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Marine insurance
Published: 2020-12-08

Inside the head of a Risk Analyst


A bird’s eye view of the forest and the trees

Insurance is the art of being prepared for what few can anticipate. Jonas Svartström works in Stockholm for Åland-based Alandia as an Actuary, or Insurance Mathematician. His job is to put a price tag on risk.

From the start, Jonas Svartström, 33, was aiming for a career within teaching or research, where he could benefit from his keen childhood interest in mathematics that later branched into economics. This resulted in degrees in financial and insurance mathematics as well as in economics from Åbo Akademi University.

– I have always liked math and I feel I have come to understand how numbers work. In this job, I can combine all this through intensive monitoring of events around the world and advanced data simulations, Svartström says.

The same year Jonas graduated from Åbo Akademi University, 2015, he became employed as an Insurance Mathematician at Åland-based Alandia, a company that works in a highly international sphere.

After three and a half years in Mariehamn, his journey continued to Alandia’s Stockholm offices where 25 employees work to ensure the security of its customers. Jonas is a Swedish-speaking Finn who has arrived in Stockholm by way of Åland. What has this journey taught him?

– That there is a strong, shared culture within Alandia. Everyone works closely together and helps each other out where they can. The company has a strong sense of community, and even though our customers come from all over the world, our ways of working are firmly rooted in the Åland culture of entrepreneurship.

The work of an Insurance Mathematician involves creating insurance pricing models which can be used as a basis for calculating insurance prices. A key is to be prepared for events that really elude anticipation, which requires the skill of seeing around corners. The process of assessing risk involves a multitude of diverse factors: from politics and weather to health, money laundering, sanctions and much more. Any factor, really, that has the potential to affect a certain vessel or shipping company is taken into consideration in some way.

– I create models which distribute the risks among all our customers in a fair manner, Jonas summarizes.

The Alandia team that conduct quantitive analysis and create technical pricing models employs four persons. In their work, it is extremely important to constantly focus on the forest instead of being caught up looking at a single tree, so to speak. Single damages are irritating and pricey, but they must not overshadow the big picture or sidetrack the long-term perspective.

Marine insurance is about viewing shipping operations from a long term perspective and providing coverage for losses in the short term, in other words for various disasters. Jonas job is to quantitatively assess risk over time, which requires an open and curious mind:

– I read a lot of varying texts, often in order to relax, and I am especially interested in texts that discuss societal and economic questions, which often go hand in hand.

When he doesn’t work, Jonas likes to go out on a run that spans about ten kilometers around Kungsholmen where his home is located. He says he should really play more floorball as well, but that he hasn’t gotten around to it yet in his new hometown.

– I haven’t really found enough time for that kind of thing yet, but Stockholm certainly offers an abundance of activities to choose from!


TEXT Jörgen Pettersson, PHOTO Maria Rosenlöf

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