What is an Actuary?

Actuarial science is a huge field encompassing many different areas of study including life, health, and pensions (among others).  The primary purpose of an actuary is to analyze the financial consequences of risk.  While most actuaries find themselves working for insurance companies or consulting firms, many also end up working for the government, hospitals, investment firms, or really anywhere that has the need to manage financial risk.  Actuaries need a strong mathematical/statistical background, in addition to some financial knowledge in order to lead a successful career.

What Do Actuaries Do?

Actuarial science is quite a diverse field, so actuaries can actually do a wide variety of things.  Some actuaries are involved with pricing, where they help insurance companies set the premiums for their insurance products. Others are involved with reserving, where they analyze the expected claims and decide how much the company should set aside to pay for claims.  There are other areas as well, such as product development where actuaries work to develop new insurance products.  Actuaries can work in fields like life insurance, health insurance, retirement benefits, auto insurance, home insurance, etc.  Whether an actuary is doing pricing for an auto insurance company or product development for a life insurance company, he/she will use mathematical and statistical methods to assess the company’s risk.

The Society of Actuaries (SoA) is a global professional organization that represents actuaries from all major areas of practice, including life and health insurance, retirement and pensions, investment and finance, enterprise risk management, and general (property and casualty) insurance.  The  Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) also represents actuaries specializing in property and casualty insurance.

How Do I Become An Actuary?

Becoming an actuary is not easy, but it is well worth the effort.

Requirements for Associateship in the SoA include examinations, an e-Learning course (delivered online), a proctored project assessment, a take-home project assessment, validation of educational experiences outside the SoA Education system (VEE), and a professionalism seminar.

Requirements for Associateship in the CAS include examinations, online courses, validation of educational experiences outside the CAS Education system (VEE), and a course on professionalism.

After achieving Associateship, an actuary may decide to pursue Fellowship, the highest designation an actuary can attain.   Candidates for Fellowship in the SoA choose a specialty track.

For information on the Associateship exams, please visit our Exams page.  For more information on VEE Courses, please visit our VEE Courses page.