6 months into Actuarial Graduate scheme at an general insurance company - AMA

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imybowie97
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Hey everyone. So I'm currently on my lunch break and somehow ended up back on TSR after a few years (had to make a new account though as lost my old one).

For some background, I've just turned 23, I did A levels Maths, Further Maths & Physics in 2015 with A*AA. I have a BSc Physics from KCL and a MSc Financial Maths from UoL, with a high 2.1 and distinction achieved. I started this role in September after finishing my masters. I did an Actuarial internship in the summer between my BSc and MSc.

I'm on a 3 year rotational graduate scheme, currently in Pricing and will be rotating through Reserving and Capital. There is also an opportunity for a 3 month international secondment with choices between USA/European cities/Singapore/Bermuda etc.
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AdamCor
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I'm trying to get a graduate role in the Actuarial field, so a few questions:

What company do you work at?
What's the daily life like?
And can you give any advice for applying for these schemes (or maybe even recommend me to get hired lmao)?
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imybowie97
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(Original post by AdamCor)
I'm trying to get a graduate role in the Actuarial field, so a few questions:

What company do you work at?
What's the daily life like?
And can you give any advice for applying for these schemes (or maybe even recommend me to get hired lmao)?
Hey, for the company message me privately please! Daily life depends on whether it’s exam season or not:

Not exam season
Get to work between 8:15-9:30 (depending on my work load/meetings etc). Have breakfast from the cafe at my desk whilst checking emails. Usually only have a couple meetings so most of my time is spent working on various projects for the underwriters in Excel, VBA or Tableau. This could be tracking loss ratios for various policies or doing deep depth analysis into one policy’s history over the last few years.

Exam season (6 weeks before exam): get in at 7/7:30 am and study for 2 hours before work (this means I can have evenings to myself). Work until 5:30/6. weekends also spent studying sadly lol.

Advice for applying - practice some mathsy style problems. All my Actuarial interviews had an element of working through a problem, they don’t mind if you get it wrong they’re just interested in your thought process. Also when in the online test stage, try find out the provider of the online tests they use and google practice tests for that type before you set the real thing. For both video and in person interview make sure you have absorbed as much as you can about the company and it’s culture. Where I work they have a core set of values listed on their website - I made sure I could back up a reason why I fit each of these on the website. So search the company’s competencies etc.
If you don’t get on a graduate scheme look out for graduate entry jobs. Search actuarial recruiter on LinkedIn and connect with all of them - set up coffees/phone calls and get your CV out there. Some lined up interviews for me (I didn’t end up attending bc I got onto a graduate scheme before they were due to happen) and they were able to skip some states of the recruitment.
Where I’m working aren’t recruiting for actuarial grads for 2020 sadly but they are for 2021.
Hope that helps. Message if you have any more questions!
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vamonolnytnz
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How do you find it overall? Is the work interesting? Do you see a lot of potential for the future of this industry? How integrated are new technologies into your role? Are you making progress towards qualification and how does your company support you with this? What's the progression like in terms of position and salary?
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xyolox
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Hi,

Thanks very much for doing this! I have very much applied to many actuarial positions, and now finalising whether this is, indeed, the route that I want to take. I'm currently deciding between Life and GI offers, leaning towards Life because of the "more relaxed" lifestyle and more focus on finance atm.

Anyway,
-How big is your firm? Was it a large or small joining co-hort? What do you and your colleagues do for lunch? Is it usually sit at desk lunch or going out?
-What are your working hours during normal time? Apart from these exceptional times, is working from home a regular thing, or frowned upon, especially for junior staff?
-Which industry has the most jobs (I know GI is growing rapidly compared to Life). From your insights, 5 years down the line, which industry do you think it would be easier to find a job, e.g. when relocating or something?

Thanks in advance!
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imybowie97
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(Original post by vamonolnytnz)
How do you find it overall? Is the work interesting? Do you see a lot of potential for the future of this industry? How integrated are new technologies into your role? Are you making progress towards qualification and how does your company support you with this? What's the progression like in terms of position and salary?
I enjoy it, I work in Specialty at the moment so I like how interesting the risks are. A lot of Data Science techniques are being integrated into the profession so if you can learn these it will give you an advantage. As of 30 minutes ago my exam progression is being somewhat halted due to Covid19 so my planned exam sitting for April has been cancelled and I’ll sit it in September instead. A bit annoying but ah well. You get salary increases for passing each exam ranging from £500-2000 depending on the size/difficulty of the exam. In terms of progression I’m on a rotational grad scheme so I’ll be moving to other roles in line with mine rather than up the ladder as such, but this is only for 3 years and I think more beneficial for later in my career.
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imybowie97
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(Original post by xyolox)
Hi,

Thanks very much for doing this! I have very much applied to many actuarial positions, and now finalising whether this is, indeed, the route that I want to take. I'm currently deciding between Life and GI offers, leaning towards Life because of the "more relaxed" lifestyle and more focus on finance atm.

Anyway,
-How big is your firm? Was it a large or small joining co-hort? What do you and your colleagues do for lunch? Is it usually sit at desk lunch or going out?
-What are your working hours during normal time? Apart from these exceptional times, is working from home a regular thing, or frowned upon, especially for junior staff?
-Which industry has the most jobs (I know GI is growing rapidly compared to Life). From your insights, 5 years down the line, which industry do you think it would be easier to find a job, e.g. when relocating or something?

Thanks in advance!
The insurance company I work for has about 3000 people worldwide. They hired 25 graduates worldwide for 2019 intake and 4 actuarial grads.
We have monthly team lunches where we go out to a nice place for 1-1.5 hours. On a normal day I usually meet the other grads and chat to them whilst eating for 45 mins to an hour. If I’m going to the gym (45 min class) I’ll eat lunch at my desk but that’s my choice. My manager has lunch at her desk but she has PT sessions at 3pm so that’s effectively her lunch break instead.
My advice was to be in the office as much as possible in my first 3-6 months and after that I can work from home more often. In the past they’ve been fine with me doing it because of appointments, waiting in for Broadband engineers and even when I got back from a flight at 6am from NYC but didn’t want to take annual leave.
On an average day, working hours usually starting between 8:15-9:30 and leaving between 5:30-6. This depends a lot on your team though. Our standard hours are 9:30-5:30.
In London its very GI heavy. Outside of London Life is bigger, so where you want to be geographically should impact your decision between the two. There are very few GI roles outside of London (there are some just not as many). Personally I liked GI due to finding niche insurance products like Space, Kidnapping insurance etc more interesting. I work for a specialty insurer though so I encounter more of these than most people do. I’m probably not experienced enough to predict which would be better in 5 years but just go with which you find more interesting to you. This will help at your interviews too as the interviewers will appreciate you being genuinely interested in the field.
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vamonolnytnz
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(Original post by imybowie97)
I enjoy it, I work in Specialty at the moment so I like how interesting the risks are. A lot of Data Science techniques are being integrated into the profession so if you can learn these it will give you an advantage. As of 30 minutes ago my exam progression is being somewhat halted due to Covid19 so my planned exam sitting for April has been cancelled and I’ll sit it in September instead. A bit annoying but ah well. You get salary increases for passing each exam ranging from £500-2000 depending on the size/difficulty of the exam. In terms of progression I’m on a rotational grad scheme so I’ll be moving to other roles in line with mine rather than up the ladder as such, but this is only for 3 years and I think more beneficial for later in my career.
Thanks for your reply!

How long do you anticipate it will take you to qualify fully as a fellow of the IFoA? I've read that 5-7 years is usually what is expected?
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xyolox
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(Original post by imybowie97)
The insurance company I work for has about 3000 people worldwide. They hired 25 graduates worldwide for 2019 intake and 4 actuarial grads.
We have monthly team lunches where we go out to a nice place for 1-1.5 hours. On a normal day I usually meet the other grads and chat to them whilst eating for 45 mins to an hour. If I’m going to the gym (45 min class) I’ll eat lunch at my desk but that’s my choice. My manager has lunch at her desk but she has PT sessions at 3pm so that’s effectively her lunch break instead.
My advice was to be in the office as much as possible in my first 3-6 months and after that I can work from home more often. In the past they’ve been fine with me doing it because of appointments, waiting in for Broadband engineers and even when I got back from a flight at 6am from NYC but didn’t want to take annual leave.
On an average day, working hours usually starting between 8:15-9:30 and leaving between 5:30-6. This depends a lot on your team though. Our standard hours are 9:30-5:30.
In London its very GI heavy. Outside of London Life is bigger, so where you want to be geographically should impact your decision between the two. There are very few GI roles outside of London (there are some just not as many). Personally I liked GI due to finding niche insurance products like Space, Kidnapping insurance etc more interesting. I work for a specialty insurer though so I encounter more of these than most people do. I’m probably not experienced enough to predict which would be better in 5 years but just go with which you find more interesting to you. This will help at your interviews too as the interviewers will appreciate you being genuinely interested in the field.
Thank you very much for your insight!
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imybowie97
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(Original post by vamonolnytnz)
Thanks for your reply!

How long do you anticipate it will take you to qualify fully as a fellow of the IFoA? I've read that 5-7 years is usually what is expected?
It’s hard to say as it depends on the persons background with exemptions and how they are with exams. In my team at work my manager qualified (1 exemption) in 2.5 years (exceptionally fast) and another in 4 years (pretty standard). Someone else I know took 6 years.
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