I have an offer at one of the big three as a senior actuary. My background is mostly in pricing for speciality lines with some reinsurance (albeit limited). Offers is very competitive and got a good impression from the interviews, however main thing putting me off is work life balance and exit opportunities.
On the WLB: How bad is it? I know it’ll be busy around 1/1 and 1/7, but are we talking work until midnight busy or stay until 7-8pm busy? I’m late twenties no kids at the moment so I’m happy to work hard, but will be thinking about kids in next 3 years I think.
On exit opportunities: one thing I noticed is most of the actuaries I met, and have spoken to that work there seem to never leave. Even those that come from industry like myself, they seem to stick around there for a long time. If I did want to go back to industry, say back to the specialty insurance side - would it be difficult? Am I narrowing myself down to one area of work?
I’m excited about the opportunity, they all seem like really smart people so I’d like to learn a lot from them, and they have made promises for progression and generally seem to be keen on me joining, but just trying to think longer term.
Any insights would be great
I think the work life and job in general can vary a lot by office and type of work. I used to do consulting for one of the big brokers and actually didn’t find the work life balance that bad, but I eventually got sick of being a consultant and prefer the insurer side.
I’m guessing you’re in the UK from your 1/7, I’d imagine there are country-specific differences too. I have a buddy who works for the big4 and that has very varied work-life, where the first quarter is a sweatshop and then they basically work 4-day weeks in the summer.
I doubt it (Re Broker) is worse than Big 4 consulting in terms of hours.
Can’t help with this one (also UK) because I only did reinsurance (life) for a few years, and have a fairly limited view of the broker side beyond a few people I speak to a few times per year.
If you want to have kids in the next 3 years, my suggestion is to ask what their parental leave policy is. Ours (large insurer) is 6 months now (for fathers), so its worth checking if they have something similar.
January and July? This format is ambiguous.
(Disclaimer: no experience in this area)
You’ll be busy if you do not plan out what needs to be done, do some stuff prior to the dates, make extensive notes on everything you need to do, and make sure everyone else in your department does the same (something could happen to someone, and you’re stuck doing new things on a deadline).
My prior boss and my prior grand-boss in the US both came from one of the big reinsurance brokers. They were hired over to fill risk management positions that aligned with the experience they picked up at the broker.
I’ve also done a few projects with a consultant who also had worked with them at that broker.
I don’t think they left that broker because of unhappiness or career frustration at the broker; it was just networking leading them to new opportunities that fit their experience and interests.
It’s not necessarily easy to move from one kind of employer to another…but unless things are significantly different where you are, I don’t think you’d be stuck working for brokers for the rest of your career.
I have not worked at a reinsurance broker, but have worked a lot with many on treaty placements. I think it is generally a pretty good gig in terms of pay and work variety, but travel can be higher than some other roles. I think P&C reinsurance brokerage work meshes well with E&S type specialty work if you ever want to come back to the direct side. Work can be very heavy on 1/1 treaties at some brokers, with July 1 not being that much better. Don’t count on much time off in December at many brokers.
it’s also a pretty good gig for making connections with other carriers, and you probably would get a good idea of which might be good to work for and which are not desirable.
Also keep in mind that this is a very small world, so your potential future employers might see this thread.
Jeez you Brits are nearly French now with your parental leave
people leave and go to carriers or consulting or other brokers. it happens.
narrowing mostly depends on what you work on. at the reinsuranec broker shop, you price excess policies and the like mostly. that translates to a carrier who prices excess. if you narrow your skill set to only “commercial auto excess reinsurance” then you will find your exit opportunities narrowed to only those that believe that skill/experience applies to the job you are seeking.
like any role you fill - at some point, if you stay long enough and are expert in something, that expertise might limit where you go from here. it’s hard to be a generalist forever.
busy season has some demands, sure. WLB depends on staff and you’d have to hear from them how busy their work gets and how long that peak lasts. consulting has annual statement work though too. reserving actuaries have closing of the quarter/year. pricing actuaries have rate filing deadlines.