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abc
July 18th 2005, 06:13 PM
I failed the phone interview from a health insurance company. The recruiter asked me what is my expectation for an actuary. I told her that as an actuary , you need to manage risk using your math and statistical skill. She told me that as an actuary you deal little with math. Most of the times, you are communicating with the underwriter. This is the first time for me to know that there are such a big difference between Health insuracen industry and life insuracen industry. I should do more homework before I picked up the phone. Anybody here can give me some more information about a typical health actuary. And where can I find some more information about that?

Thank you

Ken
July 18th 2005, 06:36 PM
Rude awakening?

I've heard that P&C actuaries deal with more interesting mathematical models. Maybe this is what you're looking for? Maybe you want to get into the research side of actuarial science? If a health actuary is what you want to be, you should have reasons on why that's what you want to be.

Good luck.

aced
July 19th 2005, 12:40 AM
I think people (myself included) don't know much about the insurance industry or what our jobs as actuary's will be.

I think I might have said something similar to what you said, abc.

I used to work at a travel agency where people would send in their resume's saying "Hire me, I like to travel." Those get tossed in the recycling real fast. In the travel biz, you don't get to travel, you plan trips for others.

From what I gather, there's a disconnect between what we think our jobs will be, based on the tools we're learning, and our actual roles when we get into a company - especially entry level.

FWIW, I think the "day in the life of an actuary" articles on beanactuary and elsewhere might be helpful. Make points, and spout them off in the interview or come up with interview questions that people in the forum can help answer.

number1
July 19th 2005, 09:13 AM
I failed the phone interview from a health insurance company.

ABC,

I think the answer the person looking for regarding communication really fits all lines of actuarial work. In an actuarial role, one is typically dealing with other departments, managers, other actuaries, etc. So communications is a big aspect to most hiring authorities. Maybe your answer combined with the communications answer is really the best answer. Also, its alway tough to answer totally open ended questions because two different interviewers (even for the same job) are typically looking for two different answers. If you really want to add something to the answer tell them you feel you are particularly good at explaining complex actuarial concepts to non-actuaries...this answer also adds to your actuarial communication skill set.

MaybeYesMaybeNo
July 19th 2005, 09:54 AM
It seems actuaries are also like salemen? They are totally apart from insurance sales, right? Are there well defined duties for an actuary?

Ken
July 19th 2005, 11:07 AM
Pricing actuaries work closely with underwriters if that is what you mean.

AVB
July 19th 2005, 01:37 PM
Look here ABC I work for a general insurance company (that's what they call them in the UK) and I don't think it fair for them to expect you to know in detail that you would need to talk to underwriters, etc.

Before I got my job, I also failed a telephone interview on virtually exactly the same question as you.

No one really has that great an idea what a role will be like unless they've worked in one similar. Your answer was a good one. I am an actuarial pricing analyst and I am constantly using my maths skills - mostly to build statistical models (risk models), etc.

So don't feel too bad.

Ken
July 19th 2005, 02:26 PM
I don't think your answer to this question is the one that made you fail the phone interview. Unless you have answers that set off red flags like, I really hate working with other people or My boss fired me because I don't do work when I'm supposed to be doing it, there is no single question that disqualifies you from the position.

linmath05
April 18th 2007, 02:49 PM
just wanna share a piece of my thoughts.

I think for me, i usually don't mension "mathematical skills". I would say "working closely with numbers". I don't think I will mension "statistical skills". I would say "statistical models".

I think my answer to that question in the interview of a health care company is something like "Being an actuary is about judgement, it's about using the gathered data information to predict future risk. In the case of working in a health care company, I am great working with numbers and I can offer my statistical modelling techniques to help your company gain profit from your health care products and minimizing cost of clamins from your clients."

JMO Fan
May 1st 2007, 09:41 AM
:skeptical:
I failed the phone interview from a health insurance company. The recruiter asked me what is my expectation for an actuary. I told her that as an actuary , you need to manage risk using your math and statistical skill. That's an excellent response.
She told me that as an actuary you deal little with math. That may be true of some health actuarial trainees, but for most it's nonsense. It's common to use calculus and other advanced math in actuarial student assignments.
Most of the times, you are communicating with the underwriter. This must be specific to the job, because it's not generally true.
This is the first time for me to know that there are such a big difference between Health insuracen industry and life insuracen industry. I should do more homework before I picked up the phone. Anybody here can give me some more information about a typical health actuary. And where can I find some more information about that?

Thank you
Don't get discouraged too easily. It could take many more interviews to find the job that fits your skills. Keep trying until you get one. :smiloe:

vtek
May 1st 2007, 09:53 AM
shortly put, being an actuary is about valuing risk. always feel free to mention the soa slogan of "risk is opportunity" when facing those kinds of questions.

pepper2000
August 13th 2010, 10:58 PM
Different interviewers are looking for different things. If you get an interview, you've proven at least a few things already. The employer is convinced that you are sufficiently smart and qualified for the position. But are you a good fit for the company? Do you know what kind of job you are getting into (as some of the comments here point out, your role as an actuary depends very much on the specific position). Are you really interested in that particular firm or job? Do you have the right people skills? Sometimes the interviewer is trying to answer ones of these questions specifically.

One mistake is "fighting the last war". If you think you failed your previous interview because you didn't demonstrate that you have good people skills, you may make the mistake of putting so much emphasis on people skills in the next interview that you fail to realize that the interviewer is more interested in assessing your creativity and problem-solving skills. That's why it is important to listen to the interviewer's questions carefully, try to understand what (s)he is looking for, and respond accordingly.

Finally, to the person who made this topic (a long time ago; I hope you are successfully working now), I wouldn't necessarily think of your experience as a failure. Just as the interviewer is trying to determine if you would be a good fit for the company, you are trying to determine if that company is the right career move. Maybe that exchange demonstrated that you are better off somewhere else. I feel that I botched my first interview, but in retrospect I feel that part of the problem is that it wasn't the right company.