Meet Ocean Chiu – a prominent figure in the insurance sector whose expertise and leadership have made a significant impact in the industry.
With a remarkable career spanning over 15 years, Ocean has honed his skills in reinsurance, actuarial analysis, and regulatory affairs, allowing him to path his way to his current role as Senior Manager in the General Business division of Insurance Authority (Hong Kong). Join us as we delve into Ocean’s vast experience, visionary perspectives and discover a fun fact about Ocean that few people know!
What inspired you to pursue a career in the actuarial profession?
I wanted to get a job as an economist but was told that there weren’t any jobs as an economist. However, now that I am part of the actuarial community, my proudest achievement to date is my involvement in facilitating the World Bank to execute the Largest Single Country Catastrophe Bond and Swap Transaction to provide Chile US$630m in earthquake coverage – of which the US$350m cat bond was arranged and listed in Hong Kong.
Where did you study?
I gained my university qualifications from UNSW, which was the stepping stone in gaining my FIAA qualifications from the Actuaries Institute.
Tell us about your journey to becoming an actuary and how you got involved in Asia’s insurance industry.
I began my working career flipping burgers at Oporto before becoming a sales assistant at Grace Brothers. My actuarial career, however, kicked-off with an internship at KMPG which helped me progress to an actuarial analyst at Allianz, an actuary at Asia Capital Re in Singapore, a client manager at Allianz Re (Singapore) to my current role as Senior Manager in the General Business Division at Insurance Authority (Hong Kong).
In my current role, I get to build new regulatory regimes to facilitate insurance of Insurance Linked Securities (“ILS”) in Hong Kong. This ranges from contributing to making legislation, authorising new special purpose insurers to market development in attracting sponsors to use Hong Kong as an ILS domicile.
What actuarial capabilities do you use in your current job?
In my current job, I provide feedback on actuarial reserve reports and ORSA reports of regulated entities and also provide internal advice on the adequacy of reinsurance structures of our regulated entities. I also work as part of a team in reviewing the adequacy of regulated entities’ own cat models and devising a framework to consider the amount of capital relief given to regulated entities whose reinsurance may be subject to basis risk.
One of the greatest challenges I face in my role is raising awareness of ILS in Asia from both an issuance and investment angle.
Who has been the biggest influence on your career to date?
Many people have influenced my career throughout the years, but I would say that the biggest influence so far would be Mr. David Koob. David offered me an opportunity to break into the actuarial profession and has continued to be a great mentor throughout. If it wasn’t for David, I would have most likely become an auditor.
What similarities and differences have you noticed between Australia and some of the Asian countries you have worked in, specifically with regards to cultural and business practices?
I believe we have more in common than we do different which is why I think it’s important to focus on what we share in common and respect the differences we may have. For those planning on working, I think it’s important to keep an open mind – just think of the phrase, ‘When in Rome, do as the Romans do’!
What advice would you give to aspiring actuaries?
The Australian actuarial qualification is recognised internationally so, I would really encourage aspiring actuaries to take advantage of it.
I would also say that the most valuable skill that an actuary can possess is the ability to communicate technical concepts and terms to a layman. It’s important to hone your communication skills throughout your career to ensure that you can do this.
What are your passions outside of work?
Taking my 2-year-old son on adventures – even if it’s just to the local park. I can’t believe that in ten years, I’ll be a dad to a teenager! I’m also passionate about economic history and am currently trying to read every Pulitzer non-fiction winner’s stories.
Can you share one thing that people may not know about you?
I came third in New Zealand’s North Island High School Weightlifting Championships.
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