What Are Actuaries?

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"˜An Actuary is someone who expects everyone to be dead on time' (Jerry Tuttle FCAS) The answer to the question, "What is an actuary", is not as simple as the answer to the question "What is a dog" or "What is a lawyer". The work of an actuary is not as straightforward as you may think. We are not simply "˜Well paid accountants' or "˜number crunchers'.

Definition: An Actuary specialises in future risk evaluation. They are could be called "˜business and financial handymen' because qualified actuaries can apply expertise in mathematics, statistics, economics, finance and problem solving in many different business situations. Most of their work is based around using their many skills to help solve an ever-growing variety of financial and social problems. By saying that an actuary looks at future uncertain events, it is implied that actuaries don't work in the past or present, although applying past knowledge and experience can help, but they work in the future.

The "˜future' for an actuary usually means 10 to 30 years away not tomorrow or a billion years away as uncertainties can become either too low or too high to calculate.

"An actuary is someone who brings a fake bomb onto a plane because it decreases the chances that another bomb will be on the plane" (Jerry Tuttle FCAS) Risk evaluation plays a major part in the role of an actuary. This involves analysing events that are not 100% certain to happen in the future. An actuary is employed to identify these risks, investigate the probability of these events happening and then finding a monetary value for the risk.

Where do Actuaries Work? Currently, there are about 1000 employed actuaries in Australia, this is about double what it was 10 years ago. Because of the nature of an actuaries work,