Russell apprentices: Investing in future (re)insurance skills and talent

Russell Group’s Suki Basi explains why investing in talent is critical in order to manage the connected risk threat.

The connected risk threat is complex, and requires storytelling abilities through insights and solutions that are recognised by clients, partners and the media. Furthermore, in a competitive recruitment market, the idea of being a talent spotter and coach, and mentoring that talent, is going to be key to delivering forward-looking connected insights and solutions.

The purpose of the Russell Academy is to develop undergraduates into skilled (re)insurance and corporate professionals in the technological areas of importance to Russell Group’s strategy of building connected solutions for connected risks.

New skills

At present, every Russell Academy student engages in a curriculum of data science, full-stack development, and data storytelling, analytics and visualisation to make them effective and useful members of our existing team. All our students have started on the same path: they begin with Python and C#, learning the basics of logical processes and programming. This is followed by training in SQL for an understanding of databases and information storage. From here, they move on to data visualisation techniques with Power BI, where they will work on company-wide projects to initiate their data storytelling skills development.

From aviation to cyber

The students have all achieved an independently verified Power BI skill through Udemy and are currently working in RStudio to give them powerful techniques in data analysis to import, access, transform, explore, plot and model data, and for machine learning to make predictions on data. At this point, they have worked on a wide variety of datasets from small to large and will be working with datasets that power the ALPS product suite from aviation through to cyber.

In addition, the Russell Academy is developing certification and training that will lead to the Foundational Insurance Test for all employees of Russell Group involved in the insurance side. For those interested in a more in-depth knowledge, there will be the possibility to extend their certification to the certificate, diploma or even advanced diploma level, which is equivalent to a BSc degree. There is a pathway for employees looking to develop a specialism working with underwriters, strategic claims management and insurance corporate management professionals.

Suki Basi is managing director of Russell Group