What's your job about?
Finity operates as a consultancy for the general insurance industry, and, more broadly, any area industry can benefit from the capabilities of actuaries and statisticians.
Daily work is quite varied – clients can range from large self-insurers to overseas insurance start-ups to local listed insurers. Today, for example, I have spent the morning working with machine learning algorithms to deconstruct insurers’ CTP rates in NSW, to help inform a client’s pricing decisions. Following this I did some modelling for a motor insurance insurtech company; internal R&D, and some preparation for an internal training session I’ll be running next week! It’s a lot of hours spent in front of a computer, but it’s far from monotonous – I’ll be in excel one moment and then coding in R the next; there’s plenty of variety.
What's your background?
I grew up in the western suburbs of Melbourne; went to high school at St Kevin’s and then went straight into actuarial studies at the University of Melbourne. I didn’t have much of a reason for picking actuarial – it was more a process of elimination than anything – but the mathematical focus and clear career paths definitely appealed to me. Throughout uni, jobs of mine included tutoring and working at a sports store – before I was lucky enough to land an internship at Finity in second year, which led me to where I am today. The summer program – although perhaps less enjoyable than a standard summer break of lazing around all day every day – was a fantastic opportunity to get a feel for the company and decide if the firm, and the work I would be doing, would suit me in my years ahead. I strongly recommended taking up any internships available in your area of interest – it’s not only good experience, but a chance for you to evaluate a potential employer yourself and work out if they’re right for you.
Could someone with a different background do your job?
Yes – but it’d be tough. Anyone with a mathematical background, particularly in statistics and probability, could go into the workforce as an actuarial analyst. That said, this is necessary, but not sufficient: to do so one would need to have been very proficient in these areas; be a quick learner on the job, and be keen to learn about insurance – as you’ll inevitably be working on insurance applications no matter what jobs you’re assigned! If you’re looking to become an actuary, you’ll likely be a bit behind others in regards to your progress towards qualifying, not having done/been exempted from any of the professional examinations that are required. However, it’s nothing that can’t be overcome with some dedication!
What's the coolest thing about your job?
The best part about the job is being able to set your own pace. You’re not constrained by the number of years’ experience you have, who you tend to work with or what office you’re in. If you’re keen to lead a project, all you have to do is put your hand up. Thought of a new innovation that you want to dedicate some time towards? – just ask! If you decide there’s a certain practice area you want to gain some experience in, again, all you need to do is ask.
What are the limitations of your job?
It can definitely be a tough job. Mentally, you feel quite drained by the end of the day – concentrating at your peak for a standard 9 hour day does take it out of you. Sitting at a desk all day is also quite a drawback – definitely makes you want to be more active outside of work! Occasionally the nature of consulting work does require you to work long hours, or on weekends – but this is rare, and ‘donut days’ (that is, free days of leave in lieu) are encouraged after these busy periods. Studying while working can also be tough too – but that’s what you sign up for when you decide to become an actuary!
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