If you want to develop good products, it needs a detailed understanding of the markets, of the habits, and of the people. That’s what I learnt in my multinational work.
I am in my third year with Allianz now and, without doubts, it has been the most inspiring time in my career. I am working as an actuary in the new set up of Allianz Global Benefits which is a global line within Allianz.
From legal structure perspective Allianz Global Benefits is an entity with joint held by Allianz SE and Allianz Leben Germany. We coordinate globally the employee benefit solutions for multinational companies. In doing so we mainly work with corporate clients and their demand for very customized insurance solutions.
The predecessor of Allianz Global Benefits, All Net, was rebranded and significantly restructured to create a global footprint beyond continental Europe. Today Allianz Global Benefits has representatives in London, Chicago, Singapore and Germany catering the needs of clients in different corners of the world. As an actuary it is indeed very thrilling to get exposed to various technical and product aspects at worldwide level.
Group products are per se quiet common, like life insurance, health and income protections. The complexity arises from the need to combine local solutions that fit within the local legal and social framework. Just think about health insurance: In Germany corporate programs may not be a standard because there is a good health insurance system provided by the state. But in most other countries that’s completely different and you need private or corporate health solutions to be sufficiently secured.
The task: to offer suitable solutions in every market worldwide
That’s, where we at Allianz Global Benefits come into play with our international risk management perspective. We use our network and develop these individually customized programs for the clients. We cooperate with over 100 leading local insurers all over the world to offer appropriate solutions in every market from East Asia to South America.
What’s my usual work day look like? Well, I am an actuary in the Munich headquarters. I am actively dealing with actuaries and underwriters in each local Allianz entity; we discuss how to set-up the program, how to structure the pricing and how to bring everything under one roof. You can guess, I am learning a lot on the job because I am in touch with senior experts from different markets all the time. So, my insurance expertise has grown tremendously in the last years.
It is anything but a routine job: The days are structured by the individual requirements of the clients. Every client is individual, has different needs, cultural habits and has to manage different statutory provisions. It is a lot about mastering complexity—and more about reducing this complexity.
“Dare to think out of the box!”
Thus, you have to think a lot out of the box. And that’s something, Allianz strongly supports. Before I came to Munich, I worked for other insurers in India and Singapore. In my experience I have seen more top-down approach, whereas Allianz is an organization which is very decentralized and tremendously strong at each business unit level. We have very capable counterparts in the various markets. That’s a big advantage because we in the headquarters can’t become experts in every market. So I have to rely on them and their in-depth understanding of all local regulatory aspects.
My career advice for everybody who wants to join Allianz as actuary: Dare to think out of the box. As an actuary you learn to focus on numbers and calculation. But think beyond your Excel worksheets! That’s not sufficient any more: Needs and expectations of the clients are changing, and insurance solutions are moving from products and propositions. So if you want to develop good products, it needs a detailed understanding of the markets, of the habits, and of the people. That’s what I learnt in my multinational work environment. That’s what actuaries have to keep in mind today.