CAS Profile: Jason Nikowitz

My name is Jason Nikowitz.  I have an associate degree from Harper College, a bachelor’s degree from Purdue University, and a master’s degree from North Central College.  I currently work at Zurich North America as an AVP Actuary and Team Lead.  Prior to transitioning to actuarial work, I taught high school mathematics for five years.  I am a Fellow of the Casualty Actuarial Society (FCAS), a Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU), and a Certified Specialist in Predictive Analytics (CSPA).

Why would you recommend a career in the insurance industry to current college students?
A career in the insurance industry can be rewarding experience that combines applied analytics and problem solving in a way that benefits society.  Risk is an unavoidable part of life, and at its core the insurance industry quantifies that risk in a way that motivates businesses and individuals to reduce and mitigate their exposure to it.  It provides a method for those participating in risky endeavors to pay their fair share.  In exchange, insurance companies promise to provide support and indemnification if said risk manifests into a tangible loss.  Actuaries are the backbone of the quantification of risk; without them insurance companies couldn’t confidently keep these promises.

Why did you become an actuary?
While I loved teaching for five years, I decided I wanted to pursue a career that offered more opportunities to apply higher levels of mathematics and problem solving.  To be honest, I was also drawn in by the exam process.  I consider myself a life-long learner, so to be able to switch to a career that supported a formal learning process like the exams do was a big plus.  Icing on the cake was that I could apply my programing skills as well, which was something I had been developing as a hobby.

What drew you to a career in property and casualty insurance?
Property and casualty insurances interested me specifically because of the unique products they offer and challenges they face in analyzing and supporting these products.  There’s so much to learn in this industry, and it seems the possibilities are only increasing.

What can students do now to prepare for a career in the industry?
Specifically, students can explore the exam process and, after preparing adequately, even attempt an exam.  The exams aren’t everything, but they are a big part of the early stages of this career so it’s important to be on board with them and the commitment they’ll entail.  In general, they can work on building their math, statistics, and analytical skills.

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CAS Profile: Jim Arns, ACAS, MAAA

University: The University of Iowa

Current Employer/Title: Deloitte Consulting LLP – P&C Actuarial Senior Manager

Why would you recommend a career in the insurance industry to current college students?
Insurance is an industry with a lot of opportunities. Almost every individual and business in the US is required to have insurance. Insurance provides piece of mind to ensure individuals and businesses can operate while being protected in the event of a loss. Within insurance, actuaries fill not only actuarial roles but roles within Underwriting, Claims, Finance, and I have even seen Marketing! Actuaries within Insurance are highly appreciated and leveraged!

Why did you become an actuary?
In High School I began to explore careers. I knew I was good at math and wanted a career that incorporated math. I explored Accounting, Finance, and Actuarial Science. In looking at the different paths, Actuarial Science stood out to me. It was known as one of the top professions and allowed for a lot of growth. To this day, I do not regret my decision.

What drew you to a career in property and casualty insurance?
The variety of work. If you think about the actuarial world, Health actuaries work on Health Insurance, Life actuaries work with Life insurance, and Retirement actuaries deal with Retirement, P&C does everything else. One day you can be working on Personal Auto, the next day Workers’ Compensation, and the day after, Asbestos & Environmental. The variety of P&C Insurance will always ensure you will never be bored!

What can students do now to prepare for a career in the industry?
Keep current on issues impacting the industry. One thing I stress to my staff is to not only understand what clients are doing but what macro issues exist that can affect them. This will help you become a future leader!

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Apply for the 2022-2023 Central States Actuarial Forum (CSAF) Scholarship


APPLICATION DEADLINE:  April 1, 2023                                                            Academic Year:  2022-2023


The objective of the scholarship is to further students’ interest in the property/casualty actuarial profession and to encourage the pursuit of the CAS designations.

Amount of Scholarship

The CSAF Scholarship Program will award $1,500 scholarships to college students for the current or subsequent academic year to assist with exam costs. This scholarship will be awarded on the basis of individual merit.

Eligibility – To be considered all applicants must:

  • submit all sections of the CSAF Scholarship application by the application deadline,
  • reside or attend a college or university in one of the Central States,
    (Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, or South Dakota)
  • currently attend a U.S. college or university as a full-time student and continue as a full-time student at a U.S. college or university throughout the current academic year,
  • have sat for at least one actuarial exam by the application deadline,
  • be a member of CAS Student Central, and
    (Join here for free:
  • demonstrate high scholastic achievement and strong interest in the casualty actuarial profession, mathematical aptitude, and communication skills.

Additional Rules

You must submit the full CSAF Scholarship application and required short essay.

A current official transcript will also be required from the selected candidate, once the award decision has been made.

Incomplete applications will be disqualified without any consideration to partial information received.

Completed applications are due by April 1, 2023. The award decision will be made April 15, 2023.

Apply Now!

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