11 March 2024

Young risk professional of the year: Megan Hart, Hymans Robertson

InsuranceERM recognises the excellent achievement of Megan Hart from Hymans Robertson who has been named young risk professional of the year.

Megan HartHart picks up this prestigious award for her dedication, adaptability and passion for tackling complex challenges, a shining example for aspiring risk professionals everywhere.

Joining Hymans Robertson in 2019, Hart quickly established herself as a key player in the consultancy's insurance team. She was promptly promoted to the position of senior consultant at the start of 2022, and she has been selected by the firm to participate in a 12-month "future leaders" training plan to consolidate her leadership skills.

Her focus on longevity risk management brought her face-to-face with the uncertainties of the Covid-19 pandemic. Undeterred, she spearheaded the development of new approaches to setting mortality assumptions, leading a team of consultants to deliver crucial advice to clients amidst unprecedented change.

Hart's impact extends far beyond technical prowess. She champions data visualisation, making complex insights accessible and valuable to diverse audiences. Also, her exploration of AI applications further demonstrates her vision for shaping the future of risk management.

Such skills are leading Hart's expertise to be sought after by industry leaders. She has played a pivotal role in high-profile projects involving longevity internal models and has also been the consultancy's project lead for several bulk purchase annuity (BPA) transactions, including two of the largest deals on record.

Broader industry recognition has accompanied her achievements, with appearances at prestigious events like the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries' Life Conference and invitations to present at international conferences.

Hart is also proving herself to be an enthusiastic team leader, and she supports three consultants with career development, as well as helping with the recruitment and promotion of the growing team.

InsuranceERM spoke with Hart to find out more about the young risk professional behind the award.

Tell us about yourself and your journey in the risk management field?

I am a senior consultant in the insurance and financial services team at Hymans Robertson. I've worked here nearly five years. I live in Bristol with my fiancé and our (spoilt) cat Valentina. My role is focused on longevity risk management. It involves helping our clients with pricing transactions, reviewing their best estimate assumptions and supporting them with changes to their longevity capital models.

My career in risk management began at Just Group where I also focused on longevity. While I was there, I qualified as an actuary. Before I committed to the actuarial exams, I worked in asset management for three years. This included a stint at UBS following university and then in a investor relations team for a small hedge fund. I learnt a lot in these roles, but I am definitely more suited to an actuarial career in risk.

What are some of the biggest challenges you've faced in your career and how did you overcome them?

Covid-19 introduced lots of challenges for actuaries working in longevity risk management. I've led the development of our advice on how to set trend assumptions following the pandemic. This has become a hot topic for our clients as the usual models we rely on are very sensitive to recent data.

We've had to re-think our approach to setting and applying trend assumptions, whilst also putting ourselves out there in terms of assessing the impact. This was particularly difficult during the height of the pandemic when the world was very uncertain and changing so quickly.

What are your thoughts on the current state of the risk management industry, and what are some of the emerging trends you see?

There is a lot going on! Post-pandemic mortality trends are going to continue to be a big area of focus for our clients with longevity exposure. Climate change, and how we adapt to it, is going to have a huge impact on both assets and liabilities and this is keeping my investment ALM colleagues busy.

The growth of artificial intelligence has the potential to have a really positive impact on the way we work, but also introduces significant risks which will definitely create challenges for risk managers in the future. The geopolitical environment is going to create significant uncertainty going forward as well.

What are you most proud of in your work as a young risk professional?

Probably my growth within the team at Hymans Robertson and navigating the shift from working in industry to consultancy. I've been given the opportunity to do so much in the past five years including, conference presentations, high profile client work and representing the firm within the Abelica Global group where I was recently given the opportunity to present at a conference in India.

I have really learnt a lot from my team and a lot of my role now is around developing others by sharing my experience and knowledge. I'm proud of how far I've come, including winning this award! And it is great to see growth in others within the team too.

What are your goals for the future, both personally and professionally?

I don't have a clear trajectory for my career, but want to continue doing the things that keep me interested, challenged and motivated. I really enjoy improving the way we do things so, professionally speaking I'm looking for my role to move in that direction, whether it be removing manual processes, leveraging better technology, or supporting our team in their development.

Personally speaking, I have a lot of ambitions relating to renovating my house which is taking up a lot of my time outside of work!

What advice would you give to young professionals who are interested in pursuing a career in risk management?

I think for those starting out in this area, I would encourage them to be curious, ask lots of questions and challenge the reasons for doing things. I think truly understanding the work you're doing and why you're doing it helps when you need to adapt and apply your experience to a new situation – which we do a lot of in risk consulting.