CAS Profile: Melissa Salazar

My name is Melissa Salazar and I am a Senior Actuarial Analyst at Nationwide Insurance where I work in Management Liability and Specialty Lines of insurance. I was raised in Florida where I went to school at the University of Florida (Go Gators!) and obtained my Bachelor of Science degree in Statistics as well as minors in Actuarial Science and Communication Studies. I have been in NYC since April 2017 working in my actuarial role. Prior to this position, I worked with Nationwide in Gainesville, FL as a claim adjuster for non-injury auto accidents as a diverse claim representative, meaning I handled claims in English and Spanish. I am a loud and proud Colombian, and in my free time I enjoy exercising, watching movies and cheering on the Colombian National soccer team!

Why would you recommend a career in the insurance industry to current college students?
The insurance industry offers a wide array of career paths that cater to various skill sets. In insurance you can find technical careers such as actuary, data analyst or consultant; careers after law school such as coverage counsel; positions that create and maintain relationships with brokers and clients; hands-on work as loss estimators after catastrophes occur; and many positions in which skill sets overlap like underwriting. Transitioning from one department to another is also very possible and IS often encouraged. For instance, I started my career within the insurance industry as a claim adjuster and am now an Actuarial Analyst.

Why did you become an actuary?  
I knew I wanted to become an actuary since my junior year of high school when my math teacher brought it up to me. I was excelling in my AP Statistics course and found the material very intriguing; once I did some research on the actuarial field, I thought it was the perfect storm of applied mathematics and sciences. My coursework in college solidified my decision – I wanted to be a problem-solver.

What drew you to a career in property and casualty insurance?
In reality, I wasn’t particularly drawn to a career in property in casualty because when I embarked on my search for an actuarial role, I didn’t know enough about the different sects of the profession to prefer one over another. I serendipitously ended up working on non-injury auto claims and that got my feet wet in the P&C sector. From there, I applied to an actuarial position which also happened to be in P&C. Now, I can’t imagine working in any other industry!

What can students do now to prepare for a career in the industry?
Students looking to have a career in the insurance industry can start by understanding the ins and outs of insurance from the moment a policy is written to the moment a claim is paid out, to the essential equation of insurance. At the beginning, the learning curve is steep; insurance is like an alternate reality that as a young adult, we don’t have much experience in, especially when it comes to commercial lines. Having a basis of knowledge of insurance and understanding the big picture can be a great start. Additionally, particularly for the actuarial profession, making an effort to be proficient in excel and having some programming experience will help immensely!


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Changes to Canadian University Accreditation Program

The CAS recognizes the exam waivers granted by the Canadian Institute of Actuaries (CIA) University Accreditation Program (UAP).

The CIA has recently revised the program to allow credit for Exam 1. Starting with courses given in summer of 2019, the CIA will recognize courses completed with a minimum grade requirement at many of the 11 accredited universities.

The CAS will grant UAP credit for Exam 1 and will continue to grant UAP credit for Exam 2 and 3F. In addition, the CAS gives credit for prior Exam 4 if the course work was completed by 12/31/2018. For more information on the CIA’s University Accreditation program, visit the CIA’s University Accreditation Program webpage.


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CAS at the Gamma Iota Sigma Annual Conference

The CAS was proud to be a Platinum Sponsor of the Gamma Iota Sigma (GIS) Annual International Conference in Dallas in late September, joining more than 625 faculty and students from 65 colleges and universities across North America and 400 industry professionals, for three days of inspired educational sessions, a career fair with 80 exhibitors, and much more.


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The CAS Trust Scholarship: Expanding its Reach and Impact in the P&C Actuarial Industry

Fall is upon us again, and university students have been back in the classroom for a few weeks now. With the new academic year also come exciting changes to the CAS Trust Scholarship that will not only increase the awards available for college students, but also help position the CAS as the premier actuarial society for P&C insurance.


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