Actuary Career Profile

An actuary is a highly qualified financial specialist. They act as risk assessors and advisers in the finance industry, usually in insurance, although many are employed in the sciences and the corporate sector. Actuaries are the people who assemble and collate information for risk aversion policies.

The work environment

Insurance

This is highly technical work in many cases, particularly in the insurance industry. Actuaries are directly involved in development of insurance policies and products. Actuaries use modeling techniques which effectively underpin the basis upon which insurers assess risk and formulate claims policies.For example, when assessing risk factors in car insurance, they collate data relating to expected claims figures, ages of drivers, and a range of related issues. They use the data to determine the risk factor, the amount of insurance offered, and the demographic basis of insurance policies.

That's why you will see many insurance policies specifically targeted to age groups and other statistical bases. Premium payments are calculated on the basis of all these factors. Some demographic groups are more likely to cost the insurer money in claims, some less. The premium must also be profitable for the insurer, and cover all related costs. The actuary

Finance

In the financial sphere, their work is very different. Actuaries manage credit and value financial products, like stock offers. They're also the resident in house experts on the technical information regarding these products. They may represent their employers before government bodies in relation to legislation before a Congressional committee, or act as technical advisers to corporate management. They also function as advisers to stockholders. 

Business

In some cases actuaries are employed in formulating business management policies. An actuary will investigate data regarding a proposal for opening new businesses, or marketing new products. They assess competition, and costs incurred in these proposals to formulate policies.

Pensions

In the pension industry, actuaries operate as commissioned experts evaluating pension plans, preparing reports to members and management.

Salaries: The salary bandwidth for actuaries is $47,000 to $150,000. Median salary is calculated as approximately $85,000.

Hours: Actuaries work standard business hours, but the volume of work is a factor.

The career environment

The number of actuaries in the US is under 20,000, but is expected to increase rapidly, up to 24% over the coming decade. The demand has been caused partly by the global market. The other main factor is the rapid expansion of the US insurance industry and increase in the range of financial products.

Their career environment is different from the rest of the financial sector. In the insurance sector where most actuaries are employed, the environment is competitive. In the business and finance sectors, the professional competition is intense, due to the high wages and valuable career positions available in these areas.

The unique role of the actuary is the defining element in career success. Their career paths tend to be clear and stable, progressing in direct relation to their experience and skills. Job mobility is a factor in terms of career opportunities. However, they can also reasonably expect to rise through the ranks of organizations over time, replacing senior staff.