Day one saw Maximilian Hauck thrown in at the deep end, when he was introduced to Monte Carlo simulations. Despite what one might think, these having nothing to do with casinos, gambling fever or glamour. Instead, they’re to be found in an Excel programme that is used to generate probability distributions, and hence to estimate insurers’ capital cushions. In other words, they’re something for maths freaks like Maximilian Hauck, who was in his element.
After that, he visited Chief Actuary Jean-Michel Vautrin. The Frenchman explained to him how premiums are priced – a core element of our insurance business. More generally, too, Hauck soon found out that Talanx is an international enterprise. He sat in on a discussion with Indian offshore workers and a conference call with HDI’s Zurich branch.
He also learned about risk management, the programming language R and ARGOS, the natural hazard simulation system that uses a mix of mathematical, meteorological and engineering methods to estimate losses from natural catastrophes.
Hauck was impressed that even top managers such as Jens Warkentin, a member of HDI Germany’s Board of Management, made time for him. “That’s really something special,” was how he put it. The “clear highlight of the internship” was meeting Torsten Leue, the Chairman of Talanx’s Board of Management.
Hauck shadowed the CEO for an action-packed day during his internship and also took part in several meetings. “I gained a very good insight into the broad range of tasks and responsibilities that make up a CEO’s job”, he said. “Altogether, being able to spend a day with Mr Leue was a great experience.” The CEO also gave his young intern a few useful tips for the future. Among other things, he advised him not just to rely on his analytical and rational skills, but also to recognise the importance of emotional intelligence – something that is needed more than ever, especially in his position.
“It was really worth spending two weeks at Talanx AG during my summer holidays,” is how Hauck summed up his experiences. “Not only did I get concrete insights into the insurance sector and how things are done at Talanx, but it also helped me decide what I want to do in my professional career as a mathematician,” he said, before adding with a wink: “Who knows? Perhaps we’ll see each other again one day.”