What Is an Actuary?
Most people think of the actuary as a dried-up, dull person who sits in a dusty old office, at a desk piled high with thick books, looking at charts upon charts filled with numbers. In fact, that stereotype is no truer of actuaries than it is of any other business professional.
Actuaries are the people who see the probabilities life offers. They have the ability to visualize that anything is possible, and they understand that nobody knows what’s going to happen next. They become skilled at applying mathematical formulas to all kinds of life situations so that they can provide business leaders with well-based guesses for just about anything that might happen next.
It is true that, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 55% of all actuaries work for insurance companies. After all, insurance companies put up their money against the risk of loss, and they need people to tell them how much to charge for doing that.
Besides predicting the likelihood of someone staying well and alive, or whether a person of this sex and age is likely to have an automobile accident, actuaries provide other services as well. Many of them work in the financial departments of large corporations, evaluating future prospects for prosperity and growth.
Yet other actuaries find fascinating positions working in administrative risk management. In the fast-paced atmosphere of today’s corporate culture, many companies, government agencies, and health care institutions hire actuaries to look at the risks they take in developing new products or protocols.
The Society of Actuaries provides a wealth of information on how to proceed if this career appeals to you.