An Introduction to Actuarial Internships

By James Wood
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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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