[Interview conducted and originally published by Asquare Partners]

May 30, 2022 – This month, we introduce you to Joanna Chardon, Chief Product and Pricing Officer at Wakam, the digital French insurer that provides products for large European platforms and insurtechs. Among its clients, Wakam counts well-known names in the tech industry such as Deliveroo and Uber. In 2021, its turnover reached €450 million; a growth mainly driven by international business.

Joanna Chardon is one of the big names in pricing in France. As Head of Wakam’s Advanced Pricing Analytics, Pre-sales Pricing, Products and Underwriters teams, she talks to us openly about her career as an actuary.

Quote of Joanna "At Wakam, we cultivate a mentality of entrepreneurs who see the same reality as others, but who manage to find ways to transform it"

What a pleasure to make this interview with you today. You are undoubtedly one of the leading figures in the field of pricing in France.  Can you tell us about your career path?

After my studies at the University of Gdansk in Poland, I started my professional life as an actuary in the Technical department of AXA XL (formerly AXA Corporate Solution). I oversaw the evaluation of specific risks such as asbestos, pollution or pharmaceutical risks.  An experience far away from mass risk pricing, in which I later specialised by participating in the creation of AXA’s direct entity in Poland in 2007. This exciting adventure led me to pursue my career in a new entity of AXA Global Direct. I held several successive positions as the global pricing teams grew. We built excellent teams in an international and very entrepreneurial context.

In 2018, I joined AXA France to build the “Center of Pricing Excellence” and help the local pricing teams to refine and industrialise their existing pricing methods and processes.

Finally, in June 2020, I decided to join the insurtech Wakam to support its international growth and expansion.

Why this turn in your career after so many years at AXA?

Big companies are very formative and can offer the opportunity to work on large-scale projects. Indeed, I have spent almost 20 years in this environment, working in many different positions without ever getting bored. If you are looking for a well-defined job, to be part of a group with defined processes, to gain experience and to have a certain stability, a big international firm seems to meet these expectations perfectly.

However, with the explosion of the insurtech ecosystem, I simply wanted to explore these new distribution approaches in the insurance world. The opportunity that arose at Wakam corresponded perfectly to this desire. At Wakam, we are immersed in an insurtech culture, but we are also in partnership with many start-ups in different European countries. A change of scenery is guaranteed. Working in this environment requires a deeper commitment. You shouldn’t arrive with too many certainties but rather with a positive attitude of looking for solutions. You must also participate fully in the growth and success of the company in order to fulfil your potential. In the end, it requires a very entrepreneurial attitude to see opportunities where others do not.

[Read the full interview on Asquare Partners]