• Name: Gillian O’Keeffe
  • Job Title: Pricing Actuary
  • Location: London
  • University: University College Dublin
  • Degree: Actuarial & Finance Studies
  • Fields of Work: General Insurance

I started my career on a six-month internship at Pacific Life Re (PL Re), before joining the Pricing Team permanently, in 2014. I returned to PL Re because of the opportunities I was given, even at a junior level. There is a flat structure across the company, so you get to work on a range of high-profile projects, with exposure to senior management right from the start. This, along with an extremely friendly and sociable office meant it was an easy decision to make.

What’s it like working at PL Re?
PL Re is a fast-paced company. I’ve had the opportunity to be involved with various interesting projects and been given management responsibility very early on. PL Re is a very friendly office and invests heavily in maintaining this culture. There are regular social events, as well as a summer and Christmas party, which are great opportunities to get to know colleagues you may not work with on a daily basis.

What are your main duties/roles in your current position?
My main duties involve managing Protection tenders that come in from our UK and Irish clients; I am also the main point of contact for our Irish clients with respect to any Pricing related queries they have.

I manage a small team of people who are focussed on the Protection side of the Pricing Team and so my days also include training and developing my team.

What skills have you found to be particularly useful in this sector/profession?
Mathematical and technical skills are a given to succeed in pricing where you need a good understanding of actuarial concepts.
As my role is client facing, soft skills such as presenting and building rapport with key clients are also important.

What challenges have you come across and what support have you received?
It’s challenging to sit exams whilst you’re working. PL Re assisted me throughout my actuarial exams, making the process far easier. The company is committed to training and developing employees and have always ensured that my training requirements have been met, particularly around developing as an Actuary and a manager.
Key support has also come from my peers, both within and outside my team, particularly when I have taken a step-up in my role; we have an open culture, which is great when it comes to asking for help.

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