Lifestyle Article - Lights Camera Actuary Spotlight on Tom Durkin

Zoe Bolton, founder of Bolton Associates will be speaking to the actuaries who have been appointed Partners at the actuarial and broader consulting firms; these senior actuaries are respected industry-wide, and are networked into the insurance market at the highest level. We hope to get a brief insight into their career paths and visions for the future. This month Zoe talks to Tom Durkin, Partner at LCP.


 What is your current role, and how did you end up in it?
 I’m a Partner in LCP’s insurance consulting practice. I work across all areas of general insurance actuarial work and I’m also Chief Actuary for a number of insurers on an outsourced basis. I’ve done a number of different actuarial roles over the years – starting my training at Bacon & Woodrow, then working with Mercer in Sydney and London, before finally joining LCP.
 What is the defining moment of your career to date?
 My career has very much been defined by the amazing opportunities that have come my way. This has been the case right from the start, for example, when I was posted on secondment in my second week as a graduate. Then later I helped the Department of Finance in Australia set Government policy. More recently I’ve been helping my clients set up new actuarial functions and respond to emerging challenges such as Brexit. Throughout all of this, I’ve really enjoyed the variety of the work – and this has helped me to develop as a consultant by thinking more widely about how to help solve my clients’ challenges.
 In your opinion, what prepared you best to take on your current role?
 Learning from the awesome people I have worked with and hands-on experience of different areas of work. I remember a whole series of “firsts” that have helped me be better in my role – from hearing specific phrases that help explain technical concepts, to learning from how others respond to tricky situations, to the first time I saw actuarial predictions in action with uncanny accuracy!
 What is the biggest challenge you face in your role within this market?
 The soft market is a continued challenge for insurers. This is affecting the market in a number of ways – including reduced profitability, a focus on expense ratios and increased regulatory supervision. In my role, I am helping my clients to navigate this landscape, including to provide a clear picture of unprofitable areas of business, streamline processes and stay on top of regulatory hot topics.
 How does your actuarial training and background assist in your day-to-day role now?
 My actuarial training and background is still an important part of my role, in particular where I am Chief Actuary, or where I advise my clients on technical actuarial work. However, it’s a much smaller part than it used to be – with a lot of my time now spent meeting clients and leading the team.
 When did you first join the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries, and what advice would you give to those students looking to emulate your career path?
 I joined the profession in 2000. My advice is to do a role you enjoy, work with people that energise you, and stay curious. Also, regularly ask for honest feedback and think about the variety within your work to ensure you continue to develop yourself both during and after the exams.
 If you had your time again, what would you do, career-wise?
 I’m very happy with how things have gone so far, so I wouldn’t want to change too much. If I hadn’t trained as an actuary, then I would have most likely been an IT developer or a lawyer.
 Please share your favourite piece of trivia with our readers!
 I’m writing this from this year’s GIRO conference in Birmingham, and I’ve just learnt that Birmingham has more canals than Venice – so that’s definitely my favourite fun fact right now!

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