John Crooks graduated from Heriot-Watt University in July 2004 with a 2:1 in Actuarial Science. In July 2008, he completed his professional examinations which he took during his period as an actuarial trainee with Royal & Sun Alliance, one of the world's leading multinational insurance groups.
He says, "I really enjoyed the four years I spent at Heriot-Watt and feel that I now have a distinct advantage over other trainees because I studied there. The material I covered was very relevant and is helping me a lot with the work that Iím now doing in my job. You need to be dedicated and prepared to work hard to qualify as an actuary. I think that Heriot-Watt really helped instil this attitude in its students to give them a good chance of success"
John adds "During my time on the course, the staff were always very helpful, approachable and welcoming. If ever I had any problems with the material, they were just an email away and were also happy to help any time I visited them in their offices. The experiences that many of them have had in the actuarial profession mean that they are very qualified for what they do and that they are able to identify the main things that give students problems"
When John first started with Royal and Sun Alliance, he worked in the personal lines underwriting department. Straight away he was responsible for some of the account analysis and reporting his team had to provide - he produced the monthly report on the key performance indicators for the company's motor rescue book.
In October 2005, he took up a role in the actuarial pricing team and one year later moved to a new role in the MORE TH>N motor pricing department which he held throughout 2007. He was responsible for dynamic pricing, which involved building GLMs to estimate the lapse propensity of the company's portfolio. John goes on to tell us, "In early 2008, I became a member of the RSA Platinum Club - the Managing Director was very complimentary of my work and I won a free first class holiday to Marrakech! At the same time, I moved to the Group Actuarial team to do capital modelling. This involves building stochastic models of our entire business and using these models to do tasks such as perform our Individual Capital Assessment, which the FSA use to monitor our solvency. It's a really interesting job and I'm thoroughly enjoying learning lots of new actuarial work. In 2007 I passed CA2, ST2 and ST3 so I only had SA3 left this year. I got some great news in July - I qualified in the April exam sitting. What a relief !"
Jessie Wilson graduated from Heriot-Watt University in July 2006 with a First Class Honours in Actuarial Science. She now works as an Actuarial Analyst at HSBC in Edinburgh.