- What drew you to a career in property and casualty insurance?
I went to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and had internships in both property and casualty, and life insurance. At the time, I liked both and there wasn't a clear winner. It came down to a couple of things: (1) I spent more time at my P&C internship so I felt more confident pursuing it full time and (2) our program director at the University was a P&C actuary so that probably influenced my decision. When it came time to choosing a full time offer, it was a "right place, right time" situation for me.
- Why would you recommend a career in the property and casualty insurance industry, specifically an actuarial career, to current college students?
Being an actuary is not easy, especially the exam path. So I would only recommend it to people if they're really committed to passing their exams. It takes a lot of time and hard work. Once you are committed, there are many reasons to want this career. One reason I would recommend this career path is that you can start working right after college. This allows you to support yourself while you are studying for your exams. The second reason is that once you have passed your exams, actuarial jobs are relatively low stress. This is highly dependent on the type of job you land. Obviously, not all actuarial jobs are low stress. The third reason is salary potential. You have a very strong motivation to pass exams as each exam pass will result in a salary increase.
- What can students do now to prepare for a career in the industry?
I highly recommend students to talk to the actuaries in the industry to find out what their jobs are like. Ask them questions! Ask them what they do on a day-to-day basis. Do they like what they do? What would they have done differently in retrospect? This will really help them identify what kind of career they want for themselves.
CAS member Ridhima Handa, FCAS, MAAA is a risk insights expert in the Predictive Analytics Center of Excellence in Zurich North America.
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.