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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Working Overseas supplement: Europe


Europe has the largest insurance industry in the world. For an actuary, this means that the range of career opportunities available across the continent is immense. Combine that with the cultural and life experiences that are on offer and, for more and more actuaries, the opportunity to live and work in Europe is an exciting proposition.

Working in Europe
Europe is a continent of contrasts, and the experiences available to an actuary reflect that. In the large, mature markets of Western Europe, where insurers are well established and fighting for market share, actuarial skills are in high demand to further develop reporting systems and processes, to better manage capital and to help design products that continue to meet the evolving needs of customers.

In Eastern Europe, where the dynamic and emerging insurance markets are experiencing rapid and accelerating growth, actuarial skills are central to ensuring the long-term success of the industry and individual companies. Across Europe, actuaries are crucial to a company’s success and to providing prosperity and peace of mind for customers. As a result, actuarial skills are in high demand.

While the actuarial skill-set has always been transferable across national boundaries, increasingly Europe is developing consistency of methodology, making knowledge sharing and knowledge transfer even more valuable. The creation of the CFO Forum and the continuing development of IFRS standards is driving commonality in profit reporting across the region, while Solvency II is increasing uniformity in economic capital measurement. This means that the demand for actuaries who are prepared to transport their skills and knowledge around the region is growing fast. This presents a great opportunity to experience life in a remarkably diverse range of countries, while being welcomed in each as a valuable addition to the actuarial team.

The cities of Europe
The insurance centres of Europe are in some of the world’s greatest cities. An actuarial career brings with it the chance to experience life in Milan, Moscow, Paris, Istanbul, Budapest…the list goes on. Each city is unique and brings with it a different life experience. You could spend your spare time browsing designer boutiques in Milan, visiting the Blue Mosque in Istanbul or watching the Russian Ballet in Moscow – the cities of Europe can offer the actuary some terrific life experiences.

Aviva is one of the leading providers of life and pensions products in Europe, and is active in 15 countries, in addition to the UK, across the region. Aviva has actuarial teams throughout the region, from Dublin in the West to Moscow in the East and as far South as Madrid, Milan and Istanbul. While the majority of actuarial staff in each location are permanent employees of that business, there is a strong demand for high quality secondees to fill medium-term roles. In addition, Aviva runs an internal actuarial consultancy, a team of ‘flying actuaries’ who work throughout the region, moving to react to evolving demand across the businesses, with typical assignments lasting six to 12 months in each business.

Working for a company like Aviva means that an actuary can take the risk of moving to a new country whilst safe in the knowledge that there is a support network to help make the transition as smooth as possible. This support can range from helping you to find accommodation in your new city, to knowing that there will be someone only a phone call away to help you as new challenges arise.

Career and life opportunity
Moving to a new country is a risk, but balancing that risk with the potential rewards means that it can be a step well worth taking. The opportunity to see a variety of business environments and to experience a wide range of actuarial challenges means that rapid personal development, and career progression, go hand in hand with the opportunity to experience life in the rich cultural blend that vibrant European cities offer.

Case studies:

Chris Lewis
When I joined Aviva, and the International Actuarial Consultancy (IAC) team, in 2003, I was looking for a position that would give me insight into the overall management of a leading insurance business. My role gave me the opportunity to work in a number of businesses, from the very large to the very small, and to experience the full spectrum of actuarial work. The opportunity to live in some great cities across Europe was an added benefit. The role in the IAC team has been a hugely rewarding and enjoyable part of my life, and it has also been a great preparation for my current post – I am now based in Istanbul and am chief actuary at AvivaSA, Aviva’s market leading business in Turkey.

Neeta Ranchod
I joined Aviva in 2007 from a consultancy in South Africa. I was looking for a position that would give me the best of both the consultancy and insurance company worlds — a hard ask, but this role has it. I was always curious about what it would be like to live in Europe, and since joining Aviva I have lived in both Milan and Amsterdam. Joining the IAC team at Aviva has allowed me to make the move to Europe and to travel and experience the various social and work cultures in different countries. This is a role which has been great for both my personal and professional development.

Working in Europe
Since 1 January 1992, the citizens of any country in the European Union or the European Economic Area have been able to work in any Member State, and do not need a work permit. Nationals of a country that is not a Full Member of the EU, EEA or EFTA, must obtain a work visa or permit. If employed, they are subject to the same legislation and benefit from the same advantages as national employees. EU and EEA citizens are exempt from requirements concerning visas, passports and medical checks when entering another EU Member State. An identity card allows the holder to enter freely and to move around for three months, which is useful when seeking employment. Website: www.europa.eu