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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Working overseas: Bermuda - Amy Guna

Amy Guna, life reinsurance — corporate actuarial,
Hannover Life Reassurance,
Bermuda — one year

Explain what motivated you to seek employment overseas
I had considered working overseas for a number of years and when a change in personal circumstances made this possible, I decided to make the most of the opportunity and take the plunge. My perception was that gaining experience overseas would broaden my skills and perspective, both on a professional and personal level.

How did you find the role you are doing?
I made tentative enquiries with a recruitment agent who gave me some general advice about working overseas. They then put me in touch with my current employer and the rest followed from there.

What attracted you to the region?
Primarily the lifestyle. After working as a consultant in London for seven years, the idea of working somewhere with a more relaxed lifestyle and plenty of sunshine was appealing. Bermuda is a pretty idyllic location for a UK actuary; English-speaking, a seven-hour flight from London, a well-developed insurance and reinsurance industry and, of course, outstanding natural beauty to help de-stress after work.

What were the main challenges you faced when moving overseas?
Waiting for my work permit to come through was rather nerve-wracking. The lead times on work permits in Bermuda are lengthy, such that I did not know whether my work permit would be granted until just a few days before my scheduled first day at work. Therefore, I had given up my old job and flat in London and packed my bags to move to Bermuda, without actually knowing for sure whether I would be able to work here or not.

My relocation was largely administered by my new employer (shipping, housing, transport and so on) and, therefore overall it was relatively stress-free for me.

What are the main differences you have found to working overseas compared to the UK?
In the UK, my work as a consultant was largely driven by regulation — either changes in regulation or the ongoing compliance with the FSA’s demands on insurers. In Bermuda, the regulation of long-term insurers is much less onerous and I have found that this has enabled me to focus more on the commercial side of being an actuary.

Bermuda is dominated by non-life actuaries and therefore there is very little in the way of a life actuarial community, such as discussion groups, research groups and so on. This just means I need to spend more time reading the relevant websites and papers to keep up with what is going on in the profession.

Work life is fairly similar to my experience in London, although with much shorter commutes and everything being in such close proximity, I find that I can make more of my leisure time in Bermuda.

What is the most topical industry issue facing actuaries in Bermuda?
Bermuda’s decision to apply for equivalence with Solvency II. As mentioned, the regulation of long-term insurers in Bermuda has not been particularly onerous to date, and the solvency requirement is trivial. In the past 18 months, the Bermudian regulator, The Bermuda Monetary Authority, has set out a range of proposals that would bring the regulatory and capital regime into line with Solvency II standards. This is a significant change for Bermudian insurers and the timescales are short.

What is the best thing about where you work?
I really enjoy the outdoors and therefore the best thing about Bermuda is how conducive it is to ‘being outdoors’, with sporting pursuits like swimming or tennis, to everyday activities like eating, reading and drinking, all of which can be done outside in the sunshine.

And the worst?
I do occasionally miss the diversity and vibrancy of city life. Bermuda is small (21 square miles) and, although its cultural offerings are commendable for its size, it does not compare to the likes of London. However, New York and Miami are just a couple of hours away by plane so it’s easy to escape for the weekend if required.

Give an unusual fact about the country in which you work
Bermuda has the highest proportion of actuaries than any other country in the world.

What are the key attributes an actuary or actuarial student would need to work in your role and region?
Experience of European reporting measures, such as MCEV, and US GAAP reporting. Solvency II experience is also beneficial in light of the impending changes to the solvency requirements in Bermuda.

Do you have any advice to others looking for overseas work?
Cast your net wide and wait for the right opportunity as it is important to be happy with your decision once you move.


Further reading: Working Overseas

This special supplement looks at career opportunities for actuaries around the world, and how to plan for a move abroad

Emmanuel Kenning - Global trends and opportunities
Trevor Watkins - Actuarial qualifications
Hannah Kaye - Actuarial skills travel well
Andrew Smith - Lecturing in Armenia and Albania

Region focus
Mark Dainty - United Kingdom
Jan Sparks - Europe
Wilhelm de Wet - South Africa
Luke Hawkins - Asia

Case studies
Switzerland - Alex Summers
Spain - Carl Haughton
South Africa - Bjorn Landewig
South Africa - Ashlin Noonan
Nigeria - Alexandre Aquereburu
Hong Kong - Paul Murray
Hong Kong - Mark Stamper
Indonesia - Chris Lossin
Bermuda - Amy Guna
Australia - Matt Noyce
Australia - Ashley Palmer