An Introduction to Actuarial Internships

One of the most important things to do when looking for an actuarial internship is to educate yourself about the actuarial career. Companies do not expect you to know how to go about a rate revision or know what a loss triangle is, however, you should be familiar with the admissions process (exams, VEE requirements, etc), the differences between SOA and CAS (the latter is the THE professional society for property and casualty actuaries), and a basic understanding of what actuaries do.

There are many places online where you can read about all of these things, and the more you know the better—for two reasons: one, because you will have a better understanding of the career path you are about to embark upon, and two, because you will be able to demonstrate your understanding of and interest in an actuarial career in an interview. It is also helpful to have an exam passed, though this is not a requirement for an internship at most firms. It is, however, a requirement almost anywhere for a full-time position, so it’s certainly not a bad idea to start thinking about exams.

Once you have a basic knowledge of the actuarial profession, now is the time to start looking at companies where you can intern. Career centers at your university are a great place to start. You can also look at local insurance and consulting companies’ websites for any job postings. Once you begin applying and are able to secure an interview, the next key action step is to diligently research the company and be familiar with their products and services and, as importantly, their company culture.

Once you accept an internship offer, be ready for an exciting and challenging experience. I use those two words because you will constantly be learning new things and challenging yourself through project work and other learning material, but if you are interested in the actuarial profession you will find it very exciting and interesting and will be eager to learn all of the new ideas coming your way. Remember that you can learn something from each experience; therefore, if you find yourself working on something seemingly uninteresting, you could be learning some new excel formulas or VBA code that you once did not know. The internship is a great opportunity to get your feet wet and begin your journey of constant learning and growth, so go in with an open mind and an eagerness to learn and you will greatly benefit from the experience!

James Wood is a senior at Bryant University. One online application, a phone screen, and in-person interview later, the actuarial major has been a part of the internship program for seven months at Hanover Insurance Group in Worcester, MA, one of the top 25 property and casualty insurers in the United States.

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Bridging the Gap Between College and Career

Like some of you, I entered college knowing that I wanted to become an actuary, but without a formal actuarial program at my school, the first step toward my actuarial career seemed like a crash course in independent research. Sure, I had read the general description of the profession, had a sense of where an actuary could work, and knew that there were exams involved, but as an undergraduate, I had a limited idea of the direction I wanted my career to take.

Persistent Googling, along with conversations with any and every actuary I could meet, helped to gradually paint a picture of the profession in general, and the property & casualty branch in specific. But some of these tools only went so far, and I couldn’t help but sense somewhat of a knowledge gap about the P&C actuarial profession.

It is precisely that void that the brand new CAS Student Central plans to fill, helping you bridge the gap between college and career. Whether you’re enrolled in a university with a full-fledged program, or, like I was, one of only a handful of actuarial hopefuls at your school, Student Central can be the stepping stone to your post-graduation path.

But what will signing up do for you? Access to members-only resources, such as study aids and skill-building tips, will help you gear up for your first few exams and prepare you as you apply for internships and full-time positions. Membership in Student Central will also serve as your exclusive library card to the CAS lending library, where you’ll be able to borrow required exam readings and other actuarial publications. And future webinars on topics such as effective study techniques, provided at no cost to members, will help you take your talents to the next level.

With CAS Student Central, much of the Googling that I had to do will be replaced by one centralized site. Still, the conversations that I had with actuaries proved invaluable as I set out on my career; in fact, one of them helped me land an internship, which eventually led to my current role in the Loss Reserving department of a major P&C insurance carrier.

Student Central certainly does not intend to replace those discussions. On the contrary, it aims to create more opportunities to connect and will serve as a facility for this kind of dialogue. From a collegiate standpoint, access to our online student community database will connect you with a larger population of students who are interested in a P&C actuarial career. Membership also provides access to the CAS online membership directory, allowing you to tap in to the constituency of CAS fellows and associates who, like me, are eager to help you map out your career.
And finally, joining Student Central will earn you invitations to networking events, where you’ll get a chance to meet casualty actuary professionals in your area and hear firsthand what being a P&C actuary is all about. These include exclusive student programming to be held at CAS meetings in your area.

Early engagement in the CAS has proved invaluable in these first few years of my career, and Student Central will help you take your first step in that direction. The volunteer opportunities that I have taken advantage of thus far have given me a big picture view of the CAS and the people who make it the premier P&C actuarial organization that it is. Perhaps most importantly, I have become a CAS University Liaison at my alma mater, facilitating the very conversations that helped me early on in my career.

Ultimately, CAS Student Central is what you make it. It’s a resource. It’s an opportunity. It’s a community. Come join me and the rest of the CAS as we place our focus on your future.

Adina Erdfarb is an Associate of the Casualty Actuarial Society (ACAS) and currently works as a Senior Actuarial Analyst at Chubb Group of Insurance Companies in Warren, NJ. She graduated from Yeshiva University with Bachelors of Arts in Mathematics and Economics, with a minor in Business & Management. Adina is an active volunteer within the CAS, including positions on the CAS Candidate Liaison Committee and the CAS Brand Implementation Task Force, and also serves as a CAS University Liaison to Yeshiva University.

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