Dr. Frank Cuypers muses about the beginning of his career
Dr. Frank Cuypers, a nuclear engineer with a M. Sc. in nuclear physics and a Ph.D. in theoretical physics missed a revolutionary discovery when he was a young physicist. In this interview he muses about what he has learned from his mistake and reveals why he nevertheless keeps on breaking his promise. The founder of Prime Re Solutions and the Prime Re Academy furthermore offers valuable insights into his private life.
Please describe your function at PRS.
In 2011 I founded with Michael Köhler the actuarial department at PRS. Since 2017 I’m the Chairman of Prime Re Solutions, but my main activity is still, and always will be, the actuarial support for our clients. I enjoy sharing my wide experience in all (re)insurance areas with them! Moreover, I started the Prime Re Academy, the educational institution of PRS; this is a channel that allows me to inspire my other colleagues in the industry a little and open the way for them to enjoy their work.
In your view, what makes up the success of PRS?
The mutual respect among the PRS experts and for our customers.
What do you like most about having direct contact with customers?
Fascinating being a consulting actuary is that you are challenged at the analytical as well as the communicative levels. The latter is rather unusual for actuaries, and I really do not want to miss it!
Successes and failures shape our lives. From which did you learn most?
As a young physicist I missed a revolutionary discovery by a hair's breadth because I relied too heavily on traditional wisdom. Years later, when I recognised my mistake, I promised myself that I will never again just accept anything as a given. Unfortunately I keep on breaking this promise, although more rarely…
In what field did you recently extend your qualifications?
A colleague and I recently published a research paper. To find the solution I needed to become acquainted with some non-trivial statistical procedures.
As a child, did you have a dream job?
Architect! And then I became an engineer, which is also not bad. Now my daughter is studying architecture, and I love showing her why her beautiful designs would be much too expensive to build.
What would you do differently if you could start again from the beginning?
Many things! But unfortunately the day has only 25 hours.
What makes you angry?
If someone misuses my trust.
What do you like doing most in your leisure time?
Mountain climbing! In the winter ski-hiking, and in summer climbing the rock faces of the mountains. Preferably with my daughters, but nowadays this is unfortunately getting very seldom.
Frank Cuypers in brief
Year of birth:
Marital status and family:
Married, two grown-up daughters
Engineer, physicist, actuary
With PRS since:
Previous stops on the career path:
Involved in (re)insurance and the modelling of complex systems for almost 30 years.
The different career cornerstones:
• Lobbyist for intellectual property
• Research and teaching
Dr. Frank Cuypers founded Prime Re Solutions, the actuarial department of Prime Re Services in 2011 together with his colleague Prof. Dr. Michael Köhler. In 2015 he founded the organization Prime Re Academy (PRA) with the goal to organize professional workshops in Switzerland. Only 2 years later, PRA offered its first workshop in Chile and has reached 300 participants in 2018.