Lifestyle Article - Lights Camera Actuary Spotlight on Veekash Badal

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 Veekash Badal at Milliman.


 What is your current role, and how did you end up in it?
 I joined Milliman, a global risk and actuarial consultancy firm, primarily to develop its UK non-life practice within the Lloyd’s and the London Market. After many years as a company actuary fulfilling various roles, I wanted to use my experience within an organisation with ambition to grow but which already had a long-established presence in the London Market.

 What is the defining moment of your career to date?
 There have been several. If I had to pick one then it would be heading up a reserving team at the time of the 9/11 incident. People across all levels in the company were looking for guidance from me. I had to step up. It was an interesting period for actuaries at a time when they were finding their place in the London Market.

 In your opinion, what prepared you best to take on your current role?
 Taking advantage of excellent training and development earlier in my career and being in very challenging roles. This has taught to understand better the issues facing current London Market executives. Along the way, I have also built up a strong network of respected individuals within the insurance market.

 What is the biggest challenge you face in your role within this market?
 The market is changing rapidly, with the rise of cyber risk and insurtech, enhancements in actuarial models, machine learning, and the availability of vast amount of data from new technology. This is leading to major changes – possibly the biggest that I have seen in my career – in what the market seeks from actuaries. This is undoubtedly challenging but is also exciting, as it opens up new opportunities.

 How does your actuarial training and background assist in your day-to-day role now?
 I have been fortunate to have covered a range of functions within insurance in both analytical and leadership positions. I have managed reserving, capital, pricing, exposure management, risk management, compliance, and legal teams. The diversity of roles has provided me with a good insight into the insurance industry from all aspects and allows me to understand the challenge the clients are facing. As an actuary, you have to constantly demonstrate the value of your work, which is made easier if you have experienced a variety of roles.

 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?
 Many years ago. My advice would be to spend time to understand how your work has an impact on the company you work for and other stakeholders, both internally and externally. Know what you are good at and understand areas you have to develop – don’t be afraid of feedback. Choose your mentors wisely.

 If you had your time again, what would you do, career-wise?
 My actuarial career has been good to me, providing intellectual stimulation and a great circle of friends. But I think that I would also have enjoyed being a Marine Underwriter. Seems like they have a lot of fun to me! In all seriousness though, marine underwriting could gain the most from the advancements we are seeing in analytics. The knowledge and information is there to be tapped into.

 Otherwise, I am still waiting for the call to be the head of analytics at Arsenal.

 Please share your favourite piece of trivia with our readers!
 I think I might have been Zoe’s first placement. (Is that true?)

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