My name is Sebastian Czerwinski and I am a senior at Illinois State University. Currently I am an actuarial intern at COUNTRY Financial on their pricing team for commercial lines of business and I have accepted a full time position with them in the same position. An interesting fact about me is that I can speak in three different languages: Polish (native), English, and German.
Why would you recommend a career in the insurance industry to current college students?
Insurance industry seeks people with various backgrounds. It is an ever-evolving industry especially on the property and casualty. There is high demand for the skills and knowledge that actuaries have. The technological innovation is another reason to work in the insurance industry since there is a need to overcome this stigma that insurance is behind the technological advances and methodologies to collect and analyze data.
Why did you become an actuary?
I wanted to become an actuary because this profession connects my passion for math with a very practical application which is the property and casualty insurance. At first, I was not sure which path to choose SOA vs CAS, but the choice became obvious once I started learning more about the insurance industry. The P&C is more intuitive for me and I can easier see how the actuarial principles apply to the property and casualty insurance products. On top of that, the variety of fields of study that I get learn about such as business, law, insurance, and programming make this profession very interesting and broad enough for me to find something that I like the most and specialize in it.
What drew you to a career in property and casualty insurance?
The property and casualty insurance products are more intuitive for me, and it is easier to see how the actuarial principles apply in practice. P&C is a fast-changing industry and with the technological innovations there is always something new or a need for an insurance. I can see the impact of my work very fast, and I feel that I can make a direct impact in businesses and people’s lives.
What can students do now to prepare for a career in the industry?
I would say that students should along with their actuarial exam preparation, they should attend as many different conferences as they can to network with industry professionals and learn more about the insurance industry to see what they are interested more. The reason for developing interest in insurance itself is that with the understanding of how the insurance works and how it is regulated, it will be much easier to see how the actuarial principles apply on a daily basis. Also, once you understand how insurance works, it will be easier to adjust the pricing and reserving methodologies or even create models. On top of that, learning at least one programming language will be a huge advantage as almost all companies require candidates to know programming. Even if it is not one that a given company uses, it will be much easier to learn a new one fast since the idea of programming does not change no matter what language you use.