American Swiss Foundation

Leader Spotlight

Tan_Karen_Zurich_YLC13Karen Tan (Young Leader 2013)

Chief Actuary, Zurich Life Insurance Company.
From Summer 2014, Chief Risk Officer Asia, Swiss Re

What do you like most about Switzerland?
The fresh and delicious water you can drink out of the tap, anywhere; and the incredibly efficient transport and infrastructure.

What do you like most about the USA?
How it readily accepts people of all nationalities, races, and religions.

What defines your leadership style?
I believe in providing meaning and overall direction to my colleagues' work, and my job is to cut through obstacles and to allow them as optimal an environment as possible to get their work done.

Who inspires you?
I don't think there is one person. I collect ideas and pieces of wisdom from almost anyone I meet. It is sometimes surprising how a random conversation can bring new thoughts and inspiration.

What is your greatest achievement?
It's probably a tie between: (1) moving from Singapore and successfully assimilating into Switzerland after having been here 14 years, and being respected as a leader in a very Swiss part of the Zurich Insurance organization; and (2) having my two lovely boys.

Do you have any weaknesses? 
My speed. I need to constantly remind myself to slow down, so others do not lose me. My family also helps me remember to stop and smell the flowers - to enjoy the present.

Where do you live?
Currently in Zurich, Switzerland, but relocating to Singapore in a few months.

What is your favorite place in the world?
In an outdoor hot spring or Japanese onsen, surrounded by winter clad nature - ideally while it is snowing.

What is the best book you ever read?
Animal Farm, by George Orwell.

What is your goal in life? 



About Karen Tan

Karen Tan is currently the Chief Actuary of the Zurich Life Insurance Company, responsible for USD 20 billion of life insurance reserves in countries including Switzerland, Hong Kong, Japan, and Dubai. She joined Zurich Group in 2008 as Head of Global Life Risk Analysis, focusing on capital and risk management for the Global Life segment. Prior to joining Zurich Group, Karen held various positions at Swiss Re, including the role of Deputy Lead of its Swiss Solvency Test implementation. Karen has recently been appointed Chief Risk Officer for Asia Pacific by Swiss Re, and will move to be based out of Singapore beginning in the summer of 2014.  Karen is a Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries (UK), and represents Switzerland on the International Actuarial Association’s Enterprise and Financial Risk Committee. She holds a Master’s degree in Business from the Nanyang Technological University of Singapore. Karen lives in Zurich with her family and enjoys good food and traveling.

AMERICAN SWISS FOUNDATION, 317 Madison Avenue, Suite 2320, New York, NY 10017