Actuaries gather data and analyze statistic to calculate, measure and manage insurance risks, premiums and uncertainties that can impact assets, liabilities, valuations and balance sheets. This business professional will develop, outline and communicate solutions to intricate problems for multiple industries, ranging from insurance to consulting.
Duties and responsibilities
- Audit the work of internal actuaries at insurance outfits
- Compile statistical data for comprehensive analysis
- Design policies to minimise risk and maximise a firm’s profitability
- Administer corporate measures to ensure balanced calculations for pension plans
- Produce charts that highlight results, proposals and calculations
- Explain findings to public officials, executives, clients, shareholders and other parties
- Review company policies to make sure that they align with your mandate
- Provide expert witness testimony in a lawsuit that deals with insurance or financial risks
- Establish new risk analysis methods and models
- Stay up to date on financial developments in the business world
- Travel to meet clients outside the city to discuss business and communicate data and findings
- Work on a team of accounting professionals, finance managers and underwriters
- Manage employee benefit programmes, like employer-sponsored healthcare, for companies
Skills and knowledge
AVERAGE WORKING HOURS
Standard business hours
Most actuaries work at least 40 hours a week and maintain a Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm schedule. Data shows that between one-quarter and one-third will clock in more than 40 hours, which is mostly because of travel times.
You will primarily work in an office setting, but you may need to travel on a regular basis to meet other clients, especially if you’re employed by a consulting firm.
You will also work in teams, though the job requires plenty of alone time, requiring the ability to work independently without supervision.
Annual salary estimates are based on percentile wage data collected through the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey of US workers.
Bachelor’s degree in maths or related subject
Actuaries will be required to complete a bachelor’s degree and major in actuarial science, mathematics, statistics or other analytical subjects. Also, graduates should have completed coursework in related fields, including economics, corporate finance and applied statistics.
Entry-level actuaries will need to pass a series of exams to become a certified professional – associate and fellowship – from the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) and the Society of Actuaries (SOA). Depending on your field, you may also need to enroll in the Department of Labor and the Department of the Treasury’s Joint Board for the Enrollment of Actuaries.
As an actuary, you will start your career as an entry-level trainee, working closely with more experienced actuaries. The role will begin quite easily, completing elementary tasks, such as gathering data, conducting research and penning reports. Employers might further cover the cost of exams, certifications and licensing.
As the years roll by and you have obtained licensing and certification, then you can advance to as high as chief risk officer.