Oxbow Partners is a rapidly growing strategy consultancy for the insurance industry. We advise senior leaders at some of the world’s leading (re)insurers, brokers and investors on a wide range of topics critical to their short-term and long-term success. We work on strategy, operations, technology, transformation and due diligence across reinsurance, Lloyd’s and Specialty, and UK&I retail insurance.
Our clients are generally C-suite executives, and we are long-term trusted advisors to many of them. We are based in London, but our engagements take our teams around the world to places like Bermuda, Zurich, Munich and Dublin. Often our clients ask us to venture into new areas as they value our insight, ability to get to grips with new topics quickly, and working style.
Tesco is one of the UK’s best-known brands. Tesco also offers financial services including insurance through Tesco Bank. We helped Tesco work out how to make its insurance “more Tesco” through a range of strategy projects, culminating in a big business transformation. You can read a case study here.
Many risks in the commercial insurance market are “syndicated”, which means that the risk is shared by a group of insurers. We helped the CEO of a well-known insurer work out a strategy for following efficiently – balancing the need to be efficient with the need to understand their portfolio.
Our client is a prominent UK retail brand. The client has a financial services proposition, which was undergoing a strategic reorientation. We were initially asked to help work out how they should set up their insurance business, but ended up working on strategy and the broader retail financial services (e.g. credit cards) operating model.
A large reinsurer had developed a proprietary technology platform but found the technology team had become detached from the underwriting team as the business had got bigger. We supported the business work out how to organise themselves so that IT was better connected to the business.
A leading reinsurer wanted to reinvent their underwriting operations to eliminate pain points and harness future opportunities in digital. We supported the client through a multi-year transformation programme that covered everything from culture through to their core processes.
Our client is a leading UK investor. We were engaged to look at a company they were considering buying, a UK insurance broker. During this process we assess the company’s strategy, management team, operating set-up and more.
Confused by those projects? Here’s what insurance is all about.
The retail insurance market is what most people see – insuring cars and homes and sometimes mobile phones, boats and other things in your life. In fact, you might insure your life too. In the retail market, companies are generally local, or local entities that are part of large international groups. In this part of the market, companies are trying to find an “edge” in a massive, highly commoditised market, whilst simultaneously working out what changes to, say, automotive technology means for the future of their core product.
Businesses have to buy insurance too. Commercial insurers provide insurance for everything from shops to solar farms and banks. In this market, insurance is provided by local companies, global players and the Lloyd’s of London market. Leading insurers in this part of the market are brilliant at understanding and quantifying the unique exposures that their clients face and building optimised portfolios of risks.
Because insurance touches every industry in every country, our work takes us into lots of different industries. Our teams have learnt about everything from cross-border e-commerce in New Zealand to farming in Ireland and construction in Florida.
Reinsurers provide insurance to insurance companies. Why is that needed?
Insurance works on the basis that bad things don’t generally all happen at once. For example, someone might crash their car this year, but is unlikely to crash it every year.
But sometimes things do all happen at once. For example, there could be a flood or a hurricane in which lots of houses, cars, shops, solar farms or aeroplanes get damaged or destroyed. Or a single loss could be much bigger than expected. In 2012 a car careered off a motorway bridge and onto a railway line, where it was hit by a train that just happened to be passing. The train then derailed and was hit by a freight train coming the other way. The combined claim was well into double digit millions of pounds – an amount that no insurance company could bear by itself, which is why they also buy insurance (called reinsurance).
Reinsurance is a global game with centres in London, Munich, Zurich and Bermuda.
The insurance industry is vast and complicated. The industry employs people who are great at maths to help with risk analysis and pricing, creatives to help with marketing, relationship managers for corporate sales, technologists and data scientists, project managers and much more. This is reflected in our varied project portfolio – no two projects are the same.
My internship at Oxbow Partners was not only truly rewarding in terms of my professional development, but I quickly felt part of a family. I was given ample exposure to a diverse array of projects, which created an incredibly supportive and stimulating learning environment wherein my opinions were valued, and my contributions had material impact on high-profile cases.
An internship at Oxbow Partners doesn’t feel like a simulation or a practice run; you really get to do the work of a consultant. I was given space to contribute my own ideas and felt supported throughout, which was invaluable for my professional and personal development. The small cohort of interns made it easier to integrate into the team as a whole, getting to know others as colleagues and as mentors.
The internship at Oxbow Partners was a hugely rewarding experience. Within the first few days, I was assigned to a live project. The company has a non-hierarchical culture, so I immediately felt valued when contributing. I worked alongside the partners and senior team members and although I was given a lot of responsibility, I was closely supported and always felt comfortable to reach out for help or feedback.
In the first few days of your internship, you’ll undertake a variety of training. This includes some basic consulting skills training like Excel and ‘soft skills’ training.
You will then likely join a client project and have to get up to speed quickly with what’s been done so far. On the project you’ll work with 2 to 5 other members of the Oxbow Partners team. You may be asked to research particular topics or build a financial projection model. You’ll always be asked to present your findings to your manager, team or client. You’ll be based in our London office but you could find yourself working somewhere like Paris, Dublin, Munich, Zurich or Bermuda.
If you’re not on a project, there’s plenty of other things to do. Our Magellan™ platform always needs people to help think through the next phase of development, or you might be asked to help with proposals or pitches.
At the end of the internship, we’ll hope to offer you a full-time position for when you graduate. Unlike other consultancies, we have no quotas because we are growing fast. That means you don’t have to compete with your fellow interns but can work together to make sure you all get a job.
Our team has a broad range of backgrounds and interests, but we have two things in common.
First, nobody expected to go into insurance when they were at university but stumbled into the industry and has found it to be a huge, complex and fascinating space.
Second, every member of our team is an outperformer, always striving to be the best. They have shown this by attending a top university, playing sport to a high level or mastering a skill like singing in a choir or learning a language.
At interview we like hearing about the knocks people have taken and how they’ve bounced back because success is rarely gained without some bumps.
But we do not want robots and we certainly don’t want egos. We are a close-knit team where everyone is expected to support each other. There is no need or tolerance for sharp elbows.
Successful candidates are therefore sharp thinkers, have interests outside of work, enjoy being successful and love working in a team. We hire from all degree subjects. Insurance knowledge is not expected.
Interview with Capua, our external graduate recruitment company, to discuss your motivations and experiences and attributes and test your problem solving and analytical skills.
You will meet two of our managers over the two interviews. In the first interview you will be asked about yourself, your motivations and experiences, similar to Round 1. You will also be asked a series of questions to assess whether or not you have the competencies we look for in a consultant.
For the business case study, you will be immersed into a client scenario and provided with data. You’ll need to work through some analysis and make recommendations on what the client should do. You will be asked to prepare some written material to present during the interview. You do not need to prepare in advance or have any technical knowledge, but we recommend you practice doing consulting case studies.
Final interview with either a Principal or Partner. There is no fixed format to this interview but it is likely to range from competency questions, a short case study to discussing your interests. If this interview is with a Principal there may be a short follow-up call with a Partner.
We welcome applications from international students who are eligible for a post-study work permit after graduation.
You will need to send your CV to [email protected].