CAS Profile: Charles Lei, FCAS

School: New York University 

Current Employer/Title: Vice President Actuary, Head of US Reserving at Ascot Group 

Why would you recommend a career in the insurance industry to current college students?
The insurance industry is exciting because insurance products are always changing to keep up with the world.  For example, we get to see how cyber risks or wildfire risks change year to year or even quicker.  Actuaries also play important roles in interpreting data to help insurance companies make good, informed business decisions. 

Why did you become an actuary?
When I was in college, I knew I wanted to be in a more quantitative career, and one of my academic advisors pointed me to actuarial science.  I liked how the exams provide an initial structure and career trajectory that I found helpful starting out.  I’ve also been able to make work/life balance a priority throughout my career.  For example, I’ve been able to balance an engaging career while also participating in rec sports leagues throughout the year.  

What drew you to a career in property and casualty insurance?
I’ve always found property and casualty insurance to be a little more interesting than life insurance because of the nature of the risks compared to the standard life insurance products.  We have uncertainty around loss frequency, severity, and timing.  

What can students do now to prepare for a career in the industry?
It’s become more and more of a necessity for actuaries to be comfortable working with large data sets, so I would recommend students take a computer or data science course if that’s available.  I would also recommend students try to talk to working actuaries.  Both actuarial societies have set up events and resources to help facilitate this, such as this month’s Be An Actuary events. 

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