CAS Profile: Nick LaPenta

Where do you work and what is your position?Student Central Profiles Nick LaPenta
I have been part of Travelers Insurance for 16 years. Currently I am an AVP in Corporate Actuarial where I lead our work on annual and quarterly financials related to reserves, catastrophe reporting and competitor analytics.

Why did you decide to become an actuary?
During my senior year of high school, I was invited to attend Travelers’ first annual high school day, which introduced the actuarial profession to top math students from around Connecticut. The event featured senior leader speakers, an actuarial student panel and a presentation by At the time I was just looking for a day off of school; little did I know the day would introduce me to an exciting career! Travelers continues to hold the event annually and I’m proud to have been involved with the event in numerous roles over the years, including as a past chair of the event.

What aspects of the field do you love?
I’m lucky that I get to work and volunteer with the most talented and innovative people day in and day out. My position is unique in that I get to work with reserving actuaries across all areas and facilitate the exchange of ideas and information between them; ultimately drawing out the bigger picture to help guide management’s decisions.

What is the best career advice you have ever received?
Both in life and at work, always leave things better than how you found it. People will notice and respect you even more for it.

Do you have any advice for those just starting out?
Work on refining what studying method works best for you and gives you the best shot at passing. For me, I learned that exams are tough, but they are especially tough to do alone. Find a group to study with to supplement your individual efforts. You’ll notice that it helps fill the gaps in your studying that you didn’t know you had. Also, the exam process is rewarding but it can be mentally exhausting. Make sure to take time for yourself. I always tried to take some time off to travel after each exam as a mental break and to help pass the time waiting for results.

Why would you recommend a career in the insurance industry to current college students?
When I was nearing the end of my college career, I wasn’t ready to stop learning but at the same time I didn’t want to continue on for a Masters or PhD. A career in the insurance industry offered the perfect amount of continuous learning, growth and development for me. There’s a wide range of diverse opportunities with a mix of analytical skills, innovation, technology and communication. I also enjoy the community aspect that insurance companies share by being able to make a meaningful impact by helping individuals and businesses manage risks.

What can students do now to prepare for a career in the industry?
There are so many things students can do now to prepare; networking with professionals, attending industry events (CAS, GIS, etc), gaining relevant skills through courses, internships, staying updated on industry trends and so much more. My biggest advice though is don’t go in and try to tackle them all. It’s a lot and you’ll end up getting burned out. At the same time my second piece of advice is to do something, anything. Pick a few with the goal of really committing to them and getting everything you can out of the experience. Don’t treat them as a check box.

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