I am a Global Risk Trainee, which means I am part of a three-year development and learning programme. Each year we complete a rotation in a different part of the business or in one of the other NN countries, which is exciting. As a trainee you learn everything about the insurance business through trainings, so part of my time is spent looking at reports and business plans and coming up with my own view on their decisions.
This is my first job after my Master’s. I wanted to use my quantitative skills in a field that requires critical reasoning, and that is why I turned to risk. I’m from an engineering background where my focus was sustainable energy technology, so a completely different field. I was surprised that a lot of people are engineers at NN, and it was good to see there are a lot of different backgrounds. Working at NN was a whole new world for me, and it gave me the challenge I needed.
My first rotation as a trainee was in the Global Risk Oversight team. It is a very experienced team, so every day I would come in and keep my ears open. I learned so much just from listening to my manager and team members talking about something. I would ask questions, also silly questions, and they would always take the time to answer them. Some mornings I would spend time talking with my manager about our weekends, what happened in the financial markets, and exchanging insights on what we read in the newspaper. It is refreshing to have that kind of personal interaction with your manager, and to learn from his point of view.
My assignment was to see if data analytics could be used for the risk unit. There are a lot of algorithms that go into data science, and we wanted to see if we could apply this buzzword to risk. And I found that we can, if we come up with the right hypotheses and set up the right structure around it. A practical application for risk could be, for example, looking at a business unit’s targets for the next year. When they launch a new product, you could run the application and do a proactive risk assessment, to identify the risks before they appear, and consider profit and complaints.
The Achilles heel for any data science project is having accessible data, and that was a major learning for us. NN Group is huge, so there is a lot of data. The idea is how do you collect it, aggregate it and keep it in a way that is accessible. We started with a big list of hypotheses, and we looked at which ones we had the data for.
Insurance is a business where there are a lot of challenges, and that was part of the allure. A company or an industry that has a transition ahead is where new ideas are valued. For me, that is a good place to be. You have to think about how to be a successful company going forward; how to take the company forward. At NN, you get to be part of making the transition happen. If you come up with ideas, you will be valued for it.
Global Risk Trainee