What Does an Actuary Do?
In many ways, an Actuary is the foreshadower of a business’s future. It is their job to assess and analyze business data, markets, historical market catastrophes, financial theories, and more in order to steer a business in the right direction for potential growth. They are paramount to helping a business avoid pitfalls and continue on a growth trajectory.
Actuaries deal constantly with risk, and they need to be extremely knowledgeable with the market that they’re working in. As this is a risk focused position, it often requires a lot of experience. The ideal candidate for becoming an actuary will be level-headed, strong-willed, and willing to take risks that are calculated.
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National Average Salary
Actuary salaries vary by experience, industry, organization size, and geography. To explore salary ranges by local market, please visit our sister site zengig.com.
The average U.S. salary for an Actuary is:
Actuary Job Descriptions
The key to attracting the ideal actuary often lies in the job description. To make this task easier, we have curated a selection of examples that can be used as templates, ensuring you set the right foundation for your talent search.
[Your Company Name] is looking to hire an actuary. As our new actuary, you will be tasked with helping keep our business on the growth path and avoid as many adversities as possible. While we understand that every business encounters growing pains and certain resistance in their growth endeavors, we feel that with a skilled and relentless actuary you will help us to avoid some of these and optimize our potential. You will be in charge of gathering data from employees, computer systems, financial records, and hiring records in order to effectively assess potential risks within our company. If you enjoy a challenging but rewarding career, and are willing to work hard daily to always give us your best, then we want to talk with you.
Typical duties and responsibilities
- Create comprehensive reports that will allow you to find patterns and imperfections in the business model
- Help clients minimize the financial risks associated with a company
- Gather and analyze statistical data
- Develop reports, graphs, and tables
- Translate technological data into simpler terms
- Hold meetings with clients
- Prepare presentations and showcase risk findings
- Calculate insurance policies for the clients
Education and experience
- High school diploma or equivalent
- Bachelor’s degree in science, mathematics, statistics, business, or a related field
- Society of Actuaries or the Casualty Actuarial Society certifications
- Experience with statistics software
Required skills and qualifications
- Strong mathematical skills
- Excellent verbal and written communication skills
- Analytical skills
- Skilled in taking calculated risks
- Knowledge of statistics and an excellent trend reader
- Technologically competent
- Familiarity with financial concepts
- Good organizational skills
- Knowledge of GAAP
- Advanced Microsoft skills
- 5 years of experience as an actuary in a multi-million dollar company
- Master’s degree in finance or a related field
- Certifications related to becoming an actuary
ABC Company is seeking a self-motivated and creative individual with a strong desire to work with Product Management and other teams to bring statistical rigor and analysis into everyday processes. The ideal candidate will have a strong business sense and a proven track record of generating new ideas across an organization and implementing those into current operations.
The individual in this position supports the Actuarial Manager and team by identifying business issues, performing analysis to understand the drivers of the issues, and making recommendations to improve overall business results. This includes performing analysis within a designated business segment to assess reserves and profitability of the segment as well as financial planning.
- Conduct indications analysis, working with Product Managers to assess and forecast impacts of product, market, and economic changes on profitability and rate need
- Collaborate with Finance and Product to forecast premiums and losses, assessing the expected variability in those forecasts
- Conduct reserving analysis, using both traditional and non-traditional methods, develop new methods and incorporate them as warranted
- Model weather events, economic changes and/or business mix changes, and their impact on reserves and rate need
- Estimate the impact of claim practices and business mix changes on reserves and reserve variability, develop and analyze key metrics and exhibits to facilitate this estimation
- Effectively communicate results of analysis to peers and senior management across the organization, both in writing and in presentations
- Maintain an external network within the insurance industry to track emerging trends and approaches to business issues
- Provide supervision and training to actuarial interns and junior staff
- Serve as a mentor to other department members on aspects of project work, insurance, and general business knowledge
- FCAS or near-FCAS with recent success at passing exams and desire to achieve FCAS
- 4-6+ years of work experience in analyzing P&C insurance with practical application of statistical techniques and models
- Excellent communication and interpersonal skills, allowing effective interaction with colleagues and executives
- Excellent statistical, programming, and data management skills
- Strong project management skills to carry ideas through to completion
Duties and responsibilities
- Apply advanced actuarial techniques across all tasks
- Assist management to maintain pricing discipline appropriate to meet company goals and assure pricing fairness across membership
- Develop and maintain various actuarial/financial models and excel spreadsheets to adequately complete analyses
- Coordinate with external actuary and auditing firms for interim and annual actuarial information
- Maintain appropriate participation in industry groups to keep abreast of changes in law and maintain appropriate external relationships
- Assist management to develop annual production goals
- Provide claims and profitability history, perspective and analysis to reinsurers, auditors, actuaries, and other professionals as required
- Provide management with regular statistical information and reports concerning the company’s performance
- Understand and comply with all company policies and procedures
- Complete in-depth review of actuarial reserve report underlying the company reserve opinion
- Work with management to understand material case reserve changes
- Communicate results to management
- Work with management on reinsurance renewal process
- Work with Data Analyst to develop and maintain actuarial, profitability, and other reports as needed throughout the company
Skills and abilities
- Ability to apply sound actuarial principles and maintain actuarial qualifications in compliance with regulations
- Ability to apply practical information learned about the practices of the company to actuarial analysis and recommendations
- Ability to clearly provide support for analyses and reasoned rationales for recommendations to management
- Strong organizational skills
- Capacity to manage multiple tasks in response to both written and verbal requests
- High level of diplomacy and tact, combined with a strong sense of confidentiality
- Strong verbal and written communication skills, including ability to prepare clear and concise program documentation, user procedures, reports of work performed, and other written materials
- Strategic thinker able to provide leadership about practical applications of current trends in information technology, computer hardware, and software capabilities and limitations
- Strong listener, who translates user needs into operational applications
- Competent ability to request and analyze relevant data and recommend tactical and strategic action
- Team player with ability to motivate and positively engage colleagues and management
- Able to address trends in information technology, computer hardware, and software capabilities and limitations
- Expert knowledge of principles and practices of commercial insurance actuarial science
- Expertise in Microsoft WORD, PowerPoint, Access, and Outlook
- A power user of Excel. Preferable to have some expertise in VBA
- Working knowledge of SQL and relational databases and is proficient at working with large data sets
- 5 years multi-line actuarial experience
- Prior experience working at a senior leadership level reporting to a CFO strongly preferred
- A.S. or B.S. degree in Mathematics, Statistics, Actuarial Science, or related field
- CAS Designation
Candidate Certifications to Look For
- Associate of the Society of Actuaries Certification (ASA) – This certification increases the knowledge needed for an actuary. It teaches basic methods and applies those to unforeseen events in the workplace. To obtain this certification, candidates need to take an exam, verify their education, and also do a project assessment.
- Member of the American Academy of Actuaries (MAAA) – This certification verifies that candidates have agreed to the standards of the actuarial profession. There aren’t any guidelines or requirements, but they will have to agree to bylaws and apply either over the phone, in person, or by mail.
Sample Interview Questions
- Can you explain your experience with actuarial modeling and statistical analysis?
- How do you analyze and interpret large sets of data to make informed decisions?
- Can you give an example of a complex actuarial problem you have solved and the methods you used to solve it?
- How do you stay current with changes in actuarial principles, regulations, and laws?
- How do you communicate complex actuarial concepts to non-technical stakeholders?
- Can you explain your experience with actuarial software?
- How do you design and implement actuarial models for pricing and risk management?
- How do you evaluate the financial impact of potential events such as natural disasters or pandemics?
- Can you explain your experience with pension plan design and funding?
- How do you stay informed about industry trends and developments in the actuarial field?