Working as an actuary in a startup

Working as an actuary in a startup

An actuarial startup like Montoux provides a very different working environment than a traditional actuarial role at a large insurance company or consultancy. The pace of change and amount of personal responsibility is a critical component of the startup model. Actuaries who are driven, embrace new ideas, and want to expand a plethora of skills have countless opportunities to do so when working at a startup. For actuaries considering a change or looking to shake up their career path, this article highlights the differences between an actuarial startup and a more traditional role.

A startup’s focus is first and foremost the customer, rather than internal reporting metrics or efficiency gains. Startups are on a mission to solve a big problem. For Montoux, this means reinventing the way life insurers think about pricing by incorporating data science models, optimization algorithms, and rapid pricing models. Solving this problem involves deep conversations with our customers every step of the way to ensure we are providing consistent value uplifts for our customers. Actuaries who love engaging with clients and deepening relationships, or enjoy the challenge of doing so, thrive in this environment.

Change is an integral part of a startup’s culture. The organization needs to be agile, and roles and responsibilities can change quickly as we pursue new projects and growth opportunities. You can expect a much greater variety of work throughout your average week than at a large corporation - there is no such thing as a strict routine at Montoux! You are less likely to become a deep technical expert in one area but your wider actuarial skillset and business acumen will deepen and expand greatly. There are also opportunities to step up and take ownership of new clients or ideas. These moments develop significant leadership skills far sooner than an actuary would typically expect. 

To be successful at a startup, being self motivated and collaborative is essential. You’ll find solutions to big problems with less direction and resources than you would have at a large organization. This requires no small degree of curiosity to be successful; you might need to spend a larger amount of time in individual research than at a larger company where the answer can be found by popping your head over the cubicle wall. Less direct management means you need to enjoy setting your own goals, defining success, and holding yourself accountable. 

Startups perceive mistakes differently than a large entity. In startups, mistakes or failures are part of the process of discovering how to adjust and improve our customers’ experience. This perspective can be refreshing to actuaries who enjoy taking risks and learning when things don't pan out as well as anticipated. In a similar line of thinking, the timelines and approval structures to execute new ideas is quicker and smoother than at a traditional actuarial employer.

Lastly, and most importantly, working at a startup is fun! At Montoux our team is small enough that every individual has an impact on Montoux’s culture. This means that you can create the ideal work and social environment that aligns with your values and personality.

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