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Queen Mary team take on the Hiscox University Challenge

Two Queen Mary University of London students are among five teams selected to take part in this year’s Hiscox University Challenge.

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The Hiscox University Data Challenge is an annual competition hosted by specialist insurance company Hiscox, where students from across the UK take part in a challenge designed to test their data analysis skills.  Entrants will gain access to industry experts and valuable networking opportunities throughout the duration of the competition.

The team

Maximillian Michaelides and Merel Turksema, who are both studying Maths and Statistics at Queen Mary, are representing the University in the challenge this year. Throughout the competition, they have applied their own knowledge and analytical skills to the project. Quietly confident, they believe their small team size has worked to their advantage, as it has allowed them to develop a dynamic working relationship and each play a significant role in the project.

About the challenge

The challenge itself involved the student entrants putting themselves in the position of an insurance company – specifically one in Florida. As a state that is at high risk of hurricane activity, the insurance industry in Florida is under a lot of pressure to cover businesses for the potential damage and consequences of these natural – and destructive – disasters.

Each team was challenged with creating some innovative new KPIs (key performance indicators) that an insurance company could use to assess an individual business’ risks. Teams were provided with data sets covering historical hurricanes, past claims made to Floridian insurance companies, ocean patterns in the Atlantic, and more, to assist their project.

Though the challenge is specific to the insurance industry, it appealed to students with a broader interest in mathematics and data analysis. “It’s exciting to be able to do maths in a real-life working team setting,” explained Merel. Her teammate Max added, “We crunch numbers a lot, but we wanted to test our knowledge in something that would involve maths but also test our skills beyond it.”

Speaking of what she has learnt from the challenge, Merel said: “The concept of reinsurance is something I wasn’t familiar with before the challenge. So, being introduced to it at the intro session was eye opening – to see how different insurance companies can take shared responsibility for a single liability was really interesting”.

Congratulations to Merel and Maximillian for their hard work throughout the challenge. 


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