My daughter recently entered a Royal Mail competition in which she was asked to apply for her dream job. Being the daughter of an actuary, it is not entirely surprising that she chose the job of a chief actuary! However, her letter and her message highlights an issue that is worthy of further development. Across the world, I can see progress being made by the insurance industry and the profession but more needs to be done to promote it further.
She is highlighting the issue of either no insurance or under-insurance in certain parts of the world. As the daughter of an actuary who was working on a small island in the Atlantic Ocean at the time she was born (Bermuda), she has already come to know, and has lived through, natural catastrophes. She feels she is one of the lucky ones because she (or at least her family) can afford to protect itself through insurance. However, her humanitarian side is already causing her to think more widely.
At the time of writing the letter she was 8 years old. There were 100,000 entries into the competition and Gabriella made it through to a regional finalist. In addition to highlighting a real-world issue, it's great to see actuarial work being so highly acclaimed!
I enclose her handwritten entry (and a typed version), which also includes some other interesting observations on life in general and her career ambitions. In terms of our motto as a profession, namely making financial sense of the future, I would say (and yes I am biased) she has already started at a young age.
Andrew Couper, FIA
Group Chief Actuary and Head of Risk
Letter from Gabriella Couper, age 8, for the Royal Mail 'Dream Job' competition
I would like you to consider me for your chief actuary role. This is my dream job because I like a challenge and I love maths. Some of the largest centres for reinsurance are in London, New York and Bermuda, which are my favourite places in the world.
I know that some places in the world are not as lucky as we are, such as the Philippines. They get lots of tsunamis there. I know I can't stop tsunamis happening. But I can help people rebuild their lives after these events have happened. I would not like to think what it would be like for them, having to wake up in the morning with the fear that a tsunami could hit the beach at any moment.
I'd be the right person for the job because I care about being sensible with numbers. I am eight years old and I am always questioning maths. For example, just this week I made the observation that I can travel on the underground tube, or take the bus, all over and anywhere in London for free and yet it costs me 30p to go to the toilet at Paddington Station.
If I were your chief actuary I would ensure all numbers made perfect sense. I love to know I can make a difference by reinsuring insurance companies so there will always be enough money to get people back on their feet after a catastrophe.
I was born in Bermuda and have lived through hurricanes myself and I know it is a worrying time for people and I would like to give them reassurance in my role as chief actuary.
I look forward to hearing from you.