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2019 Break Out Awards, Midwest: Jonathan Charak

Jonathan Charak


Vice president, senior pricing actuary-emerging solutions

Zurich North America

Schaumburg, Illinois

Age: 35

A biology and math major at Illinois Wesleyan University, Jonathan Charak joined Zurich North America in 2005 because he had enjoyed an insurance internship and wanted to work for a global company. He trained as an actuary but also took on other roles and spent more than two years in Zurich’s Sydney office. Recently promoted, he leads efforts at the insurer to find solutions for emerging risks.

What’s the No. 1 concern in your specialty?

How fast lots of risks are changing, and what were big risks 10 years ago might not be the biggest concern right now. Autos right now are 100% under auto liability, but in the not-too-distant future it looks like it’s going to be a combination of cyber liability, auto liability, product liability and maybe a little bit of errors and omissions to create a comprehensive package. It also means that traditional ways that actuaries looked at the risk and priced it may no longer be applicable.

What advice would you give to someone starting out in the business?

Look for opportunities and volunteer for them. There’s plenty of things that you don’t know how to do, I don’t know how to do, and lots of people don’t know, and the only real way is to put yourself out there and learn. Find people to be your mentors who will push you in directions that you may not have thought of going into.

What surprised you about the insurance industry?

There are a ton of acronyms.

What is something most people don’t know about you?

Scuba diving, and I love to cook, and I’m extremely adventurous in my cooking. I made a ham that had to age in my basement for a year, and I made my own cheese.

What is your favorite app or gadget?

Podcast addict


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