Day in the Life: Actuary

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Before I began working at American Fidelity, I had no idea what an actuary did. In fact, I’m not even sure I’d ever heard of actuaries before! Actuaries play a vital role in the success of insurance companies, so for this month’s Day in the Life feature I spoke with Doug Vrooman, actuarial analyst IV with 13 years of experience at AFA, to learn more about this field.

To start, I asked Doug how he explains what an actuary does to someone who has never heard of one. “Actuaries use math concepts to price products or keep money aside to pay claims,” said Doug.  This helps ensure AFA prices products fairly and profitably while keeping money in reserve to pay future claims for Customers.

Doug also provided a more in-depth explanation of his daily and monthly tasks: “We complete month-end processing, analyze data, create reserves, calculate reserve liability and work to improve our understanding of our products. In our department, each of the actuaries complete similar tasks, but for different products. This allows us to become experts on specific products and a resource for analyzing the performance of these products.”

Doug enjoys his job because he gets to solve new, challenging, interesting problems each day and there are always opportunities to make things better. For those interested in becoming an actuary, Doug recommends have a solid math background, being detail-oriented and persistent. “Most actuary positions require you to have completed at least two of the actuarial exams, and you must continue passing additional exams to advance in the field. You have to be meticulous and determined to study for the exams and progress through them in a reasonable rate if you want to succeed in the field. Also, if you have collaboration and communications skills in addition to strong math skills, that will help set you apart.”

Some universities offer actuarial science degrees that provide a good background for these exams, although many people, such as Doug, major in a similar field and study independently for the tests.  Doug used his math skills gained from his physics degree to help him begin his career as an actuary. For those considering an actuarial career, Doug recommends finding an actuary to job shadow and learn more about the field. Websites such as BeAnActuary.org and Actuary.ca provide great resources as well.

If this sounds like a great career match for you, check out our job openings for a product actuary I and actuarial analyst VI today! Not a math person? Have no fear! We have job openings in other fields as well. Apply today!

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