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Christina Barth, actuary mathematician
„At the end of the day, everything in life can be boiled down to numbers.“
Christina Barth is a dyed-in-the-wool insurance mathematician. Already during her mathematics studies, she acquired work experience with several insurance companies and spent some time in Deutsche Rück's "Life Market" department as a working student.
And it was there that a prototypical career started, Deutsche Rück style – it was soon obvious that there was more to this clever working student than the job description demanded – and we are reaping the benefit, of course. So, Barth was given an opportunity to become actively involved in expanding the business, and she seized that opportunity to such universal satisfaction that we let her write her diploma thesis before hiring her. Which, by the way, bears the title – extremely cryptic for non-mathematicians – "Sparse-grid binomial trees for the evaluation of multi-asset options". In our company, she was then also quickly given a chance to use her analytical skills in "bringing up" K.e.r.m.i.t. – no, not the frog, but the simulation software "Kalkulation einer Rückversicherung mit individuellen Tools" (Calculating reinsurance using individual tools).
It is deployed for stochastic simulation of the implications of reinsurance solutions for Life primary insurance – in keeping with the motto "At the end of the day, everything in life can be boiled down to numbers ".
But anyone who now pictures Barth sitting around quietly doing theoretical calculations is clearly unacquainted both with Deutsche Rück and with Barth. She not only develops: she also "sells". Meaning that she comes along on visits to the customer and, in workshops, provides active support for the products she helps develop.
And this illustrates very well what distinguishes Deutsche Rück in its personnel development: Staff are not trained to become idiots savants, but are deployed, supported and challenged on a much more versatile basis. True to the motto "People rise to the demands placed on them".
Andreas Fey, Market Specialist
„As an executive assistant, you develop an eye for the big picture."
In the insurance world, Andreas Fey feels like a fish in water. In his current role as an executive assistant, he has a close-up view of an Executive Director's work and collaborates on strategic and business-policy matters.
His career started with field force-oriented training with smaller items at ground level. So, it was first the practice and then the theory in his case, as his next step was to study insurance. Now, as assistant to the CEO, he is able to take a look at the really big picture in our Company.
But that is just the start of his career, the next step being a switch to the Germany market division, where he will represent Deutsche Rück in dealings with clients as market specialist in property/casualty treaty business. There, his activities will once again revolve around insurance contracts, but now on a very much grander scale.
He is glad that the confidence placed in him has led to Deutsche Rück financing his supplementary MBA studies in insurance management, for example.He is glad that the confidence placed in him has led to Deutsche Rück financing his supplementary MBA studies in insurance management, for example.
This is because we appreciate his commitment to his further professional training. After all, we must advance and inspire the loyalty of staff when they are both qualified and motivated to tackle insurance issues and who, in doing so, obviously feel at home in the Company. This confirms his view that, at Deutsche Rück, he has come to the right place – a state of affairs which, he feels, also has to do with the fact that Deutsche Rück is big enough to offer all professional prospects but, at the same time, small enough for him to maintain personal and friendly contacts with many colleagues.
Olga Ruf, employee Treaty Drafting
„Only the right information is worth anything.“
Olga Ruf is a genuine home-grown Deutsche Rück talent. After attending commercial college, she successfully completed her vocational training as a management assistant for office communications in our Company and was given a job straight away. She already has a good network of contacts in the Company – after all, our trainees have to go through a whole series of departments.
And it was soon evident which department would be taking her on after her training: Treaty Drafting. Since then she has been handling a large number of responsible tasks as treaty technician. One of these tasks could be described as "Seek, and ye shall find", i.e. looking for valuable facts and information: in the Internet and internal digital sources – the modern way – but also by conventional searches in the print media and annual reports, trade journals and business magazines. Thus, Olga Ruf supports the market specialists in the Company by processing all the information that is of importance for consultations and contractual negotiations with our customers.
But her job in the project team for Deutsche Rück's internal planning system is every bit as exciting. Here she acts as central interface to the programmers of the tool and is responsible for ensuring that, on the basis of comprehensive data input, high-quality, reliable and informative forecasts for the coming financial years are always available for our Company.
All of this sounds like an immense challenge to throw at a young staff member. But Ruf is glad to rise to the occasion. She views challenges as personal opportunities to show what she is capable of – and also appreciates the fact that people are willing to delegate so much responsibility to her as career starter. When we consider the results of her work, all we can say is: rightly so.
Guido Berendes, actuary
„Personal initiative is the best engine for driving a career. After all, you only live once.“
Guido Berendes has been with Deutsche Rück since 1995 and is a mathematician in the actuarial office. Before that, he had a completely linear career path: school-leaving examination for university entry (Abitur), mathematics studies, minoring in informatics, then joining Deutsche Rück. Here, he is responsible for deriving bases for actuarial calculations, developing rates and programming rating software, since Deutsche Rück develops all its rating programs itself. Especially in the case of life-insurance rates, flexible adjustment is important. This is because, as life expectancy grows, a fundamental parameter in the bases for calculations changes. Also, amendments to statute law create ever-changing requirements. So this is a paradise, as it were, for mathematicians and information scientists, particularly when their tasks are embedded in the open corporate culture of a clearly organised company where flat hierarchies and short routes ensure that decisions are taken quickly when they are needed. Personal initiative is called for, demanded – and supported.
In this way, Berendes was also given an opportunity from the word go to develop and implement his own ideas. This freedom to shape events and the confidence placed in him are merits he greatly appreciates. After all, being departmental head today places not only professional demands on him, but personal demands as well. Still, the HR department actively supports him and enables him to take a personal look at his future prospects, too. And he knows a thing or two about taking a look at the future.
Manuela Kovarik, secretary
„You grow with your tasks.“
Manuela Kovarik has been at Deutsche Rück since 2007. Yet nothing is the way it was discussed originally at the job interview. All the same, what might have led to a complaint in another firm, tends to be given a positive slant in our Company. For, instead of sitting half the day at the reception and in the Accounts department – the original arrangement – Kovarik has already, among other things, moved up to the secretarial office for the Board of Executive Directors as a holiday replacement and is now employed as secretary in Accounts.
Why? Because she can do it – and she likes it. That's characteristic of a career at Deutsche Rück: what counts here is not just what it says in a person's cv, but their practical performance. So it doesn't strike us as odd at all if the vita of the trained office clerk doesn't always follow a straight-line – we see this as an indication of a personality that doesn't run with the crowd. And so far, we seem to be on to a good thing, since the ambitious sportswoman finds the working environment very agreeable and feels both challenged and respected in our Company. She recognises some prospects for herself here and is also keen to embrace the advanced training opportunities offered, so we can assume that this is only the start of a typical Deutsche Rück career. Good for her, and good for us.
Arndt-Tobias Bröringmeyer, Claims investigator
„As we know, being in the right and getting one´s rights don´t always go hand in hand.“
Lawyer and practising attorney Arndt Bröringmeyer works as a claims investigator at Deutsche Rück since 2006: He has been scrutinising the lawfulness of ambiguous life and disability insurance claims. Following an in-depth assessment of situations that often concern severe blows of fate – and may be pending in court in some cases – he supports our primary-insurer clients with his opinions. For this Deutsche Rück service, the lawyer is required not only to discuss complicated legal issues, but also to judge the case correctly from a commercial angle and with the necessary medical know-how.
This, of course, is not all that Bröringmeyer does for us: he is also in charge of training sessions and seminars for our customers to draw their attention to recent changes in statute law or new regulations and to identify their implications for everyday practice. Arndt Bröringmeyer has also developed the quarterly newsletter "Paragraf § Praxis", which discusses recent court decisions on life and disability insurance and gives tips for application in practice. This has gone down very well with our customers – the consequence being that he now has the task – or rather, the privilege – of writing it regularly. A typical example of working life at Deutsche Rück, incidentally: personal initiative is welcome – and is encouraged. In his leisure time, Arndt Bröringmeyer is also on the Deutsche Rück team. At the annual dragon boat regatta, he is an invaluable crew member. So, you see – there's no end of jobs to be done in our house.
Meike Müller, University-qualified geo-ecologist
„Figuratively speaking, we let historical natural catastrophes loose on today´s civilizations.“
Before Meike Müller applied for the advertised vacancy, the graduate geo-ecologist knew neither what reinsurance companies are nor that they can offer geo-scientists quite fascinating fields of work. Now – together with another geo-ecologist, a meteorologist and a geologist – she is responsible for the full range of natural catastrophes: windstorms, earthquakes, floods, thunderstorms, hail, and whatever else the weather gods may have in store. The subjects processed are correspondingly varied. One focus is on natural-catastrophe modelling. So what's that all about?
Figuratively speaking, Müller takes historical or synthetic storms, earthquakes or floods and lets them loose on today's insurance portfolios, and then calculates the loss levels to be expected. For this, statistical expertise is indispensable – in addition to geological, meteorological and hydrological knowledge. The most important tools for analysing data with a spatial reference are geographic information systems. Another central key word: knowledge transfer. New scientific findings, e.g. on climate changes, are of great interest for Deutsche Rück and its customers, so that such data are channelled directly into their day-to-day work. Overall, Müller's experience of working in the overlap between natural science and the insurance sector and between practice and research is incredibly exciting, multi-faceted and varied.
And, by now, she doesn't mind a spot of rain in her personal life either. In fact, she even likes to spend her vacation in high-water regions.
Gregor Pabst, Underwriter
„Deutsche Rück doesn't have a further-training catalogue: Seminar offerings are individually tailored to suit each staff member.“
Gregor Pabst has been with Deutsche Rück since 1999 and is now responsible for decisions with an impact he would never have dreamt of at the start of his career. So, logically enough, we don't tell him which seminars to attend: he himself knows best which further training courses make sense for his job.
Pabst learned his profession from scratch. After qualifying for university entry (Abitur) in 1989, followed by one year in the US and a four-year stint as an officer in the armed forces, he started his professional life in the field force of an insurance company. He quickly realised that this wouldn't stretch him enough, so he appended a course of studies in business economics.
He is today responsible as underwriter for participation in facultative risks, meaning risks that must be considered separately due to their magnitude or nature – especially fire insurance for industrial operations, power plants or hospitals. In this respect, it is necessary to assess how the property is protected, what claims experience it has and whether the premium rate reflects the risk or whether other reinsurers should be involved, too. And then comes the part of his job that inspired its name: in signing, he is accepting and underwriting the primary insurer's risk.
In Service, he supports primary insurers in their day-to-day work – analysing special insurance conditions, say – or in other actuarial issues. He also collaborates in teams set up to develop new products, and designs training courses. Faced with so many new tasks and perspectives, there is only one thing missing from his working life: boredom. In his spare time, incidentally, Pabst still likes to work up a good blaze on the barbecue.
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