You are here

Actuary - a profession with many opportunities

The actuarial profession is multi-faceted. Whether in insurance companies, banks, building societies or audit companies actuaries are needed in a wide variety of areas and perform highly responsible tasks. But what exactly are actuaries and what are their tasks?
Written on 11/03/22

Actuaries are experts who use mathematical methods to assess financial uncertainties in the areas of insurance, pensions, investments and building society savings. They also work in ministries and other government agencies. Actuaries not only have to consider uncertain future cash flows over very long periods of time, but also always take the entire circumstances into account. The job profile of an actuary therefore not only requires an understanding of how to deal with figures, but also entails social responsibility.

Experts in managing and assessing risks

Actuaries are, so to speak, the safety engineers of the insurance industry. They focus on issues relating to life, property, accident and health insurance, as well as company pension schemes, and are primarily concerned with the financial evaluation and management of future events.
These include, for example

  • developments on the financial markets,          
  • mortality and morbidity trends (e.g. death, illness, accidents),
  • financial provision (retirement, long-term care, building society savings) or
  • the occurrence of claims of all kinds (e.g., in the motor vehicle industry or due to natural disasters such as storms, hail or floods).

Basics of the actuarial profession

As tools of their trade, actuaries often use very complex models to simulate developments in future reality. Answers to difficult questions can then be found on the basis of mathematical-statistical methods. For example, an insurance company can only offer coverage for a risk (e.g., death, theft, earthquake, medical expenses) at an attractive premium on the basis of actuaries' calculations. Actuaries thus devise efficient and safe solutions to deal with future uncertainty in an ever-changing world.
The obligations associated with this profession require a high level of education and training as well as a professional code of conduct that ensures the serious practice of the profession. The actuarial profession is therefore characterized by a high degree of responsibility.

Become an actuary

The actuarial profession offers outstanding career opportunities and can usually be found in the top 10 of the best-paid professions in salary rankings. The requirements to become an actuary will vary from country to country. If you have a strong mathematical capability and wish to enter the actuarial profession, please visit  the website of the International Actuarial Association – the worldwide body for  professional actuarial associations – where you will find a useful guide on how to proceed .