Uncategorised / Wednesday, 20 March, 2019

The Hiscox University Challenge


The Hiscox University Challenge is a national competition for students to develop creative solutions for tackling the challenges the insurance industry faces every day.

The team from the University of Leeds is made up of five students Keiran Suchak, Grace Eardley, Lu Liu, Nichipa Dejhomchuen and Leon Lok.

Meet the team

 – Why did you enter?

There are five of us in the team, with backgrounds in maths, psychology and physics. We were all motivated to take part because of our keen interest in working with data. As we move forward in the 21st century, everything is data driven!

So, getting some experience working with data in a real-life setting is an invaluable experience. It allows us to explore and develop our skills in more academic fields and apply them to a real-world scenario.

– Why should your team win?

When we looked at the project brief there were clear instructions centred around KPIs. But what we wanted to do is take it one step further, and hopefully create something more tangible which Hiscox could use, beyond producing a report and presentation. What we are doing is creating an online dashboard that Hiscox can log onto and interact with to see the impact of changing one small factor.

 – What was the most enjoyable moment?

As students, particularly ones who are interested in data science, it can become very easy to work in quite a solitary way and think that we have to sit there and get on with our work by ourselves. But, having a group of people around us who are all working on the same project makes it a lot more interesting and fun. When we meet up as a team, we’re exposed to ideas that we wouldn’t have thought of ourselves. In some ways, it’s a learning experience for all of us.

 – What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learnt?

Given the different backgrounds in our team, people contributed to the project with very different approaches and skillsets. Using myself as an example (Keiran), a lot of more of my work is writing code, so I never would have thought of using some of the methods others suggested, such as ones that were far more visual. I’ve learnt how powerful something visual can be.

– Talk us through your proposal

We decided to split our KPIs into three groups. First, are traditional KPIs, such as loss ratio. Second, is an environmental impact, like hurricane risk. Instead of being company-centric, these are more jurisdictionally distributed, specifically on a county level. The third set is socio-demographic – looking at income rates, age distribution, etc. in a county. Our goal at the end is to devise universal scores – one score for company risks, one for environmental risks and one score for socio-demographic risks. The idea behind this is that these scores can be rolled out for all regions, whether it is Florida or anywhere else.

About the challenge

Did you know that 40% of all US hurricanes hit Florida, accounting for roughly $24 billion in damage each year? Now imagine what that means for the insurance industry.

With the prevalence of these unavoidable natural disasters comes the need for specialist insurance products to cover local businesses for the damage, or loss of earnings that can be suffered in the wake of these destructive events.

It takes business savvy and industry awareness to know which companies to insure in these circumstances. This challenge is about seeing if you have what it takes to be successful in the world of insurance.

Participants are in for a chance to win fast-tracked entry to the Hiscox graduate assessment centre, access to industry experts and networking opportunities. Please see more details on the competition here: https://www.hiscox.co.uk/business-blog/university-data-challenge-2019/