My name is Matthew Cairo and I work as an Actuarial Analyst at State Farm in the Homeowners Pricing Unit. I graduated from Florida State University (Go Noles!) with a double major in Actuarial Science and Risk Management & Insurance. I held the title of Vice-President of the Iota chapter of Gamma Iota Sigma while I was in school.
Why would you recommend a career in the insurance industry to current college students?
I recommend a career in the Insurance Industry because it is constantly changing. Every day new risks are emerging and it is up to insurance professionals to come up with solutions to deal with these risks. Especially in the actuarial field, this opens the door to innovation and creativity which creates an environment where you can use your knowledge and skills to make an impact. Along those same lines, the insurance industry has so many different professions within it, such as, Underwriting, Finance, Claims, Sales, etc. which leads to opportunities where you can learn new things and enhance your career.
Why did you become an actuary?
While in college I knew that I wanted to end up in the insurance industry because of the great opportunities that were available, but I wasn’t sure what field to focus on. I actually had no clue what an actuary was until I was a sophomore in college sitting in an Insurance Operations class. Through the course I learned the basics of what an actuary did and this caught my interest. I decided to meet with the head of the FSU Actuarial Department to see if it was a good fit for me. After the meeting I knew this was the career for me. I knew I would be challenged to continue developing my skills and that I would be involved in all of the different areas of insurance.
What drew you to a career in property and casualty insurance?
I chose the property and casualty side because I felt that’s where my studies primarily focused with my Risk Management & Insurance degree. Beyond my studies, I think I also felt more connected with the property and casualty side of the business especially coming from a catastrophe prone area in Florida. I was excited to be a part of an industry that is constantly driving innovations in safety for people and their assets. Having the opportunity to learn and utilize technology such as drones to assess damage after a hurricane, or models to help predict the path of a storm really drew me to this field. Knowing that my work is helping people protect their assets and caring for them when disasters happen is a rewarding feeling.
What can students do now to prepare for a career in the industry?
I believe building insurance knowledge is the most important part of being successful in this industry. Despite being an actuary, I think I use more knowledge that I gained in my Risk Management & Insurance courses on a day to day basis than what I learned in all of my math courses. Being able to learn different roles in an insurance company and how they all come together will go a very long way when starting a career. On the actuarial side there is a big focus on the exam track which is very important, but I think it is equally as important to gain actual exposure to the day to day work. Internships and shadowing opportunities are abundant and I think they are a great way to prepare for a career in this industry.