MEMBER SPOTLIGHT

Each month, we will feature a member of the Academy and share a glimpse into their professional and personal lives.

NORMAN NIAMI
Specialty: Property/Casualty

WHAT LED YOU TO BECOME AN ACTUARY? AND WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO THE PROFESSION?

I always enjoyed math and working with numbers. My insurance career started at the California Department of Insurance, where I came across a couple of actuaries at companies that we were examining. Given my degree in statistics, it seemed like a fun and natural path. I took a couple of exams and thought, “This is not too hard”—and then the reality of upper-level exams hit.

DESCRIBE A PROFESSIONALISM-RELATED CHALLENGE THAT YOU HAVE FACED IN YOUR CAREER. HOW DID YOU HANDLE IT?  

When consulting for a regulator, I came across an actuary who was not abiding by basic actuarial and business professional standards in carrying out actuarial projects. A situation such as this is not easy, and it can be intense, as actuaries are trusted professionals. Once we had a clear picture of the inappropriate conduct, we had quite a discussion about the best way to proceed. We concluded that the actuarial work and reports from the individual should not be accepted in that specific market.

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU WISH YOU WERE GIVEN WHEN YOU WERE AT THE BEGINNING OF YOUR CAREER?  

Try to learn as much as you can from experienced and skilled actuaries that you are lucky to encounter and work with. Early on in my actuarial career, I was fortunate to come across two very seasoned and knowledgeable actuaries. They were also very nice individuals. Those relationships and what I learned from them were fundamental in providing many basics of how to approach issues, projects, and challenges. As this happened to me somewhat naturally and by luck, if I were even more conscious of it back then, perhaps I could have absorbed and learned even more from them, and also appreciated them even more than I did at the time.


TELL US ABOUT A TIME WHERE YOUR ACTUARIAL EXPERTISE INFLUENCED AN IMPORTANT DECISION IN YOUR WORKPLACE.  

It has happened on many occasions. While there may be gray areas in both the general business sense and in the actuarial area where different paths and decisions may be available and present, there are also basic principles that one needs to consider which lead to better and more effective decisions, outcomes, and solutions.

WHAT IS ONE OF THE BIGGEST LESSONS YOU’VE LEARNED IN YOUR CAREER?

Be confident in areas that you are an expert, knowledgeable, and experienced, and be honest, upfront, and humble in areas that you are not.

WOULD YOU LIKE TO SHARE ANYTHING ELSE WITH ASPIRING OR NEW ACTUARIES, OR THOSE INTERESTED IN VOLUNTEERING FOR THE ACADEMY?

Volunteering is a great way to learn more and work with amazing, skilled, and knowledgeable professionals who will make you a better actuary.


SHARE A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF. WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR HOBBIES OR OTHER PERSONAL INTERESTS?  

Well, with the impact of the pandemic, many interests—travel, theater, and musical events, for example—went on ice. I started walking and reading more, which is a good thing. I am looking forward to more travel and indoor events once we have the pandemic fully behind us.

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SEE MORE

Meet: Andy Ferris
Meet: Andy Ferris

"Find your professional passion. Whether that is working in larger teams or working mostly by yourself, working on consulting vs. industry, or any of the countless other dimensions of our professional experiences."

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Meet: Stephen Strommen
Meet: Stephen Strommen

"Volunteering for the Academy is a great way to meet other actuaries who care deeply about using their knowledge and skills to make the world a better place."

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Meet: Rhonda Ahrens
Meet: Rhonda Ahrens

"In 25 years, I can honestly say my job has never been boring. It has been complicated, intimidating, even frustrating, but I continue to learn and to find satisfaction in the topics that I continue to learn about."

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Meet: Andy Ferris
Meet: Andy Ferris

"Find your professional passion. Whether that is working in larger teams or working mostly by yourself, working on consulting vs. industry, or any of the countless other dimensions of our professional experiences."

press to zoom
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