Interview with the Organising Committee


Organising Committee Members (L-R) Shikha Bajpai, Ben Edwards, Dave Gregory, Raj Kanhai, Ivan Lebedev, Gavin Moore, Stephanie Russell, Neil Singleton and Convenor Vivian Tse have done a fantastic job putting together the 2021 IDSS.

They share with us their highlights in our latest interview below.

What attracted you to join the IDSS OC?

  • Vivian Tse: Initially when I first volunteered 8 years ago (for the GI Seminar OC), it was about broadening my networks and finding a new way for me to contribute to the Institute, having already done exam marking and been on the Actuaries Institute magazine editorial committee. In more recent years, I have really enjoyed the challenge of thinking about the big themes and issues for the industry, and finding speakers that would give us as practitioners a wider perspective.  It really makes us see how our work as actuaries fit into a broader picture of helping society.

  • Shikha Bajpai: My manager asked me if I would join the OC this year….and after thinking about it, I felt it would be a great opportunity to get involved in what is an important event in the injury and disability industry’s calendar.

  • Ben Edwards: I was on the OC 2 years ago, and one of the things I most enjoyed was the frequent collaboration from people different parts of the industry. It was a great opportunity to help shape the content for the seminar and ensure we collectively talk about the opportunities and challenges we face as an industry.

  • Ivan Lebedev: I saw it as an opportunity to contribute to the event that I have enjoyed for the past 15 years.


What movie plot line outlines your experience on the IDSS Organising Committee?

  • Vivian Tse: Not that we are fleeing from a brutal dictator, but for some reason Mad Max Fury Road popped into my mind – the race through the dessert.  The Organising Committee had to strategise on the key themes to feature at the seminar, and then use all our ingenuity to identify and source speakers from our networks, then convince them to take part.  It isn’t always successful with desired presenters not being found, available or interested.   There is always the time pressure as it always takes twice as long to lock in those last few speakers.  The Actuaries Institute team did a fantastic job in making the logistics of everything else smooth, keeping the rest of the OC organised, and bringing new conference ideas to the table (compliments to Sarah and Zoe, especially in this virtual environment), so that the rest of the OC could concentrate on content-related decisions.  

Share with us, your favourite IDSS memory.

  • Shikha Bajpai: at the time of writing this response it was {drum roll} meeting Dr Karl! But ask me the question again after the seminar…I am looking forward to hearing more from Dr Karl and of course learning from our wonderful speakers who are all industry experts.


If budget wasn’t a limitation, where would you like the 2023 IDSS to be held and why?

  • Shikha Bajpai: Anywhere in person…outside my local government areas and 5km radius 😊


Which session are you most looking forward to?

  • Shikha Bajpai: Ooh, hard to pick one because there are so many great presentations planned. I am rather looking forward to hearing from our keynote speaker Dr Dinesh Palipana – doctor, scientist, lecturer – how many more boxes could a person tick? Having watched Australian Story, I want to hear more from Dr P and what great things he has to offer the Australian community.

  • Dave Gregory: Relative to previous conferences, I'm looking forward to being able to enjoy the 8.30am session on Tuesday morning with a clear head and sunny disposition.

  • Ben Edwards: My own! I think the first plenary will be great. We often look to emerging technology and innovation that will impact our support systems, but this plenary will showcase the innovation being generated within our own industry. And I think we have pulled together a great line up of speakers who bring different perspectives on our achievements, and the challenges that we are facing to evolve as an industry.

  • Ivan Lebedev: The fourth plenary on new technologies. I find these topics fascinating.

  • Neil Singleton: I hope this conference delivers high quality presentations and generates thought provoking discussion which have been the hallmark of IDSS conferences for so many years.


Tell us about your role (in your organisation)?

  • Vivian Tse: Over the years, I have observed the significant evolution of the actuarial profession and it is only going to continue.  Our work has taken us well outside of the traditional insurance space.  As a partner at EY, I’m really looking forward to furthering that journey, and marry it with how we can better serve the community, whether it is insights on how vulnerable people can be better looked after, how the system can be more efficient and effective in delivery given limited resources, supporting with risk prevention mechanisms, amongst many other worthy causes.

  • Raj Kanhai: As a Principal, CTP Practice lead and part of the Management Consulting team at Finity, my areas of focus have been primarily claims management related. This has been both at a strategic and operational level, including reviewing personal injury schemes and operating models, performance management, addressing claims fraud and leakage. A big part of my role more recently has been helping clients navigate changes in the regulatory environment including the (Hayne) Royal Commission implementation.

  • Shikha Bajpai: I provide actuarial support to the NSW Lifetime Care and Support Scheme, the Motor Accidents Injury Treatment and Care Benefits scheme and the Dust Disease Authority. My role is really about investigating data to see where the stories told by data fit in with what’s happening on the frontline, what I hear from other experts, and what I hear and read about the environment in which the schemes operate. This requires talking to lots of people who bring different perspectives. It involves sharing information, asking questions, listening, reviewing, adjusting, sharing information, asking questions, listening, reviewing, adjusting …and on and on it goes.


What attracted you to the Injury and Disability industry?

  • Raj Kanhai: Like most, I fell into the industry. I was doing my post-graduate studies and saw a job advertised at Law School – it was for a CTP claims officer. Initially, I thought it would a temporary thing before I moved back to Melbourne and into the legal industry. 26 years later, and I can say that I have really enjoyed building a career in insurance and personal injury management – I’ve been blessed with working on interesting and varied jobs and building wonderful professional and personal relationships with great people. 
  • Shikha Bajpai: it started as job where I could apply actuarial skills, but my view has changed over time. Playing a small part in helping injured people, and working with people who are passionate about supporting people with injuries and disabilities, has me hooked


If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be?

  • Vivian Tse: I have always wondered what it would take for greater harmonisation across jurisdictions – recognising there are many challenges.  The recent COVID situation demonstrated these challenges.  I guess that ideal is further away than I hoped!  

  • Raj Kanhai: I would love to see insurance claims management becoming a professionalised and highly sought after career choice. It should be something that people want to be a part of rather than mostly falling into it!

  • Shikha Bajpai: The industry does a great job but there is always room for improvement… like making it easier for injured people. There is more we could do to simplify processes for policy holders and injured persons, we could better integrate interaction between health care services and injury insurance schemes, change fault-based schemes to schemes that are not based on fault status…that’s more than one thing.

  • Ivan Lebedev: I would model in on NZ ACC: create uniform national laws, have no-fault benefits, combine all schemes into one.

What will you miss most, about the in-person IDSS?

  • Shikha Bajpai: meeting and speaking with people I wouldn’t otherwise have an opportunity to meet in person…until the next IDSS which I hope will be in person

  • Dave Gregory: Definitely the networking aspect of it.  It's always great catching up with former colleagues and friends in the industry.

  • Ivan Lebedev: Social events: ice breaker drinks on Sunday night, conference dinner, catching up with colleagues at coffee breaks.