Students get career tips from Biltir members
The value of networking, not giving up, and breaking through your comfort zone, were among life and career lessons shared by insurance professionals when they met high school students at a lunch-and-learn session.
A group of 16 students from CedarBridge Academy and Warwick Academy were invited to hear from professionals who work for member companies of the Bermuda International Long-Term Insurers and Reinsurers organisation.
Scott Selkirk, an actuary and head of pricing at Somerset Re, who led the Biltir event, said: “We are trying to introduce the university-bound students of Bermuda to the long-term sector.”
He said that while P&C-focused insurers tend to have a higher profile in Bermuda, long-term insurers and reinsurers are an important part of the island’s international business scene, and they are going to be around for a long time, writing liabilities that are “very long-dated”.
He said: “Our area is growing and it would be great if we can get some local talent to come back from university and start to build up some of our companies.”
The students enjoyed lunch and listened to guest speakers who shared their experience working as actuaries, accountants, underwriters, and in other areas of the sector.
Sitting around a boardroom table at the offices of Global Atlantic Re, on Par-la-Ville Road, the students also pitched questions to the speakers.
One of the speakers was Darryl Herrick, managing director of Global Atlantic Financial Group. He described his career journey and how he broke through his comfort zone, and advised students about the value of building a solid network of contacts.
“Your network of people is going to be the most important thing that you have,” he said.
Another speaker was Stewart Ritchie, a chartered accountant and director at PwC Bermuda, who pointed out that accountants can take their skills and work in many countries around the world.
Questions from the students revolved around what skill-sets the speakers felt were most needed to do their job, and what level of education and qualifications are needed. The students were also interested in learning how the professionals got started in their careers.
They learnt about the importance of perseverance and heard about a first-hand experience of why they should not be dissuaded by failing exams, but instead continue studying and take the exams again.
One of the students who appreciated the tips and career lessons was Tarnia Place, who goes to CedarBridge Academy. She enjoys maths and aims to become an actuary.
She said: “It gave an insight into what you need to get along in college. It taught me that no matter what you are going through, or the doubts you have, you need to keep going.”
She also found useful the information shared on commitment and networking.
Kathryn Mason, a student at Warwick Academy, appreciated the insights into the careers of the speakers, and seeing what they have done.
While Sophia Marsh, also a student at Warwick Academy, said: “I’ve been to other luncheons, but this made it more fun and interesting. It’s great to see how they took different paths.”
Mr Selkirk praised the students for their questions and thoughts during the 1½-hour session. He said: “We like to see that interactiveness. We try to have it be informal, a little bit of an introduction.”
He said an aim was for the students to sit in a seat at the offices of an international company, listen to the speakers and ask themselves: “I’m sitting in this chair today, how did they [the speakers] go from high school to being in their seat today.”
He added: “We want to make that path a little more clear. There are a variety of paths. Everyone has their own individual story, and they also vary by profession. We are not just actuaries, not just accountants; so no matter what your skill set is, there is a path from this seat to being up here in a few years.”