key message that actionable insights do not need to be overly complex. A simple count of the number of claims, the maximum claim size in any year and the total aggregation can be sufficient to have an underwriter care about collecting a clean list of historical claims.

Mr Robinson said: "I was impressed with the attitude of many of the actuaries in attendance, who are not resigned to the current state of data in the insurance industry and are actively seeking ways to improve it. This is exactly the kind of mindset we need to drive change and innovation in the industry."


James Robinson of Cactus Ltd (File photograph by Akil Simmons)
James Robinson, pictured at the podium at the GIRO Conference in Liverpool, England (Photograph supplied)

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Published January 24, 2023 at 7:32 am (Updated January 24, 2023 at 7:32 am)

Training the next generation of Bermuda actuaries

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