Feb. 25 actuarial webinar highlights a career path for those who love math
If you’re good at math, and you’re looking for a career path that will reward your passion for numbers, the Feb. 25 webinar hosted by the Organization of Latino Actuaries may be for you. The professional organization, a member of NHI’s College Register, is hosting a webinar geared toward high school students wanting to know more about actuarial careers.
What is an actuary? As OLA Director of Pipeline Development Anji Li explained, “An actuary is an expert in assessing risk using mathematical and statistical methods. Being an actuary is a profession, just like being a lawyer or a doctor. As with other professions, becoming an actuary requires rigorous examinations and real-world training.”
Li, one of Thursday’s presenters, pointed out that while actuaries have historically worked in the insurance field, opportunities in the field have recently expanded to other industries, including financial corporations, government entities, tech companies and startups.
“In a world where risk is all around us, actuaries are crucial in quantifying and managing risks,” she observed. “Actuaries work in various sectors, a main one being the insurance industry. With emerging risks such as the global pandemic and climate change, insurance is key in making sure no single individual or group in our population is left without protection. For example, when Hurricane Harvey hit Texas in 2017, insurance covered endless damages caused to the area. Actuaries are the experts behind the calculations that went into being able to provide insurance payments to customers.”
Regina Kintana, an NHI alumna, co-founded OLA in 2017, noting, “There is a diversity problem in our profession, and a group of us came together to tackle it.”
Kintana, who attended LDZ and CWS programs while attending Richard King High School in Corpus Christi in the mid-1990s, noted, “One reason why Latinos are underrepresented is that we don’t hear about the profession when we are in high school. We are partnering with organizations like NHI to show college-bound Latino students that this highly sought-after profession might be for them.”
The webinar is intended to help people with a passion for math and real-world problem solving to think about the career path to becoming an actuary.
“Becoming an actuary is no easy task,” the Mexican-born, New York City-based Li observed. “Throughout the first several years of their careers, aspiring actuaries have to pass eight different exams, with each exam requiring months of preparations. However, during this time actuaries are usually employed by companies who are highly interested in making sure that their employees are successful in each one of these examinations. Many of these companies incentivize exam progress by paying their employees large bonuses when they pass each exam, and by providing paid time off to study.”
“Given exams are an integral part of becoming an actuary, good study habits are a great skill to have early on in your career,” she advised. “In addition to this, as with many other financial services careers, successful actuaries require great business acumen and communication skills. It is common to see executives and leaders at insurance companies come from actuarial backgrounds, a testament to how actuaries have lots of opportunities to move up in their careers.”
Li remarked that the journey can start in high school, and that “any high school student who is interested in the actuarial profession should look for an university and major that would help them in their actuarial career.”
“Although aspiring actuaries don’t need to major in actuarial sciences, it’s important to keep in mind the actuarial examinations you need to pass to become an actuary,” she added. “The Society of Actuaries (SOA) and Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS), institutions that administer the actuarial exams, have a list of universities they have partnered with.”
“These universities facilitate classes that prepare you for actuarial exams and may support students with an actuarial student club, resume and interview prep, and company relationships to land on internships or full-time jobs.”
She remarked that the university lists — which include NHI College Register member schools — “are all great starting points to begin your search for an outstanding actuarial program.”
To sign up for the webinar, go to NHI’s event page to sign up (use the registration code 20MEM21 when prompted.