In the next five years, we expect to see the data landscape in the UK continuing to evolve. Insurers are increasingly turning to new and innovative data sets to better understand the characteristics and risks of their insured assets, as well as the credit quality, and attitudes to risk of their insureds. In addition, advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning are enabling data to be collected, analysed, and used to aid decision-making more quickly and accurately than ever before. We believe that this will be a key area of focus for data professionals in the coming years.
QBE helps businesses build resilience through risk management and insurance.
QBE European Operations is part of QBE Insurance Group, one of the world’s leading international insurers and reinsurers and Standard & Poor’s A+ rated. Listed on the Australian Securities Exchange, QBE’s gross written premium for the year ended 31 December 2021 was US$18.5 billion.
As a business insurance specialist, QBE European Operations offers a range of insurance products from the standard suite of property, casualty and motor to the specialist financial lines, marine and energy. All are tailored to the individual needs of our small, medium and large customer base.
To find out more about why you should work for QBE, visit our Careers website
Expertise: Data Science
Social Media: https://www.linkedin.com/in/devanshiupreti/
Tell us about your role at QBE
My role at QBE involves building advanced data products using Machine Learning to support strategic decision-making for the business. Other responsibilities include shaping the future direction for the team and taking care of learning and development to ensure that there are exciting opportunities to constantly develop the team further.
What is your career background?
I did my Bachelors in Computer Systems Engineering from Cardiff University and started working as a Business Analyst for the ecommerce grocer Ocado. There, I received a first-hand opportunity to see how data analysis supported business operations and decision making. Furthermore, over the years, I was exposed to digital product development and elements of UI/UX design being supported by advanced data products which I thought was quite powerful. This led me to pursue my MSc in Data Science from City, University of London. More recently, I joined QBE which provided me with an opportunity to innovate in a greenfield area and in a completely different industry that I was used to.
How did you get into a career in data science?
When I was doing my bachelors, I really enjoyed studying databases and dabbling in SQL. At that time, I did not want to be a pure software developer therefore I accepted a job as a Business Analyst where I was doing a lot of data analysis and building data tools in Excel. However, the coder inside me was not satisfied and I wanted to do something that was a blend of data analysis and programming when I stumbled upon Data Science. I was immediately drawn to the direct impact that data products could have in the business. The more I researched the more it resonated with me, which led to a part-time masters in the subject. Meanwhile, I also started looking for opportunities within the company and took on a Product Analyst role. I was incredibly fortunate to study whilst being able to apply my learnings directly on the job although managing both was tough. However, as Roy Bennett rightly said, “Your hardest times often lead to the greatest moments of your life. Tough situations build strong people in the end.” Roy T. Bennett is the author of The Light in the Heart. He loves sharing positive thoughts and creative insight that has helped countless people to live a successful and fulfilling life. He hopes that his writing will help you become what you are capable of becoming. It has been a rewarding journey and I would do it all again!
What is it like working in the Data Science team?
The Data Science team is a mix of people from various backgrounds which keeps it interesting. Everyone is really friendly and supportive. We have a wide range of projects across different product lines so there are opportunities to learn from each other’s work. When not working, you can find us engaged in various lunches and other fun activities around London.
What career advice would you give to someone starting out in data science?
Be curious, seek opportunities and try various things. We all have different preferences and there are so many paths in Data Science from analytics to deep learning, in business applications or academia. The options are plenty. So, take the time to explore and figure out what you like and then work on mastering it.
How has the Data industry Science changed in recent years?
Data Science has changed in the way that increasing number of companies across industries are now becoming aware of the power of data. This has cascaded down to recognising Data Science as an essential capability for business operations and growth. It has also been supported with regulatory frameworks that has allowed businesses to invest more in the area.
From an applied perspective, Data Science has evolved at an amazingly fast pace over the years. There is a lot of research and there is always something new coming up, but also in a business context, digital offerings became so important during the Covid era. This has propelled Data Science to be at the forefront of customer journeys across multiple channels to provide a seamless experience.
In terms of trends, I think innovative products using VR/AR that keep customers excited and engaged are going to be key themes.
What’s been the most rewarding project you have been a part of?
One project that I really enjoyed working on was in my previous company where I helped build the Alexa app offering. I got to work on a new emerging technology (speech to text) and established data pipelines as well as conducted A/B testing to support the roll-out of changes. It is thrilling to see your work and the direct impact it has on the business and customers alike. Nothing beats that rush!
Tell us about your role at QBE
I am the Lead Pricing Actuary for Energy and Construction. They are major areas of focus for QBE and we’re building out a range of capabilities to respond to the needs of our customers to achieve a net-zero emission economy by 2050.
What is your career background?
I am a qualified Actuary and for the last 9 years I’ve been a risk consultant.
What’s it like working in the London office?
I came to London from Singapore. It is very similar in many ways including the culture, which is very inclusive and metropolitan. The biggest difference is the size of the portfolio I deal with which is 2/3 times bigger than the Asia/Singapore one.
What is it like working in the Data Science and Pricing team?
It’s been absolutely incredible!. Everyone in the team has been very collaborative with colleagues regularly helping with brainstorming idea sessions.. The senior team are very supportive and I wouldn’t change anything.
What excites you the most about your role?
I’d say trying to work with people that come from a very different backgrounds and trying to gel with them.
Coming from a mathematical and statistical background what also excites me is the contrast of working with the insurance underwriters, getting to understand their expertise and using it to help me achieve my goals.
What career advice would you give to someone starting out in data science and pricing?
Ask as many questions as you can to try and figure out where your interests lie. Don’t settle for anything which you are not entirely conformable with.
What changes would you like to see in the data industry?
A lot of data is historically kept on desktops so the last 5 years of my career was trying to collate the data and put in a central location so that it can be more easily accessed. The wealth of data that businesses hold is still largely untapped so that is something I’d like to see improved as it will enable me and my colleagues do a better job pricing risk.
Tell us about your role at QBE?
I work in the Pricing Data Science team as an Actuarial Analyst for the casualty product line. My day-to-day role is varied and allows me to work both collaboratively and independently. My role includes case pricing, which involves analysing external client data to determine insurance premiums. I particularly enjoy this part of the role; collaborating with underwriters, using data to identify trends and inform decisions, and communicating the results to stakeholders. I am also responsible for maintaining and updating pricing models. This is technically challenging but allows me to further develop my knowledge of mathematical and statistical modelling techniques, and again requires collaboration with other teams within the business.
How have you found starting at QBE?
From my first day, I have felt welcome within my team and QBE. This is my first role out of university and although the learning curve is steep, it has been rewarding. The opportunity to work across several product lines and on a variety of projects has enabled me to develop both soft skills and technical knowledge. During my time at QBE, I have seen a lot of positive change within the Pricing and Data Science team and I am excited to see and be part of the teams future plans.
What excites you most about your role?
The challenge, the variety and the opportunity to learn excites me most. Every day can present a new problem to solve and the chance to work with someone new. I am particularly excited to see how data science and emerging technologies will continue to transform the roles of actuaries and reshape the traditional insurance sector into a data-driven industry.
What career advice would you give to other women starting in data?
My advice would be to embrace a growth mindset and don’t be afraid to move out of your comfort zone. Make use of free online resources to get started, sign up for workshops and attend conferences to familiarise yourself with industry trends, hear from experts within the field and network. These can help guide you on the tools to learn or courses to study. Also connect with your colleagues and seek out opportunities to work with people you can learn something from.
How has QBE supported your career development?
Within QBE, there are various sessions to support learning and career development. There are monthly seminars where an internal speaker presents on an industry-specific topic. We also have knowledge-share demo sessions where team members can present what they have been working on. My team has access to DataCamp, an online learning platform that offers courses, tracks and certifications in data science, statistics and programming. I am currently studying the Data Scientist in Python career track and working