Getting to know Pardeep Bassi, Head of Data Science at LV=
1. How long have you worked at LV=?
I joined LV= just under a year ago, so I’m still fairly new. Before joining LV=, I led the Pricing team at Domestic and General where we implemented a full set of machine learning models for pricing and prior to that I was part of an innovation/ data science team at AXA.
2. What attracted you to this role and to LV=?
I knew that LV= had a really strong ambition and vision around how it saw machine learning driving business value. This is rare for an insurance company and it played a major part in my decision to join LV=.
3. What do you like most about your job?
The biggest thing that drives me is the potential impact we can have on the business. We have already begun delivering some of this potential but there is a lot more to come. The data science team currently comprises four data scientists and four data engineers, and we have all come from variety of different industries and backgrounds, including academia, banking, peer-to-peer lending, consultancy and insurance, so we each have a different approach and way of thinking which in turn has a positive impact on our strategy and approach.
4. And the least?
In some well-established performing companies it can be hard for change to occur and the pace of change can be very slow. I’d be lying if I said we didn’t have some of these challenges in LV= but the pace of change is a lot quicker here than what I’ve experienced in the past. It helps that the leadership team are on board with our clear vision of how machine learning can be used and the results it can deliver.
5. How is LV= applying machine learning?
We are in the process of applying it across a multitude of business areas- Marketing, Pricing, Claims, Fraud and Operations. You name it, we’re doing it. Many companies have data science teams but, if I’m honest, they’re not set up correctly so they unfortunately fail to deliver. That’s not the case at LV=. The key difference for us is that our team has a clear focus to deliver results. We’re not working on the theoretical applications of machine learning, we’re actually applying it. We have a very clear route to implementation which means we’re results focused, not research driven.
6. What type of people are you looking for in your growing team?
Anyone interested in being part of a dynamic team which has a clear vision and strategy to transform LV= in to a machine learning driven organisation. As I’ve said, we’re focused on delivery so there’s a great opportunity for someone to join and actually apply the practice and have a material impact, as opposed to simply proving a concept.
LV= serves over 5.8 million customers with a range of financial products. We are the UK’s largest friendly society and a leading financial mutual. We are currently the UK’s joint number one brand for Insurance and Investments, according to the 2016 YouGov Brand Index Buzz Rankings. We offer our services direct to consumers, as well as through IFAs and brokers.