​Actuaries work in insurance and everywhere in-between. They work all over the world—anticipating and solving financial, economic and other problems for companies, institutions and societies

There are many reasons people find becoming an actuary a satisfying and stimulating career:

  • The variety of work - You can work in specialist areas of life insurance, general insurance, pensions, health and care insurance, investments and banking, or for any large organisation where risk management plays an important role, or for a consultancy advising on all sorts of different projects
  • An influential role - The unique skills of actuaries are behind many high-level strategic decisions made by large companies and governments, and can have a positive impact on legislation, businesses and individuals
  • The rewards - Salaries and benefits packages are excellent from the beginning. In fact, it's one of the highest paid professions
  • Intellectual satisfaction - Actuaries are problem solvers, in tune with what's happening in business through their interpretation of statistical data and knowledge of social and economic systems
  • International opportunities - Once you're qualified, actuarial skills can take you anywhere in the world
  • High standards - Actuaries combine good business sense with safeguarding the public's financial interests, upholding the highest professional standards
  • A good life balance - There is flexibility to balance professional commitments with personal interests.

Actuaries are in demand in financially focused businesses including insurance, employee benefits and consulting. The field is expanding to include just about any industry or opportunity where decisions carry financial weight: banking and investments, government, energy, e-commerce and marketing.  More and more, leaders want to reinforce their decisions with trusted analysis.

Traditional Paths

Actuaries measure risk and discover ways for people and organisations to stay secure, even when the risks are high. And because risk is everywhere, so are actuaries.

In the wide field of opportunities to manage risk, one industry employs more actuaries than any other: insurance. Within this industry, actuaries hold significant positions:

  • In insurance companies, where actuaries develop, price and manage products across all lines of business—life, health, retirement, and general insurance (property and casualty)
  • With consulting firms, where actuaries advise employers on the design and management of pension, retirement and other employee benefit programs and provide actuarial advice to insurance companies and other providers of financial services
  • Within employee benefits departments, where actuaries define, create and manage pension and retirement plans for employees
  • In government agencies, where actuaries operate retirement and insurance programs
  • For financial advisories, where actuaries provide financial planning guidance to individuals.

With actuarial work, opportunities grow and change along with the world. For instance, catastrophic weather brings opportunity for actuaries in the general insurance field to predict, evaluate and cover the risks associated with potential storms.

Examples of actuarial work:

  • Valuation -performs experience studies, cash flow testing and other tasks to set the amount of reserve and capital to be held by an insurer
  • Pricing -determines product features and pricing of products
  • Pension - pensions actuaries advise trustees and companies on the management of their pension schemes
  • Consulting -advises clients on actuarial financial risks, usually associated with employee benefits and insurance
  • Reinsurance -performs traditional actuarial duties for a reinsurer that would accept risk from a direct insurance company
  • General Insurance - performs roles like a valuation or pricing actuary, with a specialty in property and casualty insurance
  • Health Insurance - actuaries have long been involved in financial planning for the NHS and this is now a growing area for actuarial work as the government looks for ways to restructure the welfare state to meet the changing needs, demands and expectations of a changing population
  • Product Line or Segment Risk Management - performs risk management functions for a specific line of business for an insurance company

Related documents

Contact Details

For more information about Risk Management working parties contact the CommunitiesTeam.


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Events calendar

  • Autumn Lecture 2020: Professor Elroy Dimson

    Online webinar
    14 October 2020

    Spaces available

    Many individuals and institutions have a long-term focus, and invest funds for the benefit of future generations. Their strategy should reflect their long horizon. University endowments are one of the oldest classes of institutional investor, and I will present the first study of the management of these endowments over the very long term.

  • GIRO Conference 2020 Webinar Series

    Available to watch globally in November.
    02-13 November 2020
    Spaces available

    This year's GIRO has been re-designed as a virtual conference to offer members and non-members the opportunity to get up to date content from leading experts in the general insurance field via online webinars. All sessions will be recorded and made available to purchase and re-watch post-event on the IFoA's GI Online Learning Resource area.

  • Life Conference 2020 Webinar Series

    16 November 2020 - 27 November 2020

    Spaces available

    This year's Life Conference has been re-designed as a virtual conference to offer members and non-members the opportunity to get up to date content from leading experts in the life insurance field via online webinars. All sessions will be recorded and made available to purchase and re-watch post-event on the IFoA's website.

  • Spaces available

    Cash-flow driven investing is a game-changer for DB pension funds navigating their end-game. Suitable for sponsors who want to reduce risks on their balance sheets. And for trustees, it shifts the focus to providing greater certainty of returns, managing funding level volatility and ensuring they have enough income to pay cash-flow requirements.

  • Spaces available

    The talk will provide an understanding of the priorities and relationships between deficit reduction contributions, in the context of wider scheme funding, and different types of value outflow from the employer based on the working party’s recently published report.