We at Kraket had the pleasure and opportunity to have a talk with Daan Kleinloog, the chairman of the Actuarial Society, about the society and his personal experience in and out the society itself.
Could you introduce yourself?
My name is Daan Kleinloog and I am 33 years old. I was born, raised and still live in Amsterdam. I am the current chairman of the Actuarial Society (Koninklijk Actuarieel Genootschap, AG) in the Netherlands. In 2006 I started studying Applied Mathematics and finished in three years, instead of the usual four years. In 2009 I started working full-time at Watson Wyatt, now called Willis Towers Watson, and moved to Sprenkels in 2011 where I work to this day. In addition to my full-time job, I also started the Executive Master of Actuarial Science (Actuarieel Instituut), where I studied in the evenings and weekends. This was a very intensive period, but I managed to combine it with my job. By the time I finished my executive master in 2014 I already had five years of experience as a consultant. Then, in early 2016, I became a partner at Sprenkels, which means I have been a partner here for seven years. In 2016-2017 I started volunteering for the Actuarial Society, where I started in one of the commissions and eventually joined the board in 2020. I have been a general board member for two years and, as of 2022, I am the chairman.
What does your job entail?
At Sprenkels, we advise companies, pension funds and insurance companies as well as works councils. My job, specifically, is to advise board members of pension funds and the CEO’s and CFO’s of large corporations in the Netherlands. As an actuarial and strategic advisor to boards, I explain new legislation, such as the ‘Wet toekomst pensioenen’ that is coming to the Netherlands, tell them what the financial impact will be, and advise them on what to do. In addition, I am one of the partners at Sprenkels, which means that I am ultimately responsible for the consulting work and running the company.
What do you like most about your work as an actuary?
There are many financial matters that are quite straightforward to us actuaries, because we understand the Math behind it, but very complex for most others. Explaining that in an easy way, so they can manage the material and help them in making the right choice, is what I enjoy most about my job.
What were your main reasons for joining AG?
After studying Mathematics and working as a working student at Watson Wyatt, I noticed that I liked the work of an actuary a lot, so I decided that this was what I wanted to do. If you want to become an actuary, you must join AG. You receive the title AAG (Actuaris AG / Actuary of the Actuarial Society) if you join AG after you have completed EMAS (Executive Master’s of Actuarial Science) at the Actuarial Institute or AEMAS (Amsterdam Executive Master of Actuarial Science) at the University of Amsterdam. AAG is a protected title and a recommendation if you want to work for a pension fund, insurance company or a consultancy firm.
In addition to the title AAG, the association also offers you a network where you meet many like-minded people.
You are the current chairman of AG. What is it you want to achieve in the coming years together with your board and the members of the society?
There are a few objectives. One of the most important is that we want to make the profession of an actuary more known to students with a mathematical background. We strongly believe that it is one of the best jobs in the world, but it is not well known. I had never heard of it until someone from Watson Wyatt came to our university to explain what an actuary does and what it means. So we are trying to do things like this interview to help raise awareness of the profession. And we see that we are already succeeding because this year we already have a record number of students who want to do an Executive Master of Actuarial Science.
We also believe that, besides working for pension funds and insurance companies, you can do much more with the skills of an actuary, so we are also focusing on ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance). For example, we are introducing a climate actuary. Climate is also about long-term risks and long-term calculations and we believe that actuaries can provide a lot of calculations and advice on such social issues. Finally, we have a more internal objective to activate our members more. For example, by having them work together more on new social and actuarial projects.
Could you tell me a bit more about what the society offers its members?
First of all we have committees and working groups that you can participate in as a member and to which you can make a substantive contribution to a very specific subject. This is a knowledge based aspect of our organization.
We also have a more social network part, which we call our circles. These circles are where we have social meetings and events. There are about 10 of these circles, each of which have one or two network events each year on specific topics, such as pensions, insurance, health, environment etc.
As part of the membership, members have free access to our conferences, one at the beginning of summer and one at the end of the year, which have both a social and a knowledge based aspect.
We also provide the members with a magazine containing all matters of interest to both actuaries and society as a whole.
We also send this magazine 'De Actuaris' to all members of parliament, stakeholders and professionals who are interested in pensions, insurance or risk management. It is our way of getting and keeping in contact.
AG also has close ties with the Dutch Actuarial Institute (AI), which provides courses and training on all new things in the actuarial field, such as the new pensions scheme, changes in the insurance climate and everything related to health insurance, in which an increasing number of actuaries is working.
And finally, we are also a member of two major international organizations, the IAA (International Actuarial Association) and the AAE (Actuarial Association of Europe), so if someone is interested in learning from these groups, you can do so as a member.
What does the profession of actuary entail? In which sectors do they work and what are the different activities.
Essentially, actuarial professionals provide financial institutions, businesses and government bodies with the information needed to make well-considered decisions. They think out scenarios to identify, quantify, and explain the risks involved and subsequently come up with solutions. Traditionally, actuarial professionals are employed within the insurance and pension industries, but the emergence of data has made it that pretty much any industry can benefit from bringing them on board.
What opportunities has AG offered you?
For me, I joined the pension committee in 2016. At the time, there was the question in politics whether we should make the age at which you go into social security flexible. This way people could decide for themselves whether they want it to be at the regular age of 67 or maybe at 66 or 68. And of course, if someone decides to take early retirement, the amount you receive will decrease and if you retire later, it will increase. So we were allowed to do research for the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment. This was a lot of fun to do and something we would never have done otherwise. Getting to do this kind of research for the government is quite hard. We eventually made a report and came to the conclusion that if they made it flexible, the implementation costs would go up considerably. We also discovered that if you want to advance the retirement date, you need a supplementary pension from your company to be able to live on the ‘AOW’.
When you have a pension from your company, you already have the option of being flexible, so you no longer need the flexibility of the AOW. I won’t say it was canceled due to our research, but they never went through with it, so I feel like I was able to make a real impact.
Of course I also got the opportunity to be part of the board of the association. Which is a great way to learn different skills as a consultant.
Finally, could you indicate why students should choose an actuarial education and/or career?
I believe it is a really interesting job, where you can have a mix of math and the challenge of translating these math problems to clients, who have a hard time managing these complex questions. This is a lot of fun for me and makes for a very interesting job.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Yes, I would like to advise all students to study actuarial science and become a member of AG!