Trainee Actuaries work in a range of different practice areas:
Trainee actuaries advise companies on all aspects of their pension scheme design and structure. They work alongside other professionals and provide actuarial advice.
Trainee actuaries work on pricing products such as motor and household insurance, advice on reserves and capital requirements, and may be involved in reinsurance arrangements.
In the reinsurance fields, trainee actuaries can design and price reinsurance and retro-reinsurance schemes, and to establish reserve funds for known claims and future claims and catastrophes.
This is the most traditional area for trainee actuaries to work in. Roles include financial reporting, product development and pricing. Actuaries may also advise on investment strategies, business planning, and strategic risk measurement.
Enterprise Risk Management
This is a new actuarial field. Trainee actuaries are involved in the identification, measuring and monitoring of risks to limit a company’s losses. The level of risk taken is analyzed with regard the companies profit expectation.
Health & Care
This is a growing area and trainee actuaries are needed both in the private and public sectors. Trainee actuaries may be involved in pricing medical insurance and critical illness contracts or projecting public healthcare costs in the future.
This area is suited to trainee actuaries with strong problem-solving skills, who enjoy a variety of work in a multi-disciplinary environment. A role in this area may involve working on large corporate transactions, M&A’s and strategic investments.
Environmental Impact Modelling
An increasingly important aspect in the evaluation of both existing and proposed changes to the environment, habitats, drainage and topography due to main-made or climate changes to the land, air or water.
Finance & Investment
Trainee actuaries are involved in the day -to -day activity of the capital markets. They advise on investment strategies and long term targets.
Education, Universities, professional bodies
Trainee actuaries are involved in the development of exam material and the setting and marking of examinations. Trainee actuaries can also work as tutors and lecturers. Within the Professional bodies actuaries work to ensure all members are kept up to date with legislative changes and the organization of CPD events.
Central Bank/Financial Regulator & Other Regulatory Bodies
Trainee actuaries employed in this area ensure that the companies in their region comply with all relevant legislation.
Q&A with an Actuary
What do you like about your job as an actuary?
Contrary to the stereotypical view of an actuary in movies such as “Along Came Polly” or “About Schmidt“, life as an actuary is never boring! I have worked in a product development role for a number of years and I really enjoy working towards a common goal with a great team of highly intelligent and driven individuals. I also enjoy being exposed to and able to understand the insurance business from different angles as I interact with many different colleagues across the business. As a natural problem solver, I thrive on pulling together relevant data and using many of my actuarial skills to come up with the most viable solution given the various business constraints.
Is there anything you dislike about being an actuary?
I think there is no perfect job. There will always be some mundane trivial paperwork in most jobs these days. Thankfully the mundane aspect is relatively minor in my current actuarial role.
What do you think makes for a successful actuary?
Given the ever-changing world we live in, I believe that adaptability is increasingly important. Actuaries these days are expected to be able to transition across many different roles and to have a very wide skillset to thrive or even to just survive. Communication is a must for all actuaries in my opinion. You may not always have to present to a board, but you are going to have to, at the very least, communicate with your colleagues in a professional and competent manner in order to carry out much of your job as an actuary. As they say, no man is an island!
Do you have any general advice for new actuaries?
Yes, never stop learning! As mentioned above, we are living in very different times to the past, so it is critical that actuaries remain informed of the latest technologies, developments in the field and generally becoming a better professional over time. The actuarial exams are of course important, but they are just the beginning and should not be viewed as the end. One of the great things about being an actuary is that there is always room to grow and develop.
How to become an Actuarial Trainee Student
Although we have our own professional actuarial body in Ireland (the Society of Actuaries in Ireland), actuarial students in Ireland generally sit their actuarial exams via the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) in the UK. Hence trainee actuaries in Ireland need to initially register as a student with the IFoA. The IFoA set out minimum requirements to become a student and these are as follows:
- Students must have a Leaving Certificate with a grade of A1 or A2 in Honours Mathematics. In addition prospective students should have a pass in a minimum of four other subjects one of which must be English.
- The Council of the IFoA may consider other qualifications that are equivalent to that stated above.
Alternatively you can also register as an actuarial student, via the IFoA, if you have received a degree awarded by the Republic of Ireland.
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