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Actuaries have an eye for the ‘big picture’

Dirk Bundesmann is a Senior Expert for Strategy & Transformation at Zurich Group Germany. In our interview he tells us how he got his job in the first place, why being an actuary is such a fascinating profession and what it takes to be a good actuary.
Written on 07/28/21

What is your position in your company and what tasks do you perform in this position in your company?

I work as a Senior Expert for Strategy & Transformation, meaning that I work on the further development of the corporate strategy and positioning ourselves in the market and furthermore I support the Management Team and the relevant Board Members implementing and executing our strategy.

When and why did you decide to train as a DAV actuary?

My degree in ‘Mathematics in Finance’ introduced me to various fields of applied mathematics in insurance and finance. The insurance industry interested me the most – and the best way to combine mathematics and insurance is to become a DAV actuary. I took several opportunities such as DAV vor Ort (‘DAV on the spot’) and had several interesting conversations with practicing actuaries and so I quickly realised that this was the path I wanted to take for myself. All the stops on my professional journey so far confirmed that it was the right move.

Why is working as an actuary so fascinating?

As an actuary you can use your technical expertise in a company in a truly targeted fashion. Many of the challenges in the insurance industry can be transferred to models and structures using actuarial methods. The solutions to these models are the ideal starting point for creating added value for the company together with many colleagues from other exciting specialist departments.

Furthermore, the insurance and financial industries will, in future, need to leverage the best possible ways – seen from many different aspects – to evaluate and use data. For this reason, the analytical skills of actuaries will be in great demand.

In your daily work are you able to make use of the expertise and experience you gained when training to become a DAV actuary?

Your actuarial education and training teaches you the basics that you need to understand how an insurance product and insurance company ‘works’. In addition, you are given the necessary tools to analyse, handle and interpret key result drivers, which provides you with the basis for managing and steering a company. I use this know-how, and the experience I’ve gained in my professional career so far, every day.

Which of your strengths are particularly useful in your position and which strengths are essential for your job?

In your education to become a DAV actuary you learn a quite special, and very important, way of looking at the many different issues that the financial industry raises: analytical working, structuring topics and, especially, learning to look at the ‘big picture’. It is precisely this ability not to lose sight of the big picture in the hectic day-to-day business that I would describe as the main strength I need in my profession every day.