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I don’t believe AI means a dead end to actuarial employment. It means that creative actuarial work will be more possible and non-creative actuarial work will be needed less. The question may be how do we pay people? Maybe actuaries working with AI will be like recording stars making music. We might get on-going royalties from the productivity of the AI systems we create. That would be fun!! That certainly depends on the person. Being a young actuary is very hard. People often don’t listen to you. Being an old actuary is much easier.
As a young actuary you want to be energetic and creative, but open to coaching. You need to understand that you can be wrong quite often. That’s OK. Just learn the lessons that need to be learned and move forward.
When I was a young actuary in the US universal life was the hot new product. All of my colleagues were developing universal life products. I thought I’d be different and focus on universal disability. Everyone thought that was a good idea except the people who really knew the disability market. It’s very different from the life market. In fact, the disability market crashed and contracted shortly after that, and nobody has heard of universal disability products. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but it wasn’t.
I can speak about employers in the USA, and maybe that will be helpful.
The difference between a potential actuary and someone who would like to be an actuary is the exams that they pass. As employers, we understand what it means to pass an actuarial exam. We might not understand other qualifications quite as well.
Thus, if the world’s greatest salesman comes after passing several actuarial exams I’m going to think about him or her as a potential marketing actuary. The exams help us choose people who have the ability and the desire to be an actuary. After that we want to put those people into functions where they will be most productive and have the most fun.
I would only be guessing, but I’ll give it a shot. General insurance appears to make greater use of statistics than life or health insurance. Also, the legal structure of products is much more complicated, so a good understanding of the law as it affects the products is probably needed. Finally, general insurance is generally “bought”, while life and health insurance is more frequently “sold”. People are more likely to be proactive in buying general insurance and more reactive in buying life and health insurance. Thus, the two markets have different nature. Sorry I can’t be more specific. I have always found that the harder you work, the luckier you get. I have also found that large organizations tend to be slower in increasing salaries, but offer very attractive compensation packages to senior people. For example, one of my classmates went to work for a large company and I went into the consulting business. Later on I joined a small consulting firm and then started my own consulting firm. He stayed with the large company. Today he is retired and I am still working. Now, I spend more money than he does, and I don’t want to retire. The point is that near-term and long-term compensation can be two different things. Find a place where you enjoy working, work very hard, and the money will come along. Students are well positioned to lead the insurance industry into more effective use of technology. However, you must be patient. The industry still has many old people, like me, who don’t completely understand all of the opportunities created by technology. We old people can also be apprehensive about the problems created by new technology. I encourage you to think about applications of new technology, write about them, talk about them, and eventually you will discover market opportunities. Yes. This is a topic that I have addressed extensively in my career. I recently posted a note on Linked In to discuss it. The key is organizing and documenting all parts of the marketing process, not just product development. Reinsurance companies have been very attractive capital investments. Warren Buffet controls General RE and uses it to manage a large portion of his investments. Investors can use reinsurance companies as contrarian investments. I am working with a relatively new company in Bermuda called Axis Re. It was started after 9-11-2001 when many investors were afraid of terrorism claims. It is now very effective. Thus, the reinsurance market is highly capitalized and very competitive. The most basic skill involve Excel and database manipulation. Those are a given. After that, communication is critical. In my first job as an actuarial student I wrote and re-wrote a client letter 15 times before my boss found it acceptable to send to the client. It was very frustrating, but at the end I was a much better writer. After these two skills, computing and communicating, you need to begin understanding the markets you serve. Each is different, with regulations and customer demands that are unique. People look to actuaries to understand everything about the markets they serve. You should not disappoint them. Both technical and subjective topics need actuarial expertise. You can never stop learning, or even think about stopping learning. Employee benefits are extremely important in the USA. Employers want to attract and retain the best people possible, but they don’t want to spend unnecessary money doing so. Thus, they want the best benefits at the lowest cost. Actuaries play a critical role in the design work. However, the most successful employee benefit actuaries are effective communicators. Your clients are typically not actuaries, and you are trying to explain some very complex topics. Thus, the employee benefit field can be very challenging and very rewarding, and will continue to be for many years to come.