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What does an
Actuary do?

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Other common names for this position: Actuarial Analyst, Actuarial Assistant, Associate Actuary, Casualty Actuary, Cipher Expert, Consulting Actuary, Consulting Pension Actuary, Cryptanalyst, Cryptographer, Education Statistician, Insurance Actuary, Life Actuary, Senior Actuarial Analyst


Actuaries are financial risk experts who play a leadership role in financially-oriented businesses like Insurance, Banking, rating agencies, and accounting firms. They apply mathematics, statistics, probability, risk theory, and economic principles to economic markets, taking into account potential trends and external factors (e.g. political or social factors), to calculate the likelihood of various events and to assess the financial consequences for those outcomes. Some Actuaries are employed by universities, governments, bank and trust companies, insurance companies, pension benefit consulting firms, and professional associations, while others may work as self-employed or salaried consultants in specialist consulting firms.[1]

An Actuary manipulates specialized software to perform calculations and represent their findings. They present their recommendations to the Managers at their firm or company and convince others of the soundness of their decisions.

Some Actuaries are considered consultants and provide advice to clients on a contract basis. Many consulting Actuaries audit the work of internal Actuaries at insurance companies or handle the actuarial duties for small insurance companies that don’t keep their own Actuaries on staff. Other consulting Actuaries work for employee benefits firms which design, analyze, and manage employee benefit programs, such as employer-sponsored healthcare and retirement plans for companies.

Primary Responsibilities

Here’s a non-exhaustive list of common tasks Actuaries are required to complete.

  • Analyzing the financial costs of risk and uncertainty:
  • Applying mathematical models to forecast and calculate the probable future costs of insurance, pension benefits, accidents, sickness, natural disasters, among others;
  • using mathematics, statistics, and financial theory to assess the risk of an event occurring and helping businesses and clients develop policies that minimize the cost of that risk;
  • monitoring companies’ profitability and working with management to set annual rate targets;
  • testifying before public agencies on proposed laws that affect their business, such as state laws influencing insurance prices; and
  • using various techniques to provide legal evidence on the value of future earnings.
  • Working for insurance companies:
  • Designing life, health, and property insurance policies, as well as calculating premiums, contributions, and benefits for insurance policies, pension, and superannuation plans;
  • developing annuity and life insurance policies for individuals and groups by estimating, based on risk factors such as age, gender, and tobacco use, how long someone is expected to live; and
  • ensuring that the premiums are profitable, yet competitive with other insurance companies.
  • Developing investment strategies that manage risks and maximize returns for companies or individuals:
  • Assisting companies in the development of broad policies and strategies that assess risks across all areas of business, also known as enterprise risk management; and
  • providing financial and economic advice to senior management.
  • Designing, testing, and evaluating company pension plans to determine if the expected funds available in the future will be enough to ensure payment of future benefits:
  • Reporting the results of their evaluations to the federal government; and
  • helping businesses or individuals develop other types of retirement plans, such as healthcare plans for retirees.
  • Working alongside Managers and professionals in other fields, such as Accounting, Underwriting, and Finance:
  • Working with Accountants and Financial Analysts to set the price for security offerings; and
  • helping Market Research Analysts in forecasting demand for new products.

Daily Tasks

  • Gathering statistical data and other pertinent information for further analysis.
  • Estimating the probabilities and prospective economic costs of events such as death, sickness, accidents, or natural disasters.
  • Designing, testing, and administering insurance policies, investments, pension plans, and other business strategies to minimize risks and maximize the company or organization’s profitability.
  • Creating charts, tables, and reports to explain their calculations and suggestions.
  • Presenting and explaining their findings and proposals to company executives, government officials, shareholders, or clients.

The average Actuary salary is $113,346 per year or $58 per hour. This is around 3.5 times more than the Median wage of the country. Entry level positions start at $79,000 while most experienced workers make up to $159,000. These results are based on 7 salaries extracted from job descriptions.

Gross Salary125,000.00 $
CPP- 2,479.95 $
EI- 930.60 $
Federal Tax- 23,412.52 $
Provincial Tax- 13,363.34 $
Total Tax- 40,186.41 $
Net Pay*84,813.59 $
In Ontario, Canada, if you make 125,000.00 $ a year, you will be taxed 40,186.41 $. That means that your take home pay will be 84,813.59 $ per year, or 7,067.80 $ per month. Your average tax rate is 32.15% and your marginal tax rate is 43.41%.
* Deductions are calculated based on the tables of Ontario, Canada income tax.
Job Offers
There are currently 55 available job offers for the Actuary position on Below is a list of available jobs, based on Canada's most populated metropolitan areas.
Education is key ! Over [number] graduates attended one or more of these schools prior to becoming a Actuary. These Schools usually offer specialized courses and programs that impart the necessary knowledge and skills required by most employers.
Top 5 Schools in Canada
to become Actuary
  • 1
    Montreal, Quebec
  • 2
    Montreal, Quebec
Required Skills and Qualifications
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills:
  • Communicating clearly, both in writing and verbally, in order to give presentations and advise clients on risks and profitability, explaining complex technical matters to those without an actuarial background, using non-technical language when required;
  • being able to write and present financial reports based on the collected data;
  • serving as both leaders and members of teams in order to be able to listen to other people’s opinions and suggestions before reaching a conclusion; and
  • establishing and maintaining supportive working relationships.
  • Outstanding organizational and time management skills:
  • Prioritizing and planning work activities in order to manage time efficiently while handling a high volume of work;
  • demonstrating an aspiration for continuous learning and professional development; and
  • multitasking; being able to work in a dynamic, fast-paced environment.
  • Analytical, problem-solving, and decision-making skills:
  • Effectively researching and analyzing numerical data, using a variety of software programs, including spreadsheets, statistical analysis, and database management programs, and providing reasonable recommendations;
  • being able to identify patterns and trends in complex sets of data to determine the factors that have an effect on certain types of events;
  • being able to review data, observe patterns, and draw logical conclusions;
  • identifying risks and developing ways for businesses to manage those risks; and
  • being able to exercise strategical thinking and mature judgment.
  • Strong attention to detail and critical-thinking skills:
  • Analyzing data efficiently and accurately in order to provide more precise forecasts; and
  • being able to use logic and reasoning to solve complex problems.
  • Computer skills and mathematical knowledge:
  • Being proficient in programming languages and being able to use and develop spreadsheets, databases, and statistical analysis tools; and
  • using the principles of calculus, statistics, and probability to quantify risks.

Professionals need a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics, Actuarial Science, Statistics, or any other analytical field in order to apply for the Actuary position, as well as 5 to 7 years of experience in a similar position. Entry-level jobs in this area are often as trainee Actuaries or Risk Analysts.

In Canada, the actuarial profession is governed by the Canadian Institute of Actuaries (CIA). The CIA’s University Accreditation Program (UAP) provides students with the option of receiving credit for some of the early actuarial exams if they receive a minimum grade in certain undergraduate courses. Actuaries spend the first years of their careers gaining work experience and studying for professional qualifications mandated by the CIA. The first level of qualification for an actuarial professional is that of “Associate” and it’s the minimum requirement to practice as an Actuary worldwide. The second and more advanced level of qualification allows Actuaries to be recognized as “Fellows”. Associates of the CIA are authorized to append to their names the initials ACIA (Associate, Canadian Institute of Actuaries) or AICA (associé, Institut canadien des actuaires), while Fellows are authorized to append to their names the initials FCIA (Fellow, Canadian Institute of Actuaries) or FICA (Fellow, Institut canadien des actuaires).

With enough experience, Actuaries may progress to managerial positions in Consulting, Insurance, and Finance. They may also be self-employed. Career progression for an actuarial professional largely depends on the organization where they are employed. An Actuary can specialize in a specific sector, such as Commercial and Retail Insurance, pension and benefit funds, Reinsurance, Risk Management, Technology Development, Sales and Marketing, advanced research, and quantitative modelling.

These professionals tend to have a regular five-day week; however, some amount of travelling is required when meeting with clients or visiting regional and overseas offices for special projects.