Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Actuary Facts

June 19, 1988

Your May 19 story, "Book Rates Actuary as No. 1 Job" caught my attention. I have been an actuary for more than 15 years. Some misconceptions in the article and "The Jobs Rated Almanac" should be corrected.

First, the given definition of actuary describes one minor part of the job--would a firefighter like to be described as one who waxes his fire engine every week? A broader definition would be "someone who uses mathematical models to put a financial value on future events that are uncertain as to time, amount and certainty." Some uses for these skills include insurance, pensions and employee benefits.

Second, the quoted young actuary is in for a rude awakening if he thinks there is little stress after the exams and that he can get a job any time he wants. An experienced actuary should have been interviewed.

Third, actuaries are treated poorly by their employers too often. Many are treated with contempt by those who think all we do is crunch numbers all day. Woe to the actuary who tells top management that the company is headed for financial trouble if it continues to follow certain product decisions--and then he gets blamed for the results when it fails to follow his advice.

Last, although I enjoy my job (and the opportunity to apply mathematics to practical business problems), I would not rate it No. 1. There is an enormous amount of time devoted to self-study, post-baccalaureate education that is not justified in terms of compensation (although it is justified solely for learning's sake).

STEVEN GRAINGER

Northridge

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|