What is an actuary?

Actuaries determine the financial impact of risk. In essence, they make sure that their client or business has a big enough safety net to shield them from adversity. Actuaries estimate the likelihood of specific events occurring in the future and assess the potential financial impact these events may have using their analytical and mathematical skills.

Actuaries also determine a specific sum of money that their client or employer should set aside in order to be prepared to pay for the event when and if it occurs in the future. Additionally, actuaries offer suggestions to businesses and clients on how to lessen the overall impact of various risks.

For instance, if someone buys auto insurance, they might anticipate that their insurance provider will cover any damages in the event of an accident. Actuaries estimate the likelihood that a car accident will occur each month in the upcoming months or years in this situation. Additionally, they estimate the extent of the damage to the vehicle and determine a fair premium to charge the policyholder.

What is actuary sciences?

Actuarial science is another name for the field of study that employs mathematics to assess risks. Additionally, it contributes to the current and long-term financial security of various organizations, such as the insurance industry. Typically, most people that study actuarial science become an actuary.

Uses of actuarial science

Actuarial science also has two other primary applications outside of helping financial organizations assess their liabilities and make better financial decisions: insurance and pension plans. Heres a look at these two applications:


Actuaries typically use actuarial science in the insurance industry. For insurance companies to allot a reasonable amount of money to pay out claims that may result from the event, actuaries use mathematical models to forecast the likelihood of an event occurring.

Actuaries research mortality rates, create life tables, and use compound interest in relation to life insurance. Basically, they aid insurance companies in comprehending the likelihood or timeline of paying out a life insurance policy. Remember that you can use actuarial science for various insurance types, such as general, health, casualty, liability, and property insurance.


Actuarial science also evaluates the costs of various strategies in relation to various facets of pension plans. For instance, it could assess the relative costs of various accounting, design, or redesign strategies for pension plans. A type of retirement plan that includes employer contributions that are saved and paid out when an employee retires is known as a pension plan.

What does an actuary do?

Actuaries are responsible for a variety of tasks, depending on their area of expertise. Health, finance, insurance, and retirement are a few specialties that actuaries may choose to pursue. Although an actuary’s duties can vary, they also have some in common. Here are the general duties of an actuary:

What skills and qualities do you need for an actuary sciences career?

You need a combination of hard and soft skills as an aspiring actuary in order to do your job well. Keep in mind that as new technologies or insurance requirements emerge, you not only need the right skills, but you also need to improve them. The following abilities and traits are necessary for a career in actuarial sciences:

Teamwork skills

Actuaries work on complex projects as part of a group. As a result, you must possess strong teamwork abilities to get along with others and work effectively together to achieve a common goal. Since non-actuaries will be on your team, it’s crucial to collaborate and communicate technical concepts in a way that everyone can understand.

Analytical and problem-solving skills

Actuaries use their analytical abilities to evaluate complex data, spot trends, and pinpoint factors that might affect specific outcomes. They seek to reduce the likelihood of undesirable events and associated costs using their analysis.

Mathematical skills

Being an actuary requires working with numbers, so having strong mathematical skills is important. Calculus, statistics, and probability are necessary for actuaries to understand in order to quantify risk and calculate the likelihood of unfavorable events.

Computer skills

Actuaries use various statistical modeling software on the job. Both models and tables let them assess large datasets. As a result, it’s critical to be familiar with fundamental computer concepts and statistical programming languages.

Business and financial skills and knowledge

Since actuaries work for businesses, financial institutions, and corporations, it’s critical to possess a solid understanding of both finance and business. In addition to evaluating insurance and pension plans, they also assist businesses in limiting their exposure to financial risk and banks in maximizing returns on various investments.

Active listening

To hear what others are saying and comprehend what they are asking, actuaries need to have excellent active listening skills. When you pay close attention to what people are saying, you can respond to their questions.

Strong ethical principles

Actuaries must uphold high moral standards and act with integrity and honesty. Additionally, it’s critical in this profession to accept responsibility for your actions, your work, and your behavior.

How to become an actuary

You must be qualified for the position in order to become an actuary. Having the appropriate credentials, from education to licensure, can increase your likelihood of landing a job. Use these steps to pursue a career as an actuary:

1. Pursue a bachelors degree

Pursue and earn an undergraduate degree in actuarial science. You could also study something else analytical like math, statistics, economics, or business.

2. Consider additional courses

Complement your undergraduate degree with business and statistics courses if you decide to pursue a degree in a unrelated field. To position yourself for success in your future career, think about learning a variety of programming languages or enrolling in actuarial mathematics courses.

3. Apply to a professional body

During your senior year, submit an application for membership in a professional actuarial body before receiving your bachelor’s degree. To obtain your certification, take their courses and pass their exams. Additionally, try to take the one or two exams you must pass before graduating. Remember that you typically need to fulfill the continuing education requirements in order to maintain your certification or licensure.

Frequently asked questions

Here are some frequently asked questions about the actuary profession:

Where do actuaries work?

Actuaries typically work for insurance companies where they determine customer rates and premiums. Actuaries can work for government agencies, for-profit businesses, or nonprofit organizations. When working for the latter, they estimate the potential financial costs of difficulty or crisis and assist in minimizing the harm that this event may cause. They also help executives make important decisions.

How much does an actuary make?

What is the job outlook for an actuary?


What is actuarial science degree?

The study of how uncertain future events will affect financial outcomes is known as actuarial science. Actuaries primarily conduct research on how to quantify and manage risk in the areas of investments, pensions, employee benefits, and life and health insurance.

Is actuarial science difficult?

Actuarial exams are difficult and require intense preparation. This is why it takes the majority of people 7–10 years to complete them all. Each exam includes both multiple-choice questions and written answers, and it can last anywhere from three to five hours.

Do actuaries get paid well?

Actuaries are well compensated. A skilled fellow could make between $150,000 and $250,000 per year, and many actuaries make more than that. Depending on factors like years of experience, industry, location, and responsibilities, compensation may differ significantly.

Is actuarial science a good major?

Is Actuarial Science a Good Major? Actuarial science is a fantastic major to choose if you have a knack for mathematics. Since there is a lot of math involved, the work is challenging enough that you won’t get bored.

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