Register to Attend an Upcoming CAS Student Program

The CAS hosts a one-day student program at each of its five large annual conferences throughout the year, and members of Student Central are invited to participate at no cost! Registration is open for upcoming spring events in Boston, New Orleans, and Bermuda.

Attendees will have an opportunity to:

  • Network with practicing actuaries
  • Learn more about the property and casualty industry
  • Attend conference sessions on the latest industry hot topics
  • Participate in student-specific sessions offering career guidance

Attendees can expect to gain an enhanced knowledge of the CAS and the property and casualty actuarial profession, and an expanded list of contacts.

Please contact CAS University Engagement Manager, Tamar Gertner at Tgertner@casact.org if you are interested in attending an upcoming program. Each program offers a limited number of spaces.

Details for upcoming programs are outlined below.

Ratemaking, Product, and Modeling (RPM) Seminar Student Program
March 26, 2019
Boston, MA

Spring Meeting Student Program
May 21, 2019
New Orleans, LA

Reinsurance Seminar Student Program
June 3, 2019
Bermuda


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CAS Profile: Julianne Borgardt

Julianne Borgardt has been with Allstate Insurance Company since 2015 and currently works as an Actuarial Assistant on Allstate Business Insurance’s Commercial Property Lines. Julianne is a graduate of Concordia University of Wisconsin where she majored in Actuarial Science and minored in German Language. In addition to her normal actuarial work, Julianne has enjoyed speaking to college classes and actuarial clubs as well as participating in High School Actuarial Days and career days to increase awareness of the actuarial profession and share her experience. 

Why would you recommend a career in the insurance industry to current college students?
The insurance industry serves a social benefit and is interesting and ever-changing. It allows its policyholders to rebuild after an unexpected loss and gives them that peace of mind, which for me makes this a rewarding field of work. The industry is ever growing as new items are considered valuable, think cellphones, and as regulation at the state and countrywide level changes, such as with self-driving cars or even tax laws. Additionally, a lot of the positions are in an office environment, so employees get to work in comfortable conditions.

Why did you become an actuary?
The main reason I became an actuary is because it was a profession that would use my problem-solving skill set and let me grow and be challenged while helping others. I was also attracted to the profession because of the exam program that has tangible achievements to help me feel accomplished. I also liked that it has a code of conduct and self regulates.

What drew you to a career in property and casualty insurance?
As an actuarial science student I was drawn to the P&C insurance industry because a lot of the products deal with tangible assets and because the work is still progressing and changing. You can find out how much a car costs or how much it costs to repair a roof; and as personal and commercial assets have shifted – cellphone insurance, ride-sharing and even identity theft all fall under property and casualty insurance. This keeps the problems we’re solving new, fresh, and interesting.

What can students do now to prepare for a career in the industry?
Getting good grades, and taking mathematics, probability, insurance, and business classes really helps build a foundation for the knowledge you’ll need in the insurance industry and as an actuary. I would also recommend doing your own research; there’s a lot of information out there about the industry and actuarial science, and it can help you find the right path for you.


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CAS Profile: Kelly Gates

Kelly Gates is a Pricing Actuary on the Commercial Auto team at Zurich North America. She is an Associate of the CAS and is currently working on her last exam for her Fellowship. She is a graduate of Lafayette College.

Why would you recommend a career in the insurance industry to current college students?
I think it would surprise most college students that a career in the insurance industry has a variety of exciting opportunities, especially for actuaries.  Getting your credentials provides a springboard to follow a more technical career or pursue non-traditional roles. So far in my career I’ve spent time in rate filing support and pricing.  However, there are so many more avenues I intend on exploring.  In fact, I’m incredibly excited about my next opportunity with Zurich.  I’m currently in the process of finalizing the details for a two-year rotation in Dublin, Ireland.

Why did you become an actuary?  
I started studying for actuarial exams as a Peace Corps volunteer in a remote village in Cameroon, Africa.  My schedule was very different during my service, and studying for exams helped me mentally get through a lot of the emotional obstacles I faced.  Watching the young women and girls in my village made me quickly realize the opportunities I have in my life.  This perspective helped me pass my first two exams during my time in Africa.  It sparked a passion, and it took two years in a remote village for me to find this focus in my life.

What drew you to a career in property and casualty insurance?
I believed that the property and casualty industry would be a stable choice, and I don’t regret my decision.  I’ve spent a majority of my career working in Commercial Auto, which is a line that has experienced rate increases across the industry due to an increase in frequency and severity of collisions that are partially caused by distracted driving.  In addition, there are more people on the roads in a strong economy when there are lower fuel prices. Helping our customers navigate these risks has exposed me to a variety of different projects.

What can students do now to prepare for a career in the industry?
Students should learn to communicate the technical work they will do as actuaries.  As an actuary, I know how important strong communication skills are to being successful in the role.  Take the opportunity to learn these skills during school.  If you can’t properly translate your insights, then you won’t have success getting them implemented.  Take opportunities to work with non-actuaries early in your career to help develop non-technical skills and to better understand how to translate your work.


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CAS Profile: Robert Hark

Robert Hark is an Actuarial Analyst at Applied Underwriters. He earned a Bachelor of Science from Montana Tech and a Master of Science from the University of California, Davis.

Why would you recommend a career in the insurance industry to current college students?
If you have strong mathematical and analytical skills, and you would like a well-paying, satisfying career in an industry that utilizes those skills, then a career in the insurance industry may be a good fit. Additionally, the actuarial profession is expected to have faster-than-average job growth: according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of actuarial jobs is expected to increase by 22% between 2016 and 2026.

Why did you become an actuary?
After I graduated from Montana Tech, I enrolled in the PhD Statistics program at UC Davis. During my time there, I discovered that conducting abstract statistics research did not appeal to me as much as applying my knowledge of statistics to concrete, real-world problems. I had done extensive research about the actuarial profession, and I liked the idea of a professional career that would allow me to use my mathematics and statistics skills while developing my business acumen in a business environment. Accordingly, I left the program with a Master’s degree and pivoted my focus to the actuarial profession, and I have not looked back.

What drew you to a career in property and casualty insurance?
Honestly, when I was interviewing for my first actuarial position, I did not have a strong preference one way or the other regarding whether to pursue a Property and Casualty career or a Life and Health career. I accepted a job offer at Applied Underwriters, which is a Property and Casualty company focusing on Workers Compensation, and I fell in love with the work. I am now decidedly pursuing my ACAS credential (and then my FCAS credential).

What can students do now to prepare for a career in the industry?
Once you start working full time, you will have less free time than you did in university, and it becomes more difficult to schedule the study time required to pass the exams for your credentials. Therefore, I would advise students to take at least the first two preliminary actuarial exams, 1(P) and 2(FM), as well as to take the VEE courses while still in school. This will give students a head start on the exams and will also help students produce a strong and attractive resume. Additionally, I would learn as much computer programming knowledge as possible, including languages such as SQL, R, and SAS. Companies are increasingly interested in candidates with solid programing skills.


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CAS Profile: Marla Strykowski

Marla Strykowski, FCAS, MAAA, is an actuary at Plymouth Rock Assurance. She graduated from Bentley University with a double major in Mathematical Sciences and Liberal Studies, with a concentration in Actuarial Science.

Why would you recommend a career in the insurance industry to current college students?
Learning about the numerous aspects of the insurance industry is fascinating, relevant, and a satisfying component of being an actuary. I love knowing that my work in this field ultimately provides people with help, and the support they need for the unexpected circumstances in their lives.

Why did you become an actuary?
I’ve always liked math and when I discovered actuarial science in college, I knew it was the profession for me. Besides the work itself, the uniformity and structure of the exam system, which measures all candidates on the same scale, really appealed to me.

What drew you to a career in property and casualty insurance?
Property and casualty insurance is so essential to everyday life that it’s easy to overlook, but that doesn’t make it any less important. From drones to earthquakes, there is a lot of variety. There’s always something new to discover, which coincides with my desire to be a lifelong learner.

What can students do now to prepare for a career in the industry?
Gaining an understanding about the insurance industry in general, such as becoming familiar with standard insurance policies, is a great place to start preparing. For actuarial students in particular, passing some of the actuarial exams is definitely an advantage. I’d also recommend taking a variety of statistical, computer/coding, and economics classes to gain a broad modeling and analytical background.


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CAS Profile: Allie Rexroat

Allie Rexroat, ACAS, MAAA, works as an Actuarial Analyst at State Farm in the Specialty Lines Pricing Unit. She is a graduate of the University of Central Missouri.

Why would you recommend a career in the insurance industry to current college students?
The insurance industry today is changing very quickly. There are so many new technologies that didn’t exist even 5 years ago that impact insurance, such as ride-sharing, autonomous vehicles, and advanced smart home technologies. As our industry and the types of risks we insure change, actuaries have to think creatively to solve new problems and have a forward-looking perspective for what else the future may hold.

Why did you become an actuary?
I became an actuary because I had a skill and passion for math and learned that applied math was appealing to me. It’s nice to be able to actually use the fundamentals that we learn through the exam process to apply to our work and the real world. Actuaries also have the opportunity to be involved in many areas of an insurance company from pricing and reserving to risk management to executive leadership. Actuaries can easily hold roles in multiple areas, so we’re not restricted to doing the same thing for our entire career.

What drew you to a career in property and casualty insurance?
I like the property and casualty side of insurance because it feels tangible. We are protecting the assets of people and caring for them in their time of need after a catastrophe or auto accident. These events can happen multiple times throughout one’s life. Being involved on the pricing side of insurance is rewarding, knowing we’ve priced or created a product that has helped someone.

What can students do now to prepare for a career in the industry?
I would recommend taking insurance courses during college, if they’re offered. Understanding how our products work is an important first step to any actuarial work. Of course, sitting for and passing exams while in school is becoming an industry standard when applying for internships. Really, getting any exposure to what an actuary’s work is like through things like job shadows is a great way to prepare for your career.


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