1. What drew you to a career in property and casualty insurance?
My interest in mathematics attracted me to the actuarial profession, but it was the breadth and depth of insurance, specifically property and casualty insurance, that locked me in to this career. P&C insurance gave me the opportunity to apply my quantitative skills to a dynamic field whose focus on data and analytics, which has historically been strong, was growing even stronger.
2. Why would you recommend this career path to current college students?
The stereotypes that have persisted through the years are gone. Insurance has established itself as an ever-evolving industry. Think about ride-sharing, usage-based insurance, drones, and the recent uptick in catastrophes. These only skim the surface of the issues that the industry is currently facing. They also present an opportunity for sharp, young minds with fresh ideas to bring a different perspective to the table and truly innovate. Today's students are accustomed to consuming information from various sources and incorporating them into a thoughtful, comprehensive, and groundbreaking solution. That is exactly what we need in order to properly address the challenges of the modern insurance landscape.
3. What can students do now to prepare for a career in the industry?
Take courses that cover insurance-related topics, even if they seem to extend beyond the job title you are seeking. In addition to the traditional math courses, aspiring actuaries should consider classes that cover accounting, law, finance, and programming. All of these will help students develop into well-rounded insurance professionals.
Seek out internships throughout your college years. Even if slightly outside of your intended career path, hands-on experience to complement your classroom learning is a powerful one-two punch.
Network with industry professionals - not only those working in your role of interest, but also in other positions within insurance organizations. If you're pursuing an actuarial career, speak to actuaries in the field, but also get in touch with underwriters, claims professionals, and others who can broaden your perspective on the insurance industry.
Finally, find a way to develop your written and verbal communications skills. Whether through a formal public speaking course, an extracurricular activity, or a different avenue, improving your ability to conveying complex concepts to a non-expert audience will pay dividends in the future.
CAS member Adina Erdfarb, FCAS, MAAA, CPCU is an actuary at Chubb Insurance.
The Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) is proud to support the launch of Insurance Careers Month, a major multi-phased collaborative effort designed to help raise awareness of insurance as a compelling career choice. Throughout the month of February 2016, the CAS will feature profiles of millennials in the property and casualty insurance industry on www.CASstudentcentral.org.