I'm overseeing one of the most exciting projects Milliman has ever undertaken: the actuarial systems transformation project for a large UK insurer. It's a huge job and there are a number of differences between this and a typical project. We're essentially blowing up the company's entire actuarial process and redesigning the actuarial systems infrastructure and the processes surrounding it. While it is rare to have the opportunity to start from scratch, another key aspect of the project that makes it unique is that we have been asked to "become part of their company" for the next two-and-a-half years. We'll work on site with their actuaries to gain a clear understanding of current processes, understand what needs to change due to new regulations, and help work out the best way to go forward together.
This project has the ability to transform the way insurance companies get their work done. We're giving companies powerful tools to create an infrastructure that will allow them to work much more efficiently and effectively. This project also provides us entrée into the U.K. and Europe at a very critical time. We can take this experience to companies who are not very well prepared for Solvency II and say, "We have the knowledge, tools, and experience to prepare you for Solvency II, but more importantly, we can help you benefit from the change."
Recognizing you don't know everything is more important than trying to prove that you do. Landing such a large project was unbelievably rewarding. The client conducted a debriefing session to tell us why Milliman won the project, and that was very helpful. They told us that, unlike our competitors, we were willing to listen. We didn't just come in and tell them how to get the job done. While we brought a great deal of knowledge to the table, we were also willing to work in concert with them and allow them to offer ideas.
I moved from Seattle to Birmingham, U.K., to take on this project. I have two grown sons who live on the East Coast of the United States: One is in New York and the other is in Philadelphia. But the flight from Seattle to Philadelphia is almost the same time as the flight from Philadelphia to London, so it's worked out well.
Last year I went to the Cannes Film Festival to see my son's film in competition. Even though we were in the middle of trying to win this big project, there was no way I was going to miss it. But all the flights were cancelled because of weather, so I took the train to Paris and then drove to Cannes. Just as I arrived, they were starting the press conference for his movie. It was surreal to see my little boy at a press conference at Cannes. It was almost unbelievable to see someone you love and have nurtured in that setting. I was very proud of him that day and I love seeing other projects that he has produced.
What's really special about being elected an equity principal within Milliman is the fact that it represents the recognition of your peers. And your peers at Milliman are such incredible people. They're just the best in their industries. So to be recognized as their partner was pretty overwhelming and an incredible honor.
The most significant outcome of my work is putting the right tools in the hands of creative, bright people. I help talented actuaries realize their potential so they can bring real value to their clients. I help them communicate with companies who really need their help, who may not even realize they need their help.