How Actuaries Stay Informed and Up-To-Date

The CAS exam process provides aspiring property and casualty actuaries with a solid foundation in insurance and actuarial topics. But how can university students, candidates, and credentialed actuaries stay informed and up-to-date on the latest industry trends?

The first place to turn to is the CAS, which produces a variety of publications. You may already be familiar with Future Fellows, the quarterly newsletter geared toward exam-taking university students and candidates.

Other periodicals produced by the CAS help actuaries keep abreast of current events. Published six times a year, Actuarial Review is the premier P&C actuarial periodical. Recent cover stories include driverless vehicles, actuarial/underwriting collaboration, and the regulatory impact of Dodd-Frank. Actuarial Review can be read online, in print, or even via an app.

For those looking to keep up with current events as well as the latest research findings, CAS’ Variance is another resource available to members and non-members. This peer-reviewed journal, featuring both theoretical and practical actuarial research, is published by the CAS two times a year. In addition, other actuarial organizations publish informative periodicals, such as the American Academy of Actuaries’ Contingencies.

But there are other opportunities to stay informed beyond just reading. Actuaries are subject to a 30-hour per year continuing education requirement. One of the most common methods of fulfilling this quota is attending meetings and webinars, which cover the latest developments in the actuarial landscape. The CAS offers several meetings each year, some broad and some more specialized. For example, the CAS Ratemaking and Product Management (RPM) seminar, held in mid-March in Orlando, featured sessions such as “Big Data in the Insurance Sector”; “Flying Into the New World of Drones”; and “The Emerging Technologies of Usage-Based Insurance.” In recent years, the CAS has offered a complimentary parallel program for university students at these meetings and seminars.

CAS Regional Affiliates offer similar educational opportunities with less travel required and a more abbreviated schedule. Most affiliates hold two meetings per year in locations central to their constituency, and many have opportunities for students at these meetings. Find the contact information for the CAS Regional Affiliate in your area on the following webpage.

For those who cannot travel due to school, work, or personal reasons, the CAS offers webinars to members of CAS Student Central once a semester. The next webinar, taking place on April 14th, will cover the entry-level market for actuaries; details are available on the CAS Student Central website. For more information on upcoming events and webinars, contact Tamar Gertner, the CAS University Engagement Manager.

Today’s actuary is more than just an actuary – he is an insurance industry professional. As such, a great way to stay informed is by branching out beyond the actuarial sphere and engaging in other insurance-related resources. Some actuaries read non-actuarial insurance industry publications, such as Insurance Insider.  I subscribe to III Daily, an email newsletter published by the Insurance Information Institute (III), which summarizes eight to ten insurance-related articles of the day.

Other resources are available throughout the internet. Follow notable insurance companies and industry professionals on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. If there are topics or companies of interest to you, set up a Google Alert to get updates emailed to you or sent to an RSS feed. Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the Actuarial Outpost, the unofficial water cooler of the actuarial industry.

Today’s actuaries have countless tools at their fingertips to help keep a pulse on the industry. So how will you stay informed as you advance in your actuarial career? Let us know in the comments!

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An Actuary’s Advice for Students Taking Exams

We thank Syed Danish Ali, for sharing this post with members of CAS Student Central.  A version of this post was originally on the University of London’s student blog.

There are two aspects to consider that are relevant in undertaking any actuarial exam. The first is the psychological and the second is technical; I will try to elaborate on both holistically.

From the psychological side we have to realize that we ourselves are our greatest teachers; tutors and professors can show us the way, but we have to travel that path ourselves. A person who is determined and keeps on pursuing ultimately gets his/her rewards, with or without any tutor. Later on in our lives we will realize that ‘one repays a teacher badly if one remains only a pupil’ (Friedrich Nietzsche).The best tool we have for passing actuarial exams are study resources like study manuals and practice exams. From there, thoroughly read the technical concepts like time value of money, bonds and generalized linear modeling, etc. Understand them and then practice taking past exams.

Practice, and practice again; through practice and comparing your answers with the solutions you will be able to look inside the minds of examiners and see what they want from students in order to pass. An important requirement here is to give yourself ample time to study. There is no one time requirement because every student is unique, but you should feel that you have given yourself enough time.

Another crucial aspect is how to handle the possibility of failure.  We have to have the courage to face failures and still continue and not give up. Yes actuarial exams are difficult to pass, but the rewards after passing can be equally immense, so never give up. With consistent hard work, ample time and unconditional confidence in your abilities whether we pass or fail each and every one of us can perform miracles.

Syed Danish Ali is a graduate of the University of London. He is also a student of the IFoA and has four years of work experience as an actuarial analyst.

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