Day in the Life
Actuaries have desk jobs, and their offices usually are
comfortable and pleasant. They often work at least 40 hours a week. Some
actuaries -- particularly consulting actuaries -- may travel to meet with
clients. Consulting actuaries also may experience more erratic employment
and be expected to work more than 40 hours per week.
Actuaries may play a role in determining company policy and
may need to explain complex technical matters to company executives,
government officials, shareholders, policyholders, or the public in
general. They may testify before public agencies on proposed legislation
affecting their businesses or explain changes in contract provisions to
customers. They also may help companies develop plans to enter new lines of
business or new geographic markets with existing lines of business by
forecasting demand in competitive settings.
Both staff actuaries employed by businesses and consulting
actuaries provide advice to clients on a contract basis. The duties of most
consulting actuaries are similar to those of other actuaries. For example,
some may evaluate company pension plans by calculating the future value of
employee and employer contributions and determining whether the amounts are
sufficient to meet the future needs of retirees. Others help companies
reduce their insurance costs by lowering the level of risk the companies
For instance, they may provide advice on how to lessen the
risk of injury on the job, which will lower worker's compensation costs. Consulting
actuaries sometimes testify in court regarding the value of the potential
lifetime earnings of a person who is disabled or killed in an accident, the
current value of future pension benefits (in divorce cases), or other
values arrived at by complex calculations. Many consulting actuaries work
in reinsurance, a field in which one insurance company arranges to share a
large prospective liability policy with another insurance company in
exchange for a percentage of the premium.
Note: Some resources in this section are provided by the the US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.