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What Do Actuaries Do?

Career Description Analyze statistical data, such as mortality, accident, sickness, disability, and retirement rates and construct probability tables to forecast risk and liability for payment of future benefits. May ascertain insurance rates required and cash reserves necessary to ensure payment of future benefits.

Actuary Responsibilities

  • Design, review and help administer insurance, annuity and pension plans, determining financial soundness and calculating premiums.
  • Determine policy contract provisions for each type of insurance.
  • Collaborate with programmers, underwriters, accounts, claims experts, and senior management to help companies develop plans for new lines of business or improvements to existing business.
  • Determine or help determine company policy, and explain complex technical matters to company executives, government officials, shareholders, policyholders, or the public.
  • Provide advice to clients on a contract basis, working as a consultant.
  • Negotiate terms and conditions of reinsurance with other companies.

Qualities of an Actuary

Actuaries state the following job skills are important in their day-to-day work.

Mathematics: Using mathematics to solve problems.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Judgment and Decision Making: Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Other Actuary Job Titles

  • Actuarial Consultant
  • Actuarial Mathematician
  • Actuarial Assistant
  • Pricing Analyst
  • Insurance Actuary

Are There Job Opportunities for Actuaries?

There were about 23,600 jobs for Actuaries in 2016 (in the United States).

New jobs are being produced at a rate of 22.5% which is lower than average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 5,300 new jobs for Actuaries by 2026. Due to new job openings and attrition, there will be an average of 2,100 job openings in this field each year.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Actuaries in U.S.

The states with the most job growth for Actuaries are New York, California, and Texas.

Watch out if you plan on working in Oklahoma, Mississippi, or Maine. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Actuary Salary

The typical yearly salary for Actuaries is somewhere between $61,140 and $186,110. The median salary is $102,880.

Salary Ranges for Actuaries

How much do Actuaries make in each U.S. state?

Annual Mean Salary by State
State Annual Mean Salary

New York

$150,950

Connecticut

$132,910

Washington

$131,330

District of Columbia

$129,540

New Hampshire

$129,110

Idaho

$121,590

California

$120,680

Pennsylvania

$120,090

Colorado

$119,660

Georgia

$118,790

North Carolina

$117,190

Minnesota

$116,150

Massachusetts

$114,050

Kansas

$113,910

New Jersey

$111,580

Illinois

$110,430

Mississippi

$107,910

Florida

$107,850

Oregon

$107,410

Iowa

$107,390

Texas

$107,260

Wisconsin

$106,850

Maine

$106,660

Nebraska

$106,630

Rhode Island

$102,730

Alabama

$102,080

Indiana

$100,950

Ohio

$100,620

Missouri

$100,180

Maryland

$98,500

Vermont

$98,500

Michigan

$95,120

Arkansas

$87,730

Nevada

$86,200

Utah

$74,180

What Tools & Technology do Actuaries Use?

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Actuaries:

  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Microsoft Visual Basic
  • SAS
  • Microsoft Visio
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Access
  • Data entry software
  • C++
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft SQL Server

Where Actuaries Are Employed

Actuary Sectors

Other Jobs You May be Interested In

Those thinking about becoming Actuaries might also be interested in the following careers:

  • Judicial Law Clerks

Career changers with experience as an Actuary sometimes find work in one of the following fields:

  • Biostatisticians

References

Bureau of Labor Statistics

College Factual

O*NET Online

Image Credit: Via Wikimedia Commons

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