Actuary Career Outlook
The U.S. Department of Labor predicts faster than average growth for the actuary field through 2012. Growth of the insurance industry—traditionally the leading employer of actuaries—is expected to continue at a stable pace, with many new fields such as annuities and terrorism-related property-risk analysis, compensating for the shrinking life insurance industry. The field’s stringent entrance requirements and competition for entry-level jobs will also continue to restrict the number of candidates for jobs.
The insurance industry continues to evolve, and actuaries will be in demand to establish rates in several new areas of coverage, including prepaid legal, dental, and kidnapping insurance. In many cases, actuarial data that have been supplied by rating bureaus are now being developed in new actuarial departments created in companies affected by states’ new competitive rating laws. Other new areas of insurance coverage that will involve actuaries include product and pollution liability insurance as well as greater workers’ compensation and medical malpractice coverage. Insurers will call on actuaries to help them respond to new state and federal regulations while cutting costs, especially in the areas of pension reform and no-fault automobile insurance. In the future, actuaries will also be employed by non-insurance businesses or will work in business- and investment-related fields. Some are already working in banking and finance.
Actuaries will be needed to assess the financial impact of current issues such as AIDS, terrorism, and the changing health care system. As demographics change, people live and work longer, and as medicine advances, actuaries will need to reexamine the probabilities of death, sickness, and retirement.
Casualty actuaries will find more work as companies find themselves held responsible for product liability. In the wake of recent environmental disasters, there will also be a growing need to evaluate environmental risk.
As business goes global, it presents a whole new set of risks and problems as economies develop and new markets emerge. As private enterprise expands in the former Soviet Union, how does a company determine the risk of opening, say, a department store in Moscow?
Actuaries are no longer just mathematical experts. With their unique combination of analytical and business skills, their role is expanding as they become broad-based business professionals solving social as well as financial problems.
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