You might wonder what rocket science has to do with working out how much an insurance premium should be? And having started my career analysing spacecraft data it might seem a strange leap to be leading a team tasked with setting premiums for over 800 different breeds of dogs and cats.
But just like space science, pricing can be a highly technical discipline. And anyone who has a good grip on statistical methods, strong problem-solving skills, a logical approach, and the ability to communicate all this to others would be well suited to a career in pricing.
Our Pricing teams work with people all across the business, and that means communication skills are really important. While what we do can often be complex and very detailed, we also have to make sure that other parts of the organisation understand our work and output – so an ability to communicate simply and effectively is a critical part of the role.
What do pricing roles involve?
As with many of the most interesting jobs, no two days are the same. There are three main kinds of activity the team get involved in.
Firstly, the team is responsible for delivering price to market, whether that’s through our MORE TH>N brand or retail partners such as Tesco, M&S, and John Lewis. To do this we use sophisticated modelling tools and techniques to exploit our wealth of market data.
Secondly, we work closely with other functions (including Claims, Marketing, Reserving, Finance) to help understand why certain portfolios are performing in a particular way, and why we may be ahead of or behind our plans at any given time.
The other key part of my particular role is developing the team. Given the technical nature of what we do, keeping everyone up to speed with the latest skills and thinking is critical to success.
Whilst we see people come through the education system with Actuarial degrees, anyone with a mathematical or scientific background could thrive in a pricing role. Similarly, relevant experience in data science or operational research in any major industry could prove a good fit.
Ultimately, it’s about finding people with that special blend of skill at getting to know data, drawing useful lessons from it and communicating that to others. It may not be rocket science, but it can be just as interesting and rewarding.
Those are the skills that are most valuable for the future: the ability to spot trends and get ahead of them will just get more and more important as our industry develops.