'You need your colleagues around you to achieve a good outcome'

Thomas de Boer -​​​​​​​

Risk is enabling the business

‘I’m a down to earth guy from Groningen. That image suits  the job of an actuary quite well: a serious profession with a solid image. As an actuary you end up in the actuarial and risk management field of work. About four years ago, I started here as a financial risk manager, where the emphasis is on control and models. My job involved assessing whether pricing documents were complete and whether premiums could have been modelled differently or better.’

‘Risk management is responsible work because issuing an incorrect premium is risky. If premiums are too high, customers turn to the competition. If premiums are too low, it costs too much money or the premiums aren’t enough to cover any claims. You also need to take account of legislation and regulations, such as the European directive on solvency. This regulatory framework for insurers is there to ensure that insurance companies have sufficient capital to avoid bankruptcy. Essentially, we are constantly asking ourselves whether we’re prepared to recognise, accept and manage risks and help to answer those questions. You could say that risk is enabling the business.’

Taking the coronavirus into account​​

‘NN offers a wide range of work for risk managers or actuaries. You can quickly move to another business unit and that’s exactly what I did. I now work as an actuary at Movir, NN’s occupational disability insurer. It’s a job with real hands-on experience. Some of it involves calculations, but there’s also a lot of discussion with all stakeholders to manage risks and to arrive at the correct premium. Reaal Schadeverzekeringen and NN recently joined forces. We’re now working hard on a joint occupational disability proposition for new customers that combines the best of both worlds. We’re considering the new product conditions, the risks and the impact on pricing.'

'In our financial provisions, we have to take into account that the coronavirus is circulating.. For example, if someone falls ill with the coronavirus, does he or she have the same rehabilitation expectations as with other cases of illnesses?? Furthermore, the virus could have an impact on the premium in the long term.’

Last day at the office….?

‘Our office is closed in principle, so I’m working from home. I do miss the contact with my colleagues a bit. In early March, my wife rang me at the office to say that the birth of our second child would not be long in coming. I said goodbye to my colleagues without knowing that the coronavirus would strike shortly afterwards. That day turned out to be my last day at the office for the time being.’
‘A new baby and a child that can’t go to nursery because of the coronavirus meant an incredibly busy household. My wife is a GP, a vital job. I was very pleased that she was on maternity leave in the first few weeks of the crisis. Fortunately, I also had four weeks’ paternity leave.’

There for each other

‘As serious as I am as an actuary, at the same time it’s also really important for me to have my colleagues around. To be there for each another, to have a chat. About football, about the Dutch TV show ’Boer Zoekt Vrouw’. That’s something you can, and should, do here. Because you don’t spend all day behind your laptop modelling risks. You need social skills to create something great together in an informal atmosphere. I’ve always experienced that openness and freedom at NN.’


Meet our risk colleagues