Working as an actuary offers many opportunities to develop
Eleonora Andras began her career within SEB in 1997, after studying mathematics and mathematical statistics at Lunds University. Today, she works at SEB Life and Pension as an actuary. Her interest in mathematics has always been a driving force, but the fact that she ended up on this career path was by pure chance.
– At that time I barely knew what an actuary did, and insurance companies were never on my radar as possible employers. But when I saw an ad for the role of Junior Actuary at Trygg-Hansa, I thought “why not?”. After only my second workday, the news came that SEB had bought Trygg-Hansa. And that was a bit frightening on my part since I was still very new at the job. Luckily, I eventually ended up here in Life and Pension. So, you could say that I stumbled into this role, and I’m still here today.
What does an actuary do?
– The role of an actuary is quite broad, but most importantly we calculate actuarial provisions. In other words, this describes the debt we have towards our insurance policyholders. What makes this calculation so complex is that it’s based on assumptions. Having a profound mathematical background is therefore key - you need to be able to build and manage models that make it possible to evaluate future debt. I would say that this is the most important part of the actuary role, and also the most abstract.
In addition, the role also includes mapping out risks and reporting solvency, which describes how much financial strength the company has in securing its commitments. Here, actuary skills are needed to calculate capital requirements and parts of the capital base, or own funds. These are also model-dependent calculations, Eleonora says.
– You could say that the entire calculation of solvency is a teamwork, where all actuaries participate in their own way. Every person has a specific role and is responsible for a branch of activity, but there’s a common factor holding all calculations together. It’s almost like a puzzle - not until all pieces fall into place can we comment on the final result.
The best part of the role
– For someone who doesn’t understand mathematics it can seem like an incomprehensible world. Personally, I find it very fun, especially since numbers are quite clear and explicit. Of course, even numbers can be misinterpreted, but if you understand the conditions for how the numbers were produced, you can get straightforward answers. In that sense, it can actually be quite relaxing to work with, Eleonora says and continues:
– So, the most enjoyable part of the job is definitely the contents of it. However, having a good team and getting along with co-workers is of course a big advantage.
Life and Pension being part of SEB offers several advantages to both customers and employees, Eleonora explains. For customers, this not only means that there is a strong actor behind the brand, it also allows them to use different services at the same place. And for those working at Life and Pension, there are many career opportunities in-house.
– Working as an actuary is very complex, which offers many opportunities to develop. Over the years, I have taken on many different tasks and therefore broadened my skills through experience. This makes staying within SEB more interesting, as I have for the past years. If a new project becomes relevant, or if a role needs to be filled, you always have the opportunity to take it.