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Become An Actuarial Analyst

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Working As An Actuarial Analyst

  • Analyzing Data or Information
  • Getting Information
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Processing Information
  • Mostly Sitting

  • Make Decisions

  • $70,000

    Average Salary

What Does An Actuarial Analyst Do

Actuaries analyze the financial costs of risk and uncertainty. They use mathematics, statistics, and financial theory to assess the risk that an event will occur, and they help businesses and clients develop policies that minimize the cost of that risk. Actuaries’ work is essential to the insurance industry.

Duties

Actuaries typically do the following:

  • Compile statistical data and other information for further analysis
  • Estimate the probability and likely economic cost of an event such as death, sickness, an accident, or a natural disaster
  • Design, test, and administer insurance policies, investments, pension plans, and other business strategies to minimize risk and maximize profitability
  • Produce charts, tables, and reports that explain calculations and proposals
  • Explain their findings and proposals to company executives, government officials, shareholders, and clients

Most actuarial work is done with computers. Actuaries use database software to compile information. They use advanced statistics and modeling software to forecast the probability of an event occurring, the potential costs of the event if it does occur, and whether the insurance company has enough money to pay future claims.

Actuaries typically work on teams that often include managers and professionals in other fields, such as accounting, underwriting, and finance. For example, some actuaries work with accountants and financial analysts to set the price for security offerings or with market research analysts to forecast demand for new products.

Most actuaries work at insurance companies, where they help design policies and determine the premiums that should be charged for each policy. They must ensure that the premiums are profitable yet competitive with other insurance companies.

Actuaries in the insurance industry typically specialize in a specific field of insurance, such as one of the following:

Health insurance actuaries help develop long-term care and health insurance policies by predicting expected costs of providing care under the terms of an insurance contract. Their predictions are based on numerous factors, including family history, geographic location, and occupation.

Life insurance actuaries help develop annuity and life insurance policies for individuals and groups by estimating, on the basis of risk factors such as age, gender, and tobacco use, how long someone is expected to live.

Property and casualty insurance actuaries help develop insurance policies that insure policyholders against property loss and liability resulting from accidents, natural disasters, fires, and other events. They calculate the expected number of claims resulting from automobile accidents, which varies with the insured person’s age, sex, driving history, type of car, and other factors.

Some actuaries apply their expertise to financial matters outside of the insurance industry. For example, they develop investment strategies that manage risks and maximize returns for companies or individuals.

Pension and retirement benefits actuaries design, test, and evaluate company pension plans to determine if the expected funds available in the future will be enough to ensure payment of future benefits. They must report the results of their evaluations to the federal government. Pension actuaries also help businesses develop other types of retirement plans, such as 401(k)s and healthcare plans for retirees. In addition, they provide retirement planning advice to individuals.

Enterprise risk actuaries identify any risks, including economic, financial, and geopolitical risks that may affect a company’s short-term or long-term objectives. They help top executives determine how much risk the business is willing to take, and they develop strategies to respond to these issues.

Actuaries also work in the public sector. In the federal government, actuaries may evaluate proposed changes to Social Security or Medicare or conduct economic and demographic studies to project future benefit obligations. At the state level, actuaries may examine and regulate the rates charged by insurance companies.

Some actuaries are considered consultants and provide advice to clients on a contract basis. Many consulting actuaries audit the work of internal actuaries at insurance companies or handle actuarial duties for insurance companies that are not large enough to keep their own actuaries on staff.

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How To Become An Actuarial Analyst

Actuaries need a bachelor’s degree, typically in mathematics, actuarial science, statistics, or some other analytical field. Students must complete coursework in economics, applied statistics, and corporate finance, and must pass a series of exams to become certified professionals.

Education

Actuaries must have a strong background in mathematics, statistics, and business. Typically, an actuary has an undergraduate degree in mathematics, actuarial science, statistics, or some other analytical field.

To become certified professionals, students must complete coursework in economics, applied statistics, and corporate finance.

Students also should take classes outside of mathematics and business to prepare them for a career as an actuary. Coursework in computer science, especially programming languages, and the ability to use and develop spreadsheets, databases, and statistical analysis tools, are valuable. Classes in writing and public speaking will improve students’ ability to communicate in the business world.

Licenses, Certification, and Registrations

Two professional societies—the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) and the Society of Actuaries (SOA)—sponsor programs leading to full professional status. The CAS and SOA offer two levels of certification: associate and fellow.

The CAS certifies actuaries who work in the property and casualty field, which includes automobile, homeowners, medical malpractice, and workers’ compensation insurance.

The SOA certifies actuaries who work in life insurance, health insurance, retirement benefits, investments, and finance.

The main requirement for associate certification in each society is the completion of exams. The SOA requires that candidates pass five exams for associate (ASA) certification. The CAS requires that candidates pass seven exams for associate (ACAS) certification.

Many employers expect students to have passed at least one of the initial actuary exams needed for professional certification before graduation.

In addition, both CAS and SOA require that candidates take seminars on professionalism. Both societies have mandatory e-learning courses for candidates.

It typically takes 4 to 6 years for an actuary to get an ACAS or an ASA certification because each exam requires hundreds of hours of study and months of preparation.

After becoming associates, actuaries typically take another 2 to 3 years to earn fellowship status.

The SOA offers fellowship certification in five separate tracks: life and annuities, group and health benefits, retirement benefits, investments, and finance/enterprise risk management. Unlike the SOA, the CAS does not offer specialized study tracks for fellowship certification.

Both the CAS and the SOA have a continuing education requirement. Most actuaries meet this requirement by attending training seminars that are sponsored by their employers or the societies.

Pension actuaries typically must be licensed by the U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Joint Board for the Enrollment of Actuaries. Applicants must meet certain experience requirements and pass two exams administered through the SOA to qualify for enrollment.

Other Experience

Because there are different types of practice areas, including health, life, pension, and casualty, internships may be helpful for students deciding on which actuarial track to pursue.

Training

Most entry-level actuaries start out as trainees. They are typically on teams with more experienced actuaries who serve as mentors. At first, they perform basic tasks, such as compiling data, but as they gain more experience, they may conduct research and write reports. Beginning actuaries may spend time working in other departments, such as marketing, underwriting, and product development, to learn all aspects of the company’s work and how actuarial work applies to them.

Most employers support their actuaries throughout the certification process. For example, employers typically pay the cost of exams and study materials. Many firms provide paid time to study and encourage their employees to set up study groups. Employees usually receive raises or bonuses for each exam that they pass.

Advancement

Advancement depends largely on job performance and the number of actuarial exams passed. For example, actuaries who achieve fellowship status often supervise the work of other actuaries and provide advice to senior management. Actuaries with a broad knowledge of risk management and how it applies to business can rise to executive positions in their companies, such as chief risk officer or chief financial officer. 

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Actuaries use analytical skills to identify patterns and trends in complex sets of data to determine the factors that have an effect on certain types of events.

Communication skills. Actuaries must be able to explain complex technical matters to those without an actuarial background. They must also communicate clearly through the reports and memos that describe their work and recommendations.

Computer skills. Actuaries must know programming languages and be able to use and develop spreadsheets, databases, and statistical analysis tools.

Interpersonal skills. Actuaries serve as leaders and members of teams, so they must be able to listen to other people’s opinions and suggestions before reaching a conclusion.

Math skills. Actuaries quantify risk by using the principles of calculus, statistics, and probability.

Problem-solving skills. Actuaries identify risks and develop ways for businesses to manage those risks.

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Actuarial Analyst Jobs

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Actuarial Analyst Career Paths

Actuarial Analyst
Project Manager Consultant/Project Manager Senior Business Analyst
Analytical Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Project Manager General Manager Business Consultant
Business Intelligence Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Finance Analyst Account Manager Billing Specialist
Business Office Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Analyst Project Leader Data Analyst
Data Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Senior Business Analyst Senior Consultant Senior Manager
Director Of Analytics
13 Yearsyrs
Analyst Finance Analyst Senior Finance Analyst
Finance Planning Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Analyst Business Analyst Senior Consultant
Manager And Consultant
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Business Analyst Project Manager Vice President
President/Owner
9 Yearsyrs
Underwriter Quality Assurance Analyst Project Analyst
Project Consultant
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Analyst Senior Finance Analyst Accounting Manager
Reporting Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Data Analyst Business Analyst Business Consultant
Senior Business Consultant
9 Yearsyrs
Business Analyst Senior Systems Analyst Senior Software Engineer
Senior Consultant
7 Yearsyrs
Finance Analyst Finance Manager Finance Director
Senior Director Of Finance
14 Yearsyrs
Business Analyst Senior Finance Analyst Finance Manager
Senior Finance Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Senior Finance Analyst Senior Consultant Information Technology Manager
Senior Information Technology Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Data Analyst Finance Analyst Marketing Analyst
Senior Marketing Analyst
5 Yearsyrs
Benefits Analyst Human Resources Analyst Research Analyst
Senior Research Analyst
5 Yearsyrs
Senior Finance Analyst Finance Manager General Manager
Vice President
8 Yearsyrs
Underwriter Assistant Vice President
Vice President, Technology
11 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as an Actuarial Analyst?

Actuarial Analyst Demographics

Gender

Male

54.8%

Female

35.9%

Unknown

9.3%
Ethnicity

White

67.5%

Asian

23.1%

Hispanic or Latino

6.2%

Unknown

2.3%

Black or African American

1.0%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

26.4%

Chinese

15.4%

Mandarin

11.0%

French

6.6%

Hindi

5.5%

Cantonese

4.4%

German

4.4%

Korean

3.3%

Russian

3.3%

Japanese

3.3%

Swahili

2.2%

Gujarati

2.2%

Italian

2.2%

Portuguese

2.2%

Arabic

2.2%

Estonian

1.1%

Turkish

1.1%

Marathi

1.1%

Dutch

1.1%

Sanskrit

1.1%
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Actuarial Analyst Education

Schools

University of Connecticut

13.8%

Georgia State University

9.9%

Florida State University

6.9%

DePaul University

6.0%

Columbia University

6.0%

Ball State University

5.6%

University of California - Berkeley

5.2%

Temple University

5.2%

University of Texas at Austin

4.3%

Pennsylvania State University

3.9%

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

3.9%

Northeastern University

3.9%

Ohio State University

3.4%

University of Florida

3.4%

University of Nebraska - Lincoln

3.4%

Boston University

3.4%

Michigan State University

3.0%

State University of New York Stony Brook

3.0%

New Jersey Institute of Technology

3.0%

Brigham Young University

2.6%
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Majors

Mathematics

32.0%

Management Science

20.7%

Statistics

10.2%

Business

8.7%

Finance

8.2%

Accounting

4.2%

Economics

4.0%

Computer Science

2.4%

Management

1.3%

Political Science

1.1%

Mathematics And Computer Science

1.0%

Education

0.9%

Marketing

0.8%

Applied Mathematics

0.8%

General Education, Specific Areas

0.8%

Physics

0.8%

Computer Information Systems

0.6%

Elementary Education

0.6%

Law

0.6%

Public Health

0.5%
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Degrees

Bachelors

51.2%

Masters

37.1%

Other

5.9%

Doctorate

2.0%

Certificate

1.9%

Associate

1.8%

Diploma

0.1%
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Real Actuarial Analyst Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Senior Actuarial Analyst Clover Health Labs, LLC Jersey City, NJ Jun 04, 2016 $165,000
Senior Actuarial Analyst Liberty Mutual Group Inc. Boston, MA Jul 29, 2015 $150,000 -
$169,500
Senior Actuarial Analyst XL Specialty Insurance Company New York, NY Feb 02, 2016 $139,277
Senior Actuarial Analyst American International Group, Inc. New York, NY Feb 11, 2015 $135,970
Actuarial Analyst National Union Fire Insurance Co of Pittsburgh, Pa New York, NY Mar 20, 2015 $135,970
Actuarial Analyst AIG PC Global Services, Inc. New York, NY Jan 29, 2015 $135,970
Senior Actuarial Analyst AIG PC Global Services, Inc. New York, NY Jan 05, 2015 $128,000
Senior Actuarial Analyst AIG PC Global Services, Inc. New York, NY May 01, 2015 $128,000
Senior Actuarial Analyst Endurance Services Limited New York, NY Jan 08, 2016 $126,060
Senior Actuarial Analyst Endurance Services Limited New York, NY Aug 01, 2016 $126,060
Senior Actuarial Analyst Milliman, Inc. Chicago, IL Feb 05, 2015 $125,000
Senior Actuarial Analyst Farmers Group, Inc. Los Angeles, CA Nov 30, 2016 $121,826
Senior Actuarial Analyst Liberty Mutual Group, Inc. Boston, MA Jan 06, 2016 $84,800 -
$140,700
Actuarial Analyst 2 Esurance Insurance Services, Inc. San Francisco, CA Sep 13, 2016 $84,700
Actuarial Analyst 3 Esurance Insurance Services, Inc. San Francisco, CA Jun 29, 2015 $84,500
Actuarial Analyst III Anthem, Inc. Thousand Oaks, CA Dec 10, 2015 $84,074 -
$119,796
Actuarial Analyst Milliman, Inc. Garden City, NY Sep 07, 2015 $84,032 -
$87,000
Actuarial Analyst 3 Esurance Insurance Services, Inc. San Francisco, CA Jun 08, 2015 $84,000
Actuarial Analyst Insurance Services Office, Inc. Jersey City, NJ Oct 01, 2015 $84,000
Analyst, Actuarial National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, Pa. New York, NY Aug 25, 2015 $72,900
Actuarial Analyst Towers Watson Delaware, Inc. Denver, CO Aug 09, 2016 $72,779
Actuarial Analyst Pacific Life Insurance Company Newport Beach, CA Sep 10, 2015 $72,530
Retirement Actuarial Analyst Hewitt Associates, LLC New York, NY Feb 09, 2015 $72,500
Retirement Actuarial Analyst Hewitt Associates, LLC New York, NY Sep 02, 2015 $72,500
Actuarial Analyst Plymouth Rock Management Company of New Jersey Red Bank, NJ Sep 13, 2016 $72,030 -
$86,528
Actuarial Analyst National Life Insurance Company Montpelier, VT Aug 23, 2015 $72,000
Health and Benefits Actuarial Analyst AON Risk Services Central, Inc. Chicago, IL Aug 09, 2016 $72,000

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Top Skills for An Actuarial Analyst

FinancialStatementsLossRatiosSASSQLServerPlanLiabilitiesCompliancePersonalAutoVBABenefitCalculationsTrendInsuranceCompaniesAssetRateFilingsActuarialValuationsMedicareAdvantageLifeInsuranceProductsAnnuityIbnrPbgcValuationReports

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  1. Financial Statements
  2. Loss Ratios
  3. SAS
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Prepare year-end financial statements for state reporting, Maintain claims and policy count data in Access database.
  • Perform profitability reviews to project future policy year loss ratios and return on surplus.
  • Helped lead our team in the transition to SAS.
  • Trained in database design and development through Microsoft SQL Server 2000 classes.
  • Coded and utilized actuarial valuation software to calculate pension plan assets and plan liabilities for funding and expense rules.

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