Meet Kieran Coghlan
"Encouraging progression and development – in a friendly, supportive environment"
I originally joined Allianz on their summer internship programme and having enjoyed being a part of the team so much, I decided to stay with them. There were a number of graduate schemes that interested me and the internship helped me decide to take the Actuarial route. The actuarial department is relatively small with only around 50 people, so the fact Allianz usually only takes on two graduates per year for this scheme means that you are adding value from day one. The exposure to a wide variety of work means key skills are developed quickly and allows for a greater level of support.
I really enjoy that I am constantly learning while on the job. A typical day will, of course, involve using Excel but also much more than that – I get actively involved in projects and meetings, both with the actuarial team and other departments like Underwriting and core business teams, which gives me insight into these key integral roles. One project that I’m especially proud of was streamlining the process of a Commercial Motor pricing tool in order to gain the required output more quickly. I’ll often be working to deadlines, which means all needs to be carried out efficiently so informed decisions can be made fast. It can be challenging but managers are really good at helping you to manage your workload and spreading it evenly across the team.
Allianz is very encouraging of progression and development, so everyone has a personal development plan to ensure our continued advancement. They cover study and exam costs as well as offering study leave, which is important given the fact the industry average to qualification is four to seven years. I was fortunate enough to attend an actuarial pricing course in Rome, which helped me develop my technical pricing skills and gave me the opportunity to network with and learn from international employees right across a range of Allianz operational entities.
What’s the work like? Engaging, interesting and challenging. Because you’re one of a smaller intake of graduates, you’re given real responsibilities and work and the support Allianz provides is of an incredibly high standard. They’re committed to developing their people and offering an environment which allows them to thrive. Fairly early on in the scheme I faced my biggest professional challenge to date, as I had to present our quarterly reserving results to the account manager and senior underwriters. I was able to run through my presentation with my manager beforehand so I felt fully prepared, which gave me the confidence boost that I needed. The good natured and friendly atmosphere means you don’t have to be afraid that you might get something wrong.
Achieving a good work/life balance is important and a factor that Allianz actively encourages – if you are working late, managers will ask why and do what they can to help you spread the workload. It’s a nice environment to work in and we try and make time for casual after work drinks when we can. My advice to future graduates? Be highly motivated – especially as you’ll be studying alongside your work. There are lots of opportunities available to move across teams so make the most of them as they provide a good chance to expand your skill set and learn about other areas of the business. Overall, at Allianz, you can expect to be provided with all the support you need to develop in your career and enjoy a good work/life balance, all in a very pleasant environment.
Kieran Coghlan – Actuarial Student scheme