Articles - Launch of the LV= Actuarial Academy

 Written by Myles Rix of LV= Actuarial Academy 

  Recruiting and developing the right talent is key to good business and growth, which is why LV= has taken the decision to launch its Actuarial Academy. The new academy has been designed to give a structured pathway to actuarial qualification and to support ongoing employee development. 

  Every year LV= recruits a number of high calibre graduates to be trained as actuaries and currently employs around sixty qualified actuaries and student actuaries across the company. As a diverse business offering general insurance, life, pensions and asset management products, LV= actuaries need to have wide ranging knowledge and experience depending on which part of the business they work in. Growing and sharing knowledge is at the core of the new Actuarial Academy and its development has required the business to rethink its current career progression programme.

  The first phase of introducing the new academy to the business involved agreeing and categorising the core skills and competencies required at different actuarial levels across LV=. By having a consistent competency framework for all actuaries and student actuaries, managers have been able to identify opportunities for development and role rotation across different sectors. Role rotation is dependent on academy students having sufficient knowledge to move across different areas and the length of the move will be directly linked to the student’s experience. Placements will typically be between six months and two years, depending on the individual’s performance and the business need. This is particularly attractive to junior staff as it allows them to broaden their experience without leaving the business and in turn, enables LV= to retain its skilled staff.

  The Actuarial Academy provides a clear career progression framework for all actuarial staff so that both existing employees and new recruits can map out their personal career development.  With clearly defined job roles and competency frameworks, those newer to the actuarial profession can look ahead to see what skills and abilities they need to take the next step in their career and work with the academy to reach it.  LV= invests significant training budget for academy members whether qualified or studying to guarantee access to ongoing learning at all levels. Technical training will be delivered through a combination of on-the-job learning, external education through recognised providers and access to industry conferences and events.  All academy members are encouraged and supported to attain professional qualifications and become members of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries.

  In addition to technical training, academy members will benefit from informal training with their colleagues in the workplace. Regular “Lunch & Learn” sessions encourage the actuarial community from across the business to get together and share knowledge and skills.  External and internal speakers will lead the sessions, which will cover a range of topical industry issues, as well as broader business issues and will be targeted at different levels of experience.  The sessions also count towards the technical hours required by the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries’ CPD programme.

  There has been much debate of late about the need for “soft skills” within the actuarial profession. It is widely accepted that a good actuary needs to be astute with numbers and commercially aware, but this is not enough to be effective in the workplace. As an actuary progresses, they need to be able to motivate a team, present to the Board and deal with a whole host of business issues outside of their actuarial remit.

  LV= recognises the need to develop an individual’s talents beyond their technical ability and has designed learning modules for staff to help them achieve this.  Members of the Actuarial Academy have access to the LV= online learning programme, LeOn.  This has a wealth of material that can be accessed through the LV= intranet covering subjects such as: assertiveness, business writing skills, coaching and feedback, managing effective meetings, mentoring, negotiation skills and stress management, and use media such as e-learning, books and starter kits as well as more traditional face to face learning.  All modules are freely available to staff and completed modules can be counted towards the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries CPD programme.

  The success of the academy depends on employee engagement at every level - indeed the development of the academy itself has already brought a cross section of the business together, who have delivered a high quality programme within ambitious timeframes.  The Actuarial Academy launched in April this year.

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