Women in Data is a fantastic movement! At esure, we want to be a force for change, championing greater gender parity and diversity in data science, engineering, software development and analytics. We’re on a mission to become a leading digital insurer. We’re building an entire tech ecosystem to transform how we engage with our customers and operate our business. Underpinning this is a flexible and scalable digital platform, and industry-beating data capabilities that are enabling us to deliver exceptional customer experiences. We want to use our story to inspire and support more women into successful data careers.
At university I studied maths and economics, which was an easy decision due to my love of numbers and interest in the world economy.
I chose the modules that provided the most exposure to real world applications of economics and statistics. The parts that I found most interesting involved cleansing and analysing sets of data, and during this time I was taught to code.
During my degree, I found conversations regarding careers often pushed towards working in Accountancy or Education, both of which I knew were not for me.
After my final exams, I enrolled on an online data science course to strengthen my coding skills and entered my first Kaggle competition. This opened my eyes to the power of data and the importance of analysis that underpins decision making.
I began to research jobs in data and discovered Women in Data which led me to Datatech Analytics. This helped me to land my current role at esure.
Through my role as a Pricing Analyst, I have been given the opportunity to work with large and varied datasets and love the challenges that come with this. This constantly reinforces the importance of using good quality data, and I really enjoy the collaboration across teams that is required to make important data–driven decisions.
At university I initially struggled to find my voice in a male–dominated course environment, finding myself being overlooked and missing out on opportunities as a result. This realisation was a turning point and empowered me to put myself out there and make sure I was listened to.
I appreciate working for a company where everyone’s voice is heard, which welcomes the diversity of views and opinions, and the value this brings.
I am a career returner – I have reconnected with the world of data and insurance after an extended career break looking after my family. esure, my current employer, has a focus on data and upskilling. I’m here along with everyone learning new skills.
I studied Economics and Maths at university which included statistics and econometrics. I loved investigating datasets and using multivariate analyses to get to the bottom of various observations. One project that inspired me showed that it was in fact the level of mothers’ education that was the most influential factor in some key development indicators between countries.
After my degree I went into financial services and qualified as an actuary. I’ve worked in both insurance companies and consultancies. When I started in the 1990s, I was using sas to carry out statistical modelling to price Motor and Home accounts. There were also bespoke packages to carry out neural networks that would take days to run. I enjoyed taking some of the modelling techniques from Motor and Home insurance into other areas such as Marine and Aviation insurance where these techniques had not been used before. Brokers had been using two-way tables but there were extra insights gained from looking at further interactions.
During my career break, I volunteered for the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries and tutored students. When the time came to go back to full time work, I could have done anything but chose to go back to insurance – it’s providing a valuable service. I participated in the EY Reconnect scheme for returning professionals – kudos to EY for the scheme and their commitment to supporting returners.
I am so pleased to have reconnected and working in insurance. I’m back in UK Motor and Home insurance which touches the everyday lives of people. Run times may be quicker and there are a lot more factors but the basic discipline of data hasn’t changed. I’m learning just as everyone needs to keep learning. It’s great to be in a company where inclusion is seen in everyday interactions. I believe data literacy is so important, understanding the multivariate nature of factors and being able to query statistics. I love gaining insights from data and hypothesising reasons for trends, although I do watch out for spurious correlations. I am enjoying the benefits of interesting work and employing my skills to a purpose. Some of these skills have come from the time I had outside of insurance.
If there is anyone thinking about reconnecting to the world of work, do reach out to your former colleagues and contacts. There will be some people who will jump at the chance to have a friendly chat about work and how things are.
Expertise: Underwriting, Motor Products
Education: GCSEs and ALevels – All A* to B
Being an Underwriter at esure I use data on a daily basis and it forms a big part of my role. I have used data to establish our quotability, to assess how we compare to our competitors, to monitor what types of business we write through our Underwriting rules and in the last couple of years to ensure we have an unbeatable platform as part of our transformation programme. A couple of years ago I advanced my data skills by attending a SAS Analytics course which allowed me easier access to data for us to analyse within Underwriting which allowed us to do our job even better. Being female and working within a data heavy role isn’t always easy as it’s typically very male dominated but I’m definitely an advocate of more women should be made to feel comfortable enough to embrace these roles. Within the data transformation project I am seeing not only myself but other women contributing to ensure esure moves into a real data driven business and I hope this is something that continues in the future as well.
Expertise: Analysis, Insight, Data-driven decision making
Education: BA Hons Education Studies with Business Management
After graduating in 2004 with a Bachelor of Arts in Education Studies with Business Management, I had a non-traditional route into the world of data, which started in an Intelligence Analysis role within Hampshire Constabulary. After securing my first analysis role, I have continued to add strings to my “analysis bow”, first making the transition from Public Sector to Insurance, bringing my much-needed Law Enforcement experience to the Claims Investigation Unit within Zurich Insurance. I then later made the jump from intelligence and insight to data in 2014, showing that it’s never too late to learn to code providing someone is willing to give you the opportunity to learn.
Since that time I have held various roles within the data space, including Insight Manager, and later Data and Analytics Manager at Thatcham Research where I led a gender balanced team of Data Analysts in publishing key research publications to Insurer Members.
In September 2020, I joined esure Group as a Claims Analysis and Insight Manager where I have been instrumental in identifying and pushing forward new techniques for the ingestion of different data sources to add value to claims analysis. I continue to have a passion for learning new skills and software packages, ensuring that any new techniques and knowledge are shared amongst the team. This has allowed for data and insight to be produced in the most up to date and impactful ways, helping to drive operational decision making.
Presently as the only woman in a team of 12, I am also an advocate for driving forward a gender balanced workforce, helping to push through change as part of the Inclusion and Diversity Working Group at esure.
Outside of work, I am a keen photographer, having recently started photographing a non-league football team. I am also passionate about fitness, completing a number of Ultra Challenges events since undertaking my first one for charity in 2019.
The insurance market will only be seen as a ‘force for good’ if it can anticipate and react to the everchanging lifestyles, expectations and needs of our customers – and that means more data being produced, captured and consumed, coupled with a need to use that information quickly to hone the customer experience and services required. This will become easier to facilitate as cloud platforms mature, data science tooling expands into the AutoML and ‘low-code’ realms, and self-serve models continue to become adopted. People have been driving less, the property market has shifted materially, the availability and cost of vehicle parts has transformed, hybrid working is on the rise, and so driving behaviour and patterns will adjust. We’ve also got the challenges of inflation, continuing pressures on supply chains, and significant regulatory changes on pricing. All of this creates new data trends, ways in which to use data, and opportunities for new propositions.
While challenging, this scale of change represents an opportunity to radically change brand, mission, the way the market works and the products on offer. Those putting data, digitisation, technology, and the right culture and talent together will reform the industry – and the people that work and buy within it. This represents a boom in talent creation, career opportunity, fresh thinking and innovation. We’ll begin to see new propositions with an increasing focus on the industry’s environmental impact and the ways in which customers engage with their suppliers.
We’re on a mission to fix insurance for good. We provide our esure and Sheilas’ Wheels customers with a world-class digital experience, together with human service when it’s needed most. Our expertise and use of industry–leading technology, data and insights deliver a more personal and intuitive experience to our car, home and travel insurance customers.
Our people mission is simple: we aim to make esure a great, progressive and innovative place to work for all our colleagues who are committed to delivering fantastic products, service, and experiences for our customers.