Actuary positions range from conventional jobs in the insurance industry to opportunities with financial companies. Students on track to become an actuary may want to consider internships to explore different job opportunities in this field if they are not sure about what kinds of positions they would be most interested in. All actuary positions involve data analysis, assessment, and the formulation of thoughtful opinions backed by mathematical evaluation to assist people with decision making.
In the insurance industry, actuaries evaluate risks for home, car, life, health, and other kinds of insurance. They can help their employers set policy cutoffs, determine when to offer coverage, and make other decisions that will be in the best interest of the insurance company. The insurance company wants as many customers as possible to spread out risks, but it also does not want to take on significant insurance risks without substantial premiums and deductibles to back them.
The finance industry also has a use for actuaries. Banks, brokerages, investment firms, and similar institutions may have actuary positions available in their analytical department. Actuaries can assess risks, make market projections, and formulate procedural recommendations. They may also be called upon in a cost-benefit analysis of a proposed activity or purchase to determine if it would be a good decision for the company.
Other actuary positions are available in the auditing field. Auditing firms can use actuaries to evaluate risks associated with auditing, like the likelihood that a company is falsifying information. The analytical skills necessary for a career as an actuary can also be useful for data mining, to find outliers and other odd pieces of data that might suggest a problem. The auditors can use this information to identify accounting issues and highlight them for the benefit of the party ordering the audit.
Government agencies also have actuary positions available. These agencies use risk assessment to make public policy decisions, and they also utilize actuaries for financial purposes. Actuaries may work at tax agencies to develop productive auditing and monitoring policies, or public health agencies to help them make decisions about what kind of care to provide to the community. For some government work, an additional or advanced degree may be necessary.
People interested in actuary positions can find employment listings through professional organizations and trade publications. These listings can provide an idea of the type of work available, along with the compensation and benefits offered. More experienced actuaries tend to have better employment prospects.