- Please provide a brief description of your STEP Signature Project.
I completed an internship in the actuarial department of Motorists Insurance during the fall of 2018 while being a full-time student at OSU. I mainly assisted with annual rate filings and some overhauling of current excel sheets to make them more efficient. I am a senior at OSU planning to enter the actuarial field.
- What about your understanding of yourself, your assumptions, or your view of the world changed/transformed while completing your STEP Signature Project?
I took on this project for a variety of reasons. First, I could work part-time while going to school full-time, which is something I had never done before. I learned from this how hard it really is to work for 15 hours/week while studying. I once used to wish I had a part-time job during the school year to have extra cash on me but after this internship, I learned I valued my free time much more than some extra cash. I will greatly enjoy this last semester due to not working.
Second, am I interested in the P&C (car and home insurance) area. I knew for sure that I wanted to become an actuary but didn’t know which field (Life/health/P&C) that I wanted to go into. From this internship, I realized that P&C wasn’t as interesting as I first thought it was.
Lastly, I learned how it is like to work for a small company. My summer internship at Erie Insurance was at a mid-sized company but Motorists Insurance was much smaller and I wanted to experience that. At first, I thought I would like working at a smaller company because of the variety of tasks that I would do. However, throughout my time there, I realized that I missed the larger group of people I had at a larger company. Therefore, this internship really helped me decide to accept a full-time position at a large health insurer, Cigna.
- What events, interactions, relationships, or activities during your STEP Signature Project led to the change/transformation that you discussed in #2, and how did those affect you?
So first, my view on part-time work during the school year. Before this, I always envied those who got a part-time job in their field of interest that paid a lot more than a regular campus job. And the first few weeks were fine since classes didn’t have any exams. However, once exams started rolling by, it was incredibly hard to work, go to class and study all while commuting from home. There were some nights I got very little sleep and specifically, I had a hard time studying with friends or attending review sessions because of the hours I worked. Therefore, I am happy to end this part-time job so I can relax in my last semester before school ends.
Second, the P&C field. This past summer, I interned at Erie in their predictive modeling department (which really isn’t a traditional actuarial position) and liked it a lot. However, I knew if I ever got hired full-time somewhere, it would be more in a traditional actuarial position so this internship in a traditional role would help me decide is P&C was for me. Some things I didn’t expect going in was how much excel was used. At Erie, I primarily used SAS and Python. And I wasn’t a big fan of Excel given how slow it is to do anything with large datasets. Second, there was a lot of repetition. When I helped with the year-end rates, I was doing the same process for every state and line of business, which got boring real quick. Therefore, I decided that a traditional actuarial role in the P&C wasn’t for me.
Lastly, I was deciding if I wanted to work at a big or small company. Erie gave me the experience of a mid-sized company and I was looking forward to my experience at Motorists. Initially going in, I thought I would enjoy working in a smaller company due to the larger variety of tasks. This was mostly true and I did get a broad view of pricing in general. I also liked how I had a closer connection with my boss and my boss’s boss.
However, there were a few drawbacks at a smaller company. First, smaller cafeteria. Second, not many people my age to talk with. Third, and most importantly, Motorists was incredibly behind on adapting the latest data techniques to help price their insurance. This was evident to see coming from Erie Insurance. This is a large reason why I went with a larger employer. To be able to use better more recent data analysis techniques.
- Why is this change/transformation significant or valuable for your life?
This is incredibly valuable because it helped me decide which job offer to take. I actually got two job offers. One from a mid-size P&C department and one from a very large health insurer. From this internship experience, I realized that traditional P&C was not a good fit for me so decided to go with the large health insurer. Since once you choose a discipline (health, life or P&C) there is basically no switching, this internship has had a huge impact on my future career track for potentially the rest of my working life. So although the internship was different than I had anticipated, it provided to be an incredibly valuable experience.