Actuary

Actuary

Actuarial science is the field of study that applies mathematics and statistics to the study of risk. In the world of Insurance, this can relate to risks within a business, property loss/damage, illness and other life events. Actuaries try to predict the likelihood of these events occurring and the impact they would have in order to make finance and insurance decisions.

ROLE-AT-A-GLANCE
Binoculars
Demand Outlook
*

Employment opportunities for Actuaries are expected to increase

Diploma
Education & Credentials
*

College/Undergraduate Degree Required.

Data chart
Quantitative Skills Required
*
Group of people
Interpersonal Skills & Relationship Management
*
Multiple devices Specialized Technology Skills
*
Desktop area Work Environment

Office; Little travel required

ROLE-AT-A-GLANCE
Binoculars
Demand Outlook
*

Employment opportunities for Actuaries are expected to increase

Diploma
Education & Credentials
*

College/Undergraduate Degree Required.

Data chart
Quantitative Skills Required
*
Group of people
Interpersonal Skills & Relationship Management
*
Multiple devices Specialized Technology Skills *
Desktop area Work Environment

Office; Little travel required


WHAT IT IS

Key Role Dimensions

Providing information and guidance on risk exposure: Work with Insurance Underwriters, company executives, Risk Managers and Portfolio Managers to help shape terms, premiums and capital required to insure against claims.

Working to solve the dilemma between making money and risk exposure: Actuaries can have a significant impact on the organizations they work for as they define the policies (including pricing) of the insurance provided to customers.

On the leading edge of the intersection of mathematics and business: Use sophisticated computer programs in applying economic, financial, probability and risk theories to the occurrence of events to identify and project risks.

Diverse work settings: Actuaries work in insurance companies, in banking, on pension plans, and in government.

Focus Areas

Actuaries typically analyze and evaluate potential risks to determine premiums for insurance policies in:

  • Life Insurance: A financial benefit assigned to a person’s family or other beneficiary in the event of the person’s death.
  • Health Insurance: Provides coverage against costs associated with injury or illness. May include disability, injury, medical device/hospital coverage and related health risks.
  • Property & Casualty Insurance: Property insurance overs risks associated with properties including fire, theft and damage. Casualty insurance covers against accidents or incidents affecting property (e.g. motor vehicles, recreational vehicles and personal property).
  • Commercial & Industrial Insurance: Covers a number of areas specific to organizations and industries, such as property damage, theft and business interruption, as well as emerging risks associated with cyber security, the sharing economy, autonomous vehicles, and climatic change.  

WHAT IT TAKES TO SUCCEED

Key Job Accountabilities

Actuaries generally:

Evaluate risks and probabilities associated with events:

  • Create models to project the probability of risk events, in consultation with business line managers and Underwriters.
  • Evaluate risks associated with events and assign monetary value to them to determine insurance premiums.

 Provide recommendations and counsel on risk, insurance and portfolio management:

  • Provide information, guidance and input on the design and structure of insurance policies and products.
  • Establish minimum levels of financial reserves required to cover the potential costs of claims.
  • Provide recommendations for risk mitigation and portfolio management to guard against exposure to risks.

Knowledge, Skills & Experience

Must-haves:

  • Expertise in statistical and quantitative theories and their applications
  • Advanced knowledge of mathematical theory, including probability, statistics and calculus, to identify risk in insurance policies
  • Statistical analysis and modelling experience
  • Knowledge of financial services business functions and operations
  • Insurance sector exposure through in-class learning or work experience related to area of focus (e.g. Life & Health, Property & Casualty)
  • Advanced skills in database architecture and design
  • Methodical and attention to detail in developing models, analyzing data and developing recommendations
  • Out-of-the-Box Thinking: Creative and innovative decision making
  • Proactive and goal-orientated by nature

Nice-to-haves:

  • Previous experience in Research Analyst roles, insurance pricing, financial/risk modelling
  • Broad knowledge of the insurance, pension, investment or employee benefits fields

Education & Credentials

Entry-level positions typically require:

  • Undergraduate university degree
  • Graduate degree

In the fields of:

  • Science
  • Actuarial Science
  • Mathematics or Statistics
  • Economics
  • Commerce
  • Business Administration

More senior positions require:

  • Ph.D.

In the fields of:

  • Actuarial Science
  • Mathematics or Statistics
  • Economics
  • Commerce

 Employers in different segments may require candidates to possess one or more of these designations:


WHERE IT CAN TAKE YOU

Career Pathways

Advancement depends largely on job performance and the number of actuarial examinations passed. There are a number of pathways open to Actuaries through:

  • Increased Seniority: If you have supervisory ability, advancement to management positions in other areas, such as operations management, insurance underwriting, accounting or data processing is possible.

  • Deeper Specialization: You may also find yourself taking on non-traditional actuarial roles in areas such as banking and risk management (e.g. variable hedging, asset liability management). Other areas of speciality include financial management, analytics or risk management.

Future Trends & Impacts

Actuarial work tends to be more recession-proof than other financial service jobs: Given that they are foundational to insurance organizations, they continue to be utilized in a downturn in the economy. Factors that can influence the demand and qualifications for this role include:

  • Natural disasters: Need for property and casualty insurance
  • Life insurance: Growth in popularity of annuities
  • Regulations: Changes in regulations such as Ontario’s Auto Insurance Reform
  • Accreditation: Licensing requirements


Looking for personalized career matches?

Complete the Career Assessment tool and find your match to in-demand careers that Toronto employers are hiring for. Completely free!

Find your career match