Career Path Perspectives: The Insurance Company Actuary

By Krista Robinson
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Over the next few months, Future Focus will publish a series of blog posts written by actuaries working in various fields of the actuarial profession. These blog posts will help inform you about different paths to consider as you prepare for your future career. Our first post is authored by Krista Robinson, FCAS, who provides her perspective on working as an actuary at an insurance company.  

Hello actuaries-to-be!  I’m Krista Robinson and will be giving my viewpoint of the actuarial profession from the perspective of a company actuary.  I have been at CNA Insurance for 9 years, coming here after graduating from Indiana University.  I’ve moved around to all different areas within CNA over those 9 years, and currently am working in General Liability pricing.  As you’re learning, when you decide to be an actuary you have a lot of different options for your career.  I personally think that being at an insurance company gives young actuaries an experience that is vital to your development.  When working directly for a company, you are fully engaged in their strategies at a high and low level, which gives you a great perspective on the big picture of the insurance industry.

An example of this is when working in a large account pricing area.  Large account pricing means that instead of using a rating plan for a certain state or group of people (like your personal auto insurance!), the individual account has enough claims in their past to come up with a premium using their experience specifically.  I worked in a large account pricing area for 3 years, and during that time I did a wide variety of work.  It wasn’t just focused on pricing accounts and getting the pricing to the customer.  It was also focused on how to improve our large account pricing methodologies, how to strategize what types of accounts we want to target, how to improve the tools we were using, and much more.  It gave me the ability to see how the pricing of the large accounts within a company fit into the big picture of the company strategy.  You don’t have to be a company actuary to work on large account pricing, but in order to really understand the needs and goals of the account, it’s a great benefit to understand the needs and goals of the company as well.  Being a company actuary gives that opportunity.

There are many other examples of this type of benefit across the actuarial industry.  Whether it is pricing, reserving, predictive analytics, etc., being a company actuary allows for new and experienced actuaries to learn the industry in a way that gives a great big-picture perspective.  It should definitely be on your list to consider as you finish your education!

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