Actuaries are experts in risk and the financial impact that future events will have on companies. They work to reduce the likelihood of undesirable events and lessen the costs associated with adverse events when they do occur.
Actuaries typically have a bachelor’s degree in actuarial science or a related field such as mathematics, statistics, finance or business. Professional designation as an actuary requires completion of a handful of actuarial exams and acceptance into the Society of Actuaries (SOA) or Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS).
Those interested in pursuing a career as an actuary should possess keen analytical skills, be business savvy, and have an excellent understanding of human behavior.
The U.S. Department of Labor reports that six out of 10 actuaries work in the insurance industry.
They have core responsibilities within the life, health, property and casualty insurance sectors. Actuaries use probability tables and modeling techniques to determine a number of details, including:
A smaller percentage of actuaries work in banking and investment firms, businesses, government and public accounting firms. Within these settings, their job duties might include:
Actuaries may work as full-time employees, but many choose to act as consultants because of the opportunity for flexibility as well as the ability to diversify one’s profile.
A career as an actuary has great earning potential. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the mean annual wage of actuaries in 2007 was $95,420. Actuaries working in management, scientific or technical consulting earned a mean annual wage of $107,080. Those working in the insurance industry earned a mean annual wage of $96,850.
Actuary jobs are expected to grow by 24% through 2016, which according to the U.S. Department of Labor is much faster than the average for all occupations. The constant need for actuaries in the insurance industry generally keeps job growth stable for this field.