Actuaries Washington DC
Silver Spring, MD
Nature of the Work
Through their knowledge of statistics, finance, and business, actuaries assess the risk of events occurring and help create policies for businesses and clients that minimize the cost of that risk. For this reason, actuaries are essential to the insurance industry.
Actuaries analyze data to estimate the probability and likely cost to the company of an event such as death, sickness, injury, disability, or loss of property. Actuaries also address financial matters, such as how a company should invest resources to maximize return on investments, or how an individual should invest in order to attain a certain retirement income level. Using their expertise in evaluating various types of risk, actuaries help design insurance policies, pension plans, and other financial strategies in a manner which will help ensure that the plans are maintained on a sound financial basis.
Most actuaries are employed in the insurance industry, specializing in either property and casualty insurance or life and health insurance. They use sophisticated modeling techniques to forecast the likelihood of certain events occurring, and the impact these events will have on claims and potential losses for the company. For example, property and casualty actuaries calculate the expected number of claims resulting from automobile accidents, which varies depending on the insured person's age, sex, driving history, type of car, and other factors. Actuaries ensure that the premium charged for such insurance will enable the company to cover potential claims and other expenses. This premium must be profitable, yet competitive with other insurance companies.
Within the life and health insurance fields, actuaries help companies develop health and long-term-care insurance policies by predicting the likelihood of occurrence of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, cancer, and other chronic ailments among a particular group of people who have something in common, such as living in a certain area or having a family history of illness. Such work of actuaries can be beneficial to both the consumer and the company because the ability to accurately predict the likelihood of a particular health event among a certain group ensures that premiums are assessed fairly based on the risk to the company. Additionally, life insurance actuaries help companies develop annuity and life insurance policies for individuals by estimating how long someone is expected to live.
Actuaries in other financial service industries manage credit and help set a price for corporate security offerings. They also devise new investment tools to help their firms compete with other companies. Pension actuaries work under the provisions of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) of 1974 which sets minimum standards for pension and health plans in private industry. Actuaries working for the government help manage social programs such as Social S...