CAS Profile: Julianne Borgardt

Julianne Borgardt has been with Allstate Insurance Company since 2015 and currently works as an Actuarial Assistant on Allstate Business Insurance’s Commercial Property Lines. Julianne is a graduate of Concordia University of Wisconsin where she majored in Actuarial Science and minored in German Language. In addition to her normal actuarial work, Julianne has enjoyed speaking to college classes and actuarial clubs as well as participating in High School Actuarial Days and career days to increase awareness of the actuarial profession and share her experience. 

Why would you recommend a career in the insurance industry to current college students?
The insurance industry serves a social benefit and is interesting and ever-changing. It allows its policyholders to rebuild after an unexpected loss and gives them that peace of mind, which for me makes this a rewarding field of work. The industry is ever growing as new items are considered valuable, think cellphones, and as regulation at the state and countrywide level changes, such as with self-driving cars or even tax laws. Additionally, a lot of the positions are in an office environment, so employees get to work in comfortable conditions.

Why did you become an actuary?
The main reason I became an actuary is because it was a profession that would use my problem-solving skill set and let me grow and be challenged while helping others. I was also attracted to the profession because of the exam program that has tangible achievements to help me feel accomplished. I also liked that it has a code of conduct and self regulates.

What drew you to a career in property and casualty insurance?
As an actuarial science student I was drawn to the P&C insurance industry because a lot of the products deal with tangible assets and because the work is still progressing and changing. You can find out how much a car costs or how much it costs to repair a roof; and as personal and commercial assets have shifted – cellphone insurance, ride-sharing and even identity theft all fall under property and casualty insurance. This keeps the problems we’re solving new, fresh, and interesting.

What can students do now to prepare for a career in the industry?
Getting good grades, and taking mathematics, probability, insurance, and business classes really helps build a foundation for the knowledge you’ll need in the insurance industry and as an actuary. I would also recommend doing your own research; there’s a lot of information out there about the industry and actuarial science, and it can help you find the right path for you.

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CAS Profile: Kelly Gates

Kelly Gates is a Pricing Actuary on the Commercial Auto team at Zurich North America. She is an Associate of the CAS and is currently working on her last exam for her Fellowship. She is a graduate of Lafayette College.

Why would you recommend a career in the insurance industry to current college students?
I think it would surprise most college students that a career in the insurance industry has a variety of exciting opportunities, especially for actuaries.  Getting your credentials provides a springboard to follow a more technical career or pursue non-traditional roles. So far in my career I’ve spent time in rate filing support and pricing.  However, there are so many more avenues I intend on exploring.  In fact, I’m incredibly excited about my next opportunity with Zurich.  I’m currently in the process of finalizing the details for a two-year rotation in Dublin, Ireland.

Why did you become an actuary?  
I started studying for actuarial exams as a Peace Corps volunteer in a remote village in Cameroon, Africa.  My schedule was very different during my service, and studying for exams helped me mentally get through a lot of the emotional obstacles I faced.  Watching the young women and girls in my village made me quickly realize the opportunities I have in my life.  This perspective helped me pass my first two exams during my time in Africa.  It sparked a passion, and it took two years in a remote village for me to find this focus in my life.

What drew you to a career in property and casualty insurance?
I believed that the property and casualty industry would be a stable choice, and I don’t regret my decision.  I’ve spent a majority of my career working in Commercial Auto, which is a line that has experienced rate increases across the industry due to an increase in frequency and severity of collisions that are partially caused by distracted driving.  In addition, there are more people on the roads in a strong economy when there are lower fuel prices. Helping our customers navigate these risks has exposed me to a variety of different projects.

What can students do now to prepare for a career in the industry?
Students should learn to communicate the technical work they will do as actuaries.  As an actuary, I know how important strong communication skills are to being successful in the role.  Take the opportunity to learn these skills during school.  If you can’t properly translate your insights, then you won’t have success getting them implemented.  Take opportunities to work with non-actuaries early in your career to help develop non-technical skills and to better understand how to translate your work.

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CAS Profile: Robert Hark

Robert Hark is an Actuarial Analyst at Applied Underwriters. He earned a Bachelor of Science from Montana Tech and a Master of Science from the University of California, Davis.

Why would you recommend a career in the insurance industry to current college students?
If you have strong mathematical and analytical skills, and you would like a well-paying, satisfying career in an industry that utilizes those skills, then a career in the insurance industry may be a good fit. Additionally, the actuarial profession is expected to have faster-than-average job growth: according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of actuarial jobs is expected to increase by 22% between 2016 and 2026.

Why did you become an actuary?
After I graduated from Montana Tech, I enrolled in the PhD Statistics program at UC Davis. During my time there, I discovered that conducting abstract statistics research did not appeal to me as much as applying my knowledge of statistics to concrete, real-world problems. I had done extensive research about the actuarial profession, and I liked the idea of a professional career that would allow me to use my mathematics and statistics skills while developing my business acumen in a business environment. Accordingly, I left the program with a Master’s degree and pivoted my focus to the actuarial profession, and I have not looked back.

What drew you to a career in property and casualty insurance?
Honestly, when I was interviewing for my first actuarial position, I did not have a strong preference one way or the other regarding whether to pursue a Property and Casualty career or a Life and Health career. I accepted a job offer at Applied Underwriters, which is a Property and Casualty company focusing on Workers Compensation, and I fell in love with the work. I am now decidedly pursuing my ACAS credential (and then my FCAS credential).

What can students do now to prepare for a career in the industry?
Once you start working full time, you will have less free time than you did in university, and it becomes more difficult to schedule the study time required to pass the exams for your credentials. Therefore, I would advise students to take at least the first two preliminary actuarial exams, 1(P) and 2(FM), as well as to take the VEE courses while still in school. This will give students a head start on the exams and will also help students produce a strong and attractive resume. Additionally, I would learn as much computer programming knowledge as possible, including languages such as SQL, R, and SAS. Companies are increasingly interested in candidates with solid programing skills.

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CAS Profile: Marla Strykowski

Marla Strykowski, FCAS, MAAA, is an actuary at Plymouth Rock Assurance. She graduated from Bentley University with a double major in Mathematical Sciences and Liberal Studies, with a concentration in Actuarial Science.

Why would you recommend a career in the insurance industry to current college students?
Learning about the numerous aspects of the insurance industry is fascinating, relevant, and a satisfying component of being an actuary. I love knowing that my work in this field ultimately provides people with help, and the support they need for the unexpected circumstances in their lives.

Why did you become an actuary?
I’ve always liked math and when I discovered actuarial science in college, I knew it was the profession for me. Besides the work itself, the uniformity and structure of the exam system, which measures all candidates on the same scale, really appealed to me.

What drew you to a career in property and casualty insurance?
Property and casualty insurance is so essential to everyday life that it’s easy to overlook, but that doesn’t make it any less important. From drones to earthquakes, there is a lot of variety. There’s always something new to discover, which coincides with my desire to be a lifelong learner.

What can students do now to prepare for a career in the industry?
Gaining an understanding about the insurance industry in general, such as becoming familiar with standard insurance policies, is a great place to start preparing. For actuarial students in particular, passing some of the actuarial exams is definitely an advantage. I’d also recommend taking a variety of statistical, computer/coding, and economics classes to gain a broad modeling and analytical background.

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Realizing My Dream – My Path to a Superpower Career

Uugii 2.JPGI’m an aspiring actuary and a college senior whose journey began in Mongolia where I grew up envisioning a future as a superhero.

Let me take you back in time … to Mongolia.

“Uugii, you’re too slow, the water is starting to spill and freeze into our hands. We need to go faster!” yelled my older cousin.

“Well, that’s because I’m carrying the heaviest 20-liter cans!” I replied.

My cousin responded with a smirk on his face, “Haha! Thank me later. You’ll look like Arnold Schwarzenegger if you keep it up.”

We chatted back and forth as we carried the heavy cans of water from the well back to our home that -40 degree winter night in Mongolia. The destination was an almost 20-person household in an old wooden house on the outskirts of the capital city of Ulaanbaatar.

After cooking with the water over an open fire lit by wood, an hour of electricity would come on and we all shared a movie together. The kids sat in the front, close to the television, ready to give it a hard smack with the speed of a cobra so we wouldn’t miss anything in case it went blank. When bedtime came, my cousins and I, who were only a couple years older than me, would sleep on the floor and have a friendly tug of war, pulling the blankets back and forth to secure more real estate.

During playtime, my cousins and I would often play a game where we pretended to have a superpower. This was our ultimate fun! My cousins would choose superpowers such as “speed of light,” “invisibility” or “super strength,” and when my turn came, the answer would always be the same: “The ability to see the future.” To me this was the definition of a superhero, the ultimate power. I would envision myself pulling my cousins out of danger by foreseeing the future. I was always the unnamed superhero, without much credit, when we accomplished our conquest of climbing the nearby mountain by successfully opposing the imaginary mountain guards and spirit animals. Did I mention these were the best times of my life?

Fast forward many years later to present day.

I recently found out as I looked in the mirror that my older cousin was exaggerating — I am nowhere close to Arnold. However, as an actuarial student at University of Wisconsin-Madison, my fantasy of becoming an unnamed superhero who sees the future for the well-being of others is coming true, because that is what an actuary does. In fact, the insurance industry as a whole is about making a difference in the lives of others by safeguarding people’s future and having a helping hand ready when they need it.


The insurance industry contributes to the welfare of society in many ways. With an actuarial career ahead of me, I’m excited to reimagine the future with self-driving cars, buildings beyond our imagination, and everything else the mind has yet to conceive. Insurance companies are already looking ahead to determine what these changes will mean and how they will adjust to ensure our society is protected. Also, the insurance industry goes beyond its role of helping by means of our superpower; the industry also donates millions of dollars to charities and thousands of hours of volunteering time to support local communities. The industry is the invisible force that protects society, and behind that are people like me, who started a career journey as the little kid shielding his cousins from the mountain guards and spirit animals.

Uugii Jargalsaikhan is from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. He is currently a senior majoring in actuarial science and information systems at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He previously served as Vice President of Member Relations for his university’s actuarial club and is currently a CAS Student Ambassador.

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CAS Profile: Allie Rexroat

Allie Rexroat, ACAS, MAAA, works as an Actuarial Analyst at State Farm in the Specialty Lines Pricing Unit. She is a graduate of the University of Central Missouri.

Why would you recommend a career in the insurance industry to current college students?
The insurance industry today is changing very quickly. There are so many new technologies that didn’t exist even 5 years ago that impact insurance, such as ride-sharing, autonomous vehicles, and advanced smart home technologies. As our industry and the types of risks we insure change, actuaries have to think creatively to solve new problems and have a forward-looking perspective for what else the future may hold.

Why did you become an actuary?
I became an actuary because I had a skill and passion for math and learned that applied math was appealing to me. It’s nice to be able to actually use the fundamentals that we learn through the exam process to apply to our work and the real world. Actuaries also have the opportunity to be involved in many areas of an insurance company from pricing and reserving to risk management to executive leadership. Actuaries can easily hold roles in multiple areas, so we’re not restricted to doing the same thing for our entire career.

What drew you to a career in property and casualty insurance?
I like the property and casualty side of insurance because it feels tangible. We are protecting the assets of people and caring for them in their time of need after a catastrophe or auto accident. These events can happen multiple times throughout one’s life. Being involved on the pricing side of insurance is rewarding, knowing we’ve priced or created a product that has helped someone.

What can students do now to prepare for a career in the industry?
I would recommend taking insurance courses during college, if they’re offered. Understanding how our products work is an important first step to any actuarial work. Of course, sitting for and passing exams while in school is becoming an industry standard when applying for internships. Really, getting any exposure to what an actuary’s work is like through things like job shadows is a great way to prepare for your career.

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Explore CAS Student Central’s Redesigned Website!

We are pleased to share that the CAS Student Central website has been redesigned to improve your membership experience. The website, now features a modern design with improved navigation and easy access to actuarial news, career and study resources.

New Student Central Homepage

What will you find on the newly designed site? The website is organized into four key sections that will be helpful at various stages during your actuarial career journey.

1. About the CAS
Discover where CAS members work, what programs are available to support you, how to get engaged with a CAS regional affiliate in your area, and how to connect with members through the directory!

2. About Our Profession
Have an upcoming interview with a property and casualty company? Read the descriptions of P&C areas of work, learn why it’s a top rated career, and examine the salary survey.

3. Member Resources
Specifically tailored to members, this section features exclusive resources including the CAS Curriculum GuidePredictive Modeling Software, and Internship Opportunities, all available to support you!

4. News and Updates
Learn what actuarial scholarships and networking opportunities are available, read blog posts and news announcements featuring hot topics relevant for actuarial students, and stay up to date through the CAS newsletters and publications posted in this section.

Old Student Central Homepage

CAS Student Ambassadors were instrumental throughout the redesign process, helping to survey their actuarial classmates on what an ideal website would look like, and giving their input at various stages throughout the project. We leveraged their guidance to ensure the new website would match CAS Student Central members’ needs and style, and who better to guide us than members themselves!

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CAS Profile: Madison Bemis

Madison Bemis studies actuarial science and music at the University of St. Thomas. She previously held the title of Co-President of the Beta Pi chapter of Gamma Iota Sigma and currently serves as the concertmaster for her school’s string orchestra. Madison is also currently interning at Travelers, where she will be working full-time after graduation.

Why are you interested in pursuing a career in the insurance industry?
I want to be a part of an industry that helps people. Insurance often gets a bad reputation, but in the face of tragedy, insurance is the first step to help people get back on their feet. It is imperative that we have caring people that work in the industry to remember what insurance is really all about: the people that we serve.

Why did you decide to study actuarial science?
Like many actuaries, I decided to pursue actuarial science because of my love for math. When I first started college, I still wasn’t even sure what an actuary really did. However, as I began my studies and internships, I fell in love with actuarial science and the challenges actuaries face every day. The industry is fast-paced, meaning new problems are popping up all the time, and actuaries have to come up with creative solutions.

What advice would you give to someone interested in studying actuarial science?
Don’t underestimate the power of coding! Models are becoming increasingly complex, and it is becoming more important than ever that actuaries are able to both build and understand them. Whatever experience you can get now in any coding language will be incredibly helpful for any position you have in the future.

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2019 ARECA Actuarial Scholarship Announced for Undergraduates in Asia

ARECA is pleased to announce the 2019 new scholarship competition for current undergraduate students in the Asia Pacific region who are interested in pursuing the actuarial profession.

About the Scholarship:

The primary element of the scholarship competition is for the applicant to prepare an essay (approximately five pages) addressing a business scenario that is illustrative of the issues that are analyzed by property / casualty actuaries in their daily work.

Scholarship awards of US $667 each (cash) will be awarded to three students. In addition, ARECA and CAS plan to publish the winning scenario essays, and to invite the three winning students to participate in an upcoming local ARECA meeting (or other actuarial event) during 2019.

The funding for these scholarships is sponsored by AXIS, part of the AXIS Capital group of companies, which includes global insurers and reinsurers providing clients and distribution partners with a broad range of specialized risk transfer products and services.


ARECA (“Asia Region Casualty Actuaries”) was formed in 2015 as a regional affiliate of the Casualty Actuarial Society.  ARECA provides continuing education programs, information and other support to actuarial programs at universities across Asia, networking opportunities for current and future actuaries, and now the ARECA scholarship.  For more information about ARECA, visit the CAS website [link to ARECA page]

Applications are due by 31 March, 2019.

Interested? Get more information and apply here!


If you have questions about the scholarship, ARECA, the Casualty Actuarial Society, or the actuarial profession after reviewing the material available through the above link, please contact Michael Chou, CAS International Relationship Manager, at

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