Natalie Keong

Natalie Keong

Life Underwriter

Through my internship in a headhunting company, I gained insights into the various jobs available in the financial services industry and the skills required for those roles. I learnt that insurance is a commonly misunderstood industry, yet it provides products and services widely used by individuals and companies.

Knowing that I enjoy technical and analytical work, I evaluated my options and concluded that pursuing a career as an underwriter would be interesting and challenging. An underwriter adapts to changes within the industry, assessing risks on behalf of the company. An underwriter also has to predict possible scenarios and come up with solutions associated with these risks.

My role and my company

The insurance industry is evolving and so is AXA. We are transforming the way insurance is offered to customers and there are many initiatives to improve customer experience. AXA is made up of many corporate functions, not just insurance agents!

As a global company, AXA offers many development opportunities for its employees. For example, the Insurance Management Associate Program (IMAP) allows me to rotate across various departments and improve my technical insurance knowledge through courses and exams.

As a Life Underwriter, I am responsible for assessing individual mortality risk before deciding the terms that can be offered. My team of life underwriters act as gatekeepers for the company, deciding the risks we would undertake for clients.

The best bits about my job

My daily work often requires me to collaborate with colleagues in other departments, and this deepens my understanding of various departments and their roles in the insurance industry ecosystem.

On the other hand, I also work on enhancement projects which provide me with insights on how different functions in the company intertwine.

Adapting to corporate life

The speed at which changes happen is faster than I have imagined! I learnt that this is due to the linkages between departments and processes. A change in just one process may cause a domino effect across the entire ecosystem, resulting in major changes in a very short time.

I am also pleasantly surprised that in AXA, the senior leaders play an active role in listening to their employees. There are many avenues and platforms where our feedback can be heard. Our Executive Committee members are approachable and they even take time out to run a full-day culture session with newcomers. The session I attended was facilitated by our Chief Financial Officer and Managing Director, Life Line of Business.

Advice for graduates

Be open with your career options and don’t let your judgment be clouded by stereotypes. Approach industry professionals to find out what they actually do. Be prepared for the conversations so that you can benefit fully from the discussions.