• Name: Eryk Wisniewski
  • Job Title: Actuarial Pricing Analyst
  • Location: Whiteley, Hampshire
  • University: University College Dublin
  • Degree: Financial and Actuarial Maths Degree
  • Areas of Specialism: Claims

Why did you choose this profession?

I heard about actuarial as a career by accident when I was at school. I was originally looking into options such as being a doctor or a lawyer as my parents were keen for me to have a stable job with good prospects. My guidance counsellor at school saw my maths and accountancy skills and asked me if I’d thought about being an actuary. I had no idea what it was so did some research and thought it sounded perfect for me. It’s a role that was consistently hitting top 10 jobs lists, has great work/life balance, interesting work and to top it off a good salary too.

A lot of my peers didn’t go to university and were in jobs that bored them. They were in the types of roles where they’d do the same thing over and over again. I knew this wasn’t for me – I wanted a career where you constantly learn and have opportunities to improve yourself and feel like you’re moving in an upward path. Actuarial checked all the boxes for me and I can definitely say that it hasn’t disappointed me.

How did you get your job at Zurich?

After going to university in Ireland, I joined Zurich on their actuarial graduate scheme. I’d previously completed an internship at a bank whilst studying and they’d offered me a role with them. I knew it didn’t feel right for me and I wanted to be in actuarial so I took a risk and rejected their offer. I did apply to some roles in Ireland too but really wanted to move to the UK and see more of the world. When I found out that I was invited for an interview I was so thrilled and am so pleased that I’m now working here. I couldn’t have landed in a better place.

What are your main duties?

I’m currently in the high net worth pricing team as an actuarial pricing analyst. It’s a really interesting area that has its own niche aspects. One day I might be working with data and reporting on new claims to see if we need to adjust our premiums. Another I could be working on creating models to help us predict future trends for our policies. There’s lots of opportunities to work with other areas of our business, such as our claims and reserving teams, where we share planning and align our views. There’s also regulation work I get involved with too. I love how my role is so varied, I never get bored!

Is it a 9-5 job?

The beauty of my role is that it’s not fixed and as long as I’m delivering what I need to, I get to set how it works myself. I’m quite an organised person so like to set myself a routine so generally I choose to work 8am until 4pm most days but sometimes I’ll log on an hour later or choose to stay a little later.

It’s really flexible so I can pop out for an appointment if need to and make the time up later. For example, I recently needed to view houses and sign a new lease and so moved my lunchtime. It’s very flexible – it’s about the work you do, not the exact time you complete it in. I also have the option to work from home some of the time which helps a lot. Having a healthy work-life balance helps me to enjoy other passions of mine such as playing the piano and video game coding. I like having the time after work to do these.

What skills are useful in this profession?

I’ve found that coding skills in pricing are a must. I thought I knew some from my time at university but I’ve learnt so much more since being at Zurich. They provide fantastic education through their actuarial academy. I’ve not seen anything like it elsewhere.

It’s also very important to have good presentation and communication skills. We have a lot of discussions with other teams such as portfolio management and reserving. We need to be able to communicate our results and analysis effectively as they’ll use this information and our recommendations to form their final opinion and plan their direction.

Finally, good mathematics and statistics are needed by the nature of all the data we analyse and review from a statistical basis.

What would you like to achieve in the future?

I was told by somebody at university that whichever job I land in I’ll be stuck in for the rest of my life. I completely disagree, this has certainly not been the case at Zurich. They are incredibly supportive of people changing and trying something new.

I’ve been talking to my manager again recently about my career. I’m keen to get as much pricing experience as I can and then to try moving to reserving, perhaps in the commercial area where we have high revenues. I’ve seen other people take on secondments or explore international rotations so there are plenty of options for people here.

Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to enter the profession?

I’d recommend that you find out more about the profession from people who are part of it and can give you advice. Nothing will beat that, it’s hard to truly understand about the roles from the outside. I personally looked on Linkedin and contacted people asking them for a quick chat and I found that most of them were really helpful. As well as giving me a great insight, they gave me some good advice on the knowledge I’d need and skills I could work on.

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