Four Skills for the Modern Actuary

John Krautzel
Posted by

Experienced actuaries are in high demand as insurance companies struggle to comply with new regulations and adjust to changes brought about by implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Your actuary career will be more rewarding if you have the right combination of skills and experience. Math skills are essential, but they are not enough to help you stand out from the crowd. You must have these four modern skills to succeed in your actuary career.

Actuary positions are among the most difficult to fill, according to the most recent Semi-Annual Insurance Labor Outlook Study. If you expect to advance in your actuary career, you must have advanced computer skills. Some employers even prefer to hire actuaries with degrees in management information systems or computer science. At minimum, you should have above-average skills in using Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Access. You may also be required to learn SQL or programming languages such as C++ and VBA.

Many professionals emphasize the importance of math and computer knowledge for an actuary career, but communication skills are just as important. As an actuary, you must be able to explain complex information to people who do not have a technical background. You will have to communicate with insurance agents, risk analysts, and other insurance professionals, so you must be skilled at delivering presentations and writing reports.

To have a successful actuary career, you must be skilled at solving problems. Because actuaries deal with risk, insurance companies rely on them to analyze problems and come up with viable solutions. As an actuary, you must be able to determine how much to charge for a life insurance policy based on a subscriber's health history and participation in risky activities. Given a driver's history and vehicle information, you must be able to calculate how much to charge for an auto insurance policy.

Finally, you would not be able to continue your actuary career without modern accounting skills. Accounting is much more than calculating income and expenses, especially when you work in the tightly regulated insurance industry. The modern actuary should be skilled at managing compliance activities and adhering to federal and state regulations. The ability to create financial reports and interpret accounting data is also essential for anyone who plans to keep working in this field.

Because it is so difficult for employers to find skilled actuaries, there is a lot of potential to earn a good living if you have the right skills. An actuary must have advanced computer skills, the ability to communicate effectively, and good problem-solving skills. Modern accounting skills are also important for anyone who plans to build an actuary career in a changing economy. If you need help improving any of these skills, ask your human resources representative about available employer-sponsored training programs. Taking continuing education classes is also a good way to develop the skills you need.



(Photo courtesy of


Become a member to take advantage of more features, like commenting and voting.

Jobs to Watch