Lifestyle Article - Lights, Camera, Actuary: Spotlight on Paul-André St-Georges

Each month Zoe Bolton, founder of Bolton Associates will be talking to a GI actuary, who has moved away from the traditional actuarial career. We will gain a brief insight into their career trajectory, plus their advices and visions for the future of the actuarial profession. This month she talks to Paul-André St-Georges, Senior Manager. Actuarial Finance at Expedia

 What is your current role, and how did you end up in it?
 I am the Senior Manager, Actuarial Finance at, one of the websites owned by Expedia Inc. has a very successful loyalty program called Rewards and I am responsible for understanding the redemption behaviour of loyalty members and the impact it has on Expedia’s financial results.
 I was contacted initially by internal recruiters at Expedia through my Linkedin profile. I had wanted to make a move outside the traditional actuarial world for some time and this unique opportunity came up which offered the chance of a new challenge.

 What is the defining moment of your career to date?
 The most defining moment was when I moved to London 5 years ago into the regional consumer pricing team at AIG. I was very grateful to have the opportunity to work in another country and gain a lot of experience working in a very different work environment. London is a great city to grow professionally and I had the chance to move very quickly in AIG, gaining experience in management, leadership and exposure to many countries and ways of thinking across Europe, Middle East and Africa.

 In your opinion, what prepared you best to take on your current role?
 My reserving and pricing experience in insurance has been very useful so far for a role in a loyalty finance role – there are many overlaps as loyalty liabilities share similarities with insurance liabilities.

 As well, the unique skillset of actuaries in terms of knowledge of data analysis, analytics, financial acumen and business awareness has been very useful for my current role.

 What is the biggest challenge you face in your role at present?
 One of the biggest challenges was to learn the all the acronyms and the jargon associated with the online travel business – it contains both elements of the hospitality industry and the e-commerce business with many digital marketing and website concepts. It was a very steep learning curve, but is has been extremely rewarding so far.

 Another element I would say is that an actuary outside the insurance industry is not automatically valued or seen as an expert in some topics – many people were not aware of my skillset. I need to showcase more the added value I can bring to the business through my professional education and background than in a typical actuarial role.

 When did you first join the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries, and what advice would you give to those students looking to emulate your career path?
 I am member of the Casualty Actuarial Society – which has similarities to the IFoA – and my advice for any actuarial students is to study for as many exams as possible during university and early career as time gets scarce as you gain experience and more responsibilities. I would also recommend finding a company that really promotes exam studies with a great study program.

 As for getting in to a new field, I would say to show a keen interest to get exposure to fields outside traditional actuarial world, like digital marketing, data science and business intelligence latest software.

 If you had your time again, what would you do, career-wise?
 I would get even more exposure to some of the tools and software used by data scientists, such as machine learning.

 Please share your favourite piece of trivia with our readers!
 We had a recent fun forecast at in partnership with futurist Dr. James Canton for hotels of the future in 2060. It said travellers could expect to be on Mars, to feature augmented reality, artificial intelligence, morphing beds, roboButlers, 3D Markers, touchscreen everything, hyper connectivity and much more. Looking forward to that!

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