Under the Spotlight: Rikki Gold

OVERVIEW

Name… Rikki Gold

Title… Chief Pricing Actuary, General Insurance, Australia

Organisation… Zurich Financial Services Australia

PERSONAL

My interesting/quirky hobbies… an addiction to a soap opera that shall not be named.

Rikki with her son
Rikki with her son

My favourite energetic pursuit… Running after my toddler

The last book I read (and when)… “Toddle Waddle” by Julia Donaldson – about five minutes ago to my son. As for a book for me that would be last Christmas break – “Equal Justice” by Rabbia Siddique. A very inspiring story of an Australian woman who joined the British Army to firstly fight for justice of those in need in Iraq and later had to fight for it within the British Army itself.

The person I’d most like to cook for… If I had more spare time I would love to host and cook a lovely dinner party for friends.

I’m most passionate about… lots of things. A recent topic of interest is diversity in the workplace and the unconscious bias and policies that may stand in the way of that diversity being reflected in senior management.

What gets my goat… Anti-Semitism and Racism

I’d like to be brave enough to… go swimming in winter

In my life I’m planning to change… be more present in the moment – rather than thinking ten steps ahead.

Not many people know this but I… have an identical twin and we participate in occasional twin medical studies.

Four words that sum me up… Caring, responsible, analytical, family-orientated

CAREER

What I wanted to be when I grew up… First it was an author, then astronomer and then actuary. I never got past the letter A!

Why and how I became an actuary… I heard about it during a high school careers class and my friend said I’d be perfect for it (I think it was a compliment, but not sure!) – so started looking into it then.

Where I studied to become an actuary and qualifications obtained… I was lucky enough to receive a Co-op Scholarship to study Actuarial Studies at UNSW.

My work history… I did a number of placements through the UNSW Co-op program (EY, Zurich and APRA) and have since been at Zurich following graduation, including a two year secondment to the London office.

What I find most interesting about my current role… I get to be across so many products, initiatives and issues and help the business to make informed decisions. And I love the privilege of leading such a talented group of actuaries who strive to help the business improve every day.

My role’s greatest challenges… Finding the time to be across so many products, initiatives and issues.

Who has been the biggest influence on my career (and why)… Hun Kim for always supporting and sometimes pushing me to take on new challenges in my career. My husband for being my sounding board when I wrestle with career decisions.

10 years from now, I will be… hopefully still at Zurich, adding technical and strategic value to the company, promoting actuarial skills and have a happy family.

HYPOTHETICALS / OPINIONS / WISDOM

Why I’m proud to be an actuary… our training and professional status means we apply a great deal of rigour to our analysis, which brings a lot of trust in our work. And I’m proud to use those skills in the insurance industry which has such an important role to play in the running of a healthy economy/society.

The most valuable skill an actuary can possess is… Healthy scepticism (but not cynicism) which helps spur one to ask questions and investigate to find better solutions.

At least once in their life, every actuary should… explain a price increase to a customer.

My best advice for younger actuaries… Rather than just wanting to learn new things, think about wanting to teach new things to others – you will grow and develop a lot quicker.

If I could travel back in time I would… meet my grandparents when they were young back where they grew up (Poland, Yugoslavia, and India) and see what life was like for them as well as getting to know them.

If I win the lottery, I would… hire a full time house-keeper and send my parents on a luxury cruise around the world.

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