Why Become An Actuary?

"No matter the source, actuary is consistently rated as one of the best jobs in America."

"US News and World Report, the Jobs Rated Almanac, CNN Money, and others all agree: few other occupations offer the combination of benefits that an actuarial career can offer." — beanactuary.org

But, what is an actuary?

An actuary is part mathematician, statistician, financier, and social scientist. An actuary is a trained expert who uses his expertise to manage future risk. One CAS panel member defined an actuary as "Lion-tamer : lion :: actuary : risk".

So, what does an actuary do?

The actuary's responsibilities date back to the early 1800's, when most actuarial work centered on developing mortality tables and life insurance policies. Today most actuaries are best known for their work in the insurance and pension fields, where they design financially secure benefit programs to protect people. But the profession is changing, and actuaries are now finding themselves involved in many other areas.

Trained to analyze uncertainty and risk, actuaries create and manage programs which will reduce the adverse financial impact of the expected and unexpected things that happen to people and businesses. Some of the projects may include:

  • Determining a company's monetary value in a merger or acquisition.
  • Projecting what the AIDS epidemic will cost life and health insurance companies in five, ten, and twenty years.
  • Determining the price for a liability policy
  • Designing a new retirement program for a company
  • Calculating the price to charge for insuring a satellite launch
  • Estimating the costs of a major earthquake on the West Coast
  • Answering questions like, "What risks are insurable," and "How much and where should companies invest money?"