Thursday, April 29, 2010

Actuarial science

The other day, someone asked me if I was familiar with career opportunities for people who wish to pursue actuarial science. Are you familiar with actuaries?

Here are some interesting snippets from the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics website on Actuaries:

Most actuaries are employed in the insurance industry, specializing in either property and casualty insurance or life and health insurance. They use sophisticated modeling techniques to forecast the likelihood of certain events occurring, and the impact these events will have on claims and potential losses for the company.

Within the life and health insurance fields, actuaries help companies develop health and long-term-care insurance policies by predicting the likelihood of occurrence of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, cancer, and other chronic ailments among a particular group of people who have something in common, such as living in a certain area or having a family history of illness. Such work of actuaries can be beneficial to both the consumer and the company because the ability to accurately predict the likelihood of a particular health event among a certain group ensures that premiums are assessed fairly based on the risk to the company. Additionally, life insurance actuaries help companies develop annuity and life insurance policies for individuals by estimating how long someone is expected to live.
Actuaries need a strong background in mathematics, statistics, and general business. They generally have a bachelor's degree and are required to pass a series of exams in order to become certified professionals.

Two professional societies sponsor programs leading to full professional status in their specialty: the Society of Actuaries (SOA) and the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS). The SOA certifies actuaries in the fields of life insurance, health benefits systems, retirement systems, and finance and investment. The CAS gives a series of examinations in the property and casualty field, which includes automobile, homeowners, medical malpractice, workers compensation, and personal injury liability.

Median annual wages of actuaries were $84,810 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $62,020 and $119,110. The lowest 10 percent had wages less than $49,150, while the top 10 percent earned more than $160,780.

If you're interested in a career in the health insurance industry, you will probably find better opportunities to apply your medical experience. Become a medical director or a medical consultant. Develop new and novel ways to improve disease management or physician performance improvement. Consider the WellPoint Physician Executive Fellowship. Get an MBA or a Master of Medical Management (MMM) through the American College of Physician Executives (ACPE).

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