Employee Stories - Ashley Rudnik

Amber Walton

How I Became an Actuary at The Hartford

Ashley Rudnik shares how the Actuarial Student Program helped shape her career.
Amber Walton
When Ashley Rudnik began her actuarial career, she looked for a place that would support her long-term growth.
“I was lucky to join The Hartford as an actuarial student, where I was able to rotate through different areas of the company, expanding my skills and knowledge,” said Ashley. Eleven years later, she is now a director level actuary on the Middle & Large Commercial property team.
In her role, Ashley works to help the teams she supports see profitable results by reviewing financial trends and evaluating whether premium adequately covers losses, expenses, and target profit.
“In a nutshell, my role surrounds analysis and monitoring. I have to keep tabs on loss trends and project loss ratios. Everything that I do is to ensure the business has everything they need to execute strategic goals and successfully underwrite,” Ashley explained.
While Ashley’s role has an internal focus on monitoring, analyzing and reviewing, she also explains the impact it has on the company’s customers. “We want to be sure insurance rates are aligned with the risks we're taking on. What we do as actuaries impacts the customer, so we handle all our projects with care and ensure the results make sense for everyone.”

The Importance of a Good On-the-Job Training Program

Ashley began her career in the Actuarial Student Program, which gave her exposure to try various opportunities over the course of two years. “I was looking for a program that would support exams and on the job training. With The Hartford, there was opportunity to learn in different areas within the company, which helped me to prepare when taking actuarial exams,” Ashley says.
As a life insurance actuarial student, Ashley began her rotation in the life program within The Hartford’s Group Benefits organization. After completing the student program and becoming credentialed on the Life side, Ashley was interested in gaining experience as a property & casualty (P&C) actuary and transitioned to the P&C space with The Hartford’s Enterprise Risk Management group. “Many actuaries will choose a career in either life insurance or P&C insurance, but The Hartford offered me the chance to explore both, and to learn both product and pricing, which I really enjoyed,” Ashley says.
The Hartford’s actuarial student program is quite unique. With actuarial positions in P&C, Life, asset management and enterprise risk management, The Hartford provides wider rotational programs and varied mentorship opportunities. Ashley explains that the program offers new actuaries experience within the insurance industry that they might have not received elsewhere. “Moving within the company is highly encouraged, whether you are just starting out or are more experienced,” says Ashley.
Ashley also revealed how the program offered her an opportunity to enhance both her technical and soft skills. “I had on-the-job trainings that allowed me to practice presenting, focus on relationship building and taught me management skills. I also was able to learn skills that directly applied to my role, like coding and modeling.” The real-world experience was invaluable to Ashley. “Seeing different lines of business really helps you understand more. You pick up a skill with each rotation and then you bring that into your next role.”
In the program, students can balance exams with daily responsibilities with 130 hours of dedicated study time per exam sitting. Managers are aware of the time commitment to the program and set expectations for work accordingly. Ashley’s business partners also understood and respected the time she dedicated to studying.

Mentorship Creates Opportunity

As she looks back on her career, Ashley emphasizes the importance mentorship played in her success. The mentorship program matches students with colleagues who can provide guidance and experience.
As a part of the mentorship program, monthly recurring meetings are scheduled to discuss a variety of development areas. “Often, I would discuss my development goals and strategies to work towards those goals.”
These meetings can also be used by both parties to discuss real-life scenarios that they’ve experienced, serving as a further opportunity for learning and relationship building. “In my rotations I was able to talk to both my mentor and manager to decide the next steps for my career. Overall, I was able to learn from my mentors and bring situations to them where they would help me problem solve and grow. It was beneficial to hear a new viewpoint on a situation from someone who had different experiences at the company,” said Ashley.

A Culture That Drives Success

Today in her director role, Ashley oversees four students rotating through the same program that set her up for success in her career. Now, she has the opportunity to provide her students the same support she received.
“The most important thing I have learned stepping into a management role is to keep communication lines open. There is no ‘one size fits all’ style and what worked for me may not work for my students. I try to ask a lot of questions and listen to the suggestions or questions they are bringing forward,” Ashley says.
Ashley also stressed the importance reverse mentorship plays on her relationship with her students. “I love hearing from students that want to implement ideas they learned elsewhere. Not every idea will work for our group, but it is important to be open to growth from all members of our team.”
Ashley values the connection she has with her diverse team of in-office, hybrid and remote employees. “As a manager keeping in touch with the remote folks is important. I've come to really enjoy being a hybrid employee. It’s a nice balance. I have been able to connect with people I probably wouldn't have if I was home.”
Ashley’s experience at The Hartford demonstrates the reward and upward mobility that comes with dedication. “The Hartford is dynamic. I haven’t felt like I needed to go to another company to gain new skills. If I want to grow in a new area, there are opportunities right here.”
Learn More about an actuarial career at The Hartford.
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