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number1
March 11th 2005, 10:34 PM
Starting out as an actuary, how do I decide which area of insurance to go into; casualty, pensions, life, health, etc.?

wat
March 14th 2005, 09:47 PM
Starting out as an actuary, how do I decide which area of insurance to go into; casualty, pensions, life, health, etc.?

If you're just starting out, there won't be too much of a difference in picking between life and P&C. However, if you're looking for paid study time and good exam support, I wouldn't recommend consulting. The general consensus is that consulting is much more about the client, which leads to more hours and less exam support. But it's up to you.

Quirk
March 17th 2005, 09:48 AM
I would suggest that you look for a company with an established rotational program and multiple LOB's, you will not likely get exposed to the P&C side, but there will be opportunities for you to experience Retirement(DB & DC), life, reinsurance, and possibly health. I would start looking at companies like Prudential or AIG although I do recognize that the list is probably small given the wave of firms choosing to shed multiple LOB's.

In regards to the post concerning the consulting route, I can only say that the exam support and client responsibility is specific to each student. If a firm has a vested interest in developing you and has recognized your potential, they will do everything it takes to support and retain you.

Cheers

ginyeung
March 18th 2005, 03:47 AM
I would suggest you to work in some small company rather that large company like AIA.

I am currently working in a small local life insurance company in Hong Kong, which is my first job after graduate. The company is so small that there is not internal actuary :D . Valuation, pricing, solvency test... all of them are done by the outside consultant firm (Tillinghast, do you guys know that?). What I am doing is to verify the result received from the consultant and then explain them to managers. It's quite challenging and I can go through the whole process of different jobs in a life company.

My friend, who is currently working in Manulife, told me that he couldnít learn too much. Manulife divide the Actuarial Department into different terms to do valuation, pricing or other actuarial stuff. Within each team, itís further divided into different business lines. My friend spent 2 years in the same team, which only do the valuation of 2-3 products. He wishes to switch to another team, but itís hard because many people wish to switch too. Now, he wants to leave and works in a smaller company.

Of course, small company wonít provide a good pay, exam support and all those larger company would provide... My salary is much lower than the standard level in the market (~80% of standard level). However, itís worth to spend 1~2 years in such small company. Now I am looking for another job. My working experience in this company allows me to write much more stuff on the resume than I was fresh graduate.

wat
March 21st 2005, 06:29 PM
I would suggest you to work in some small company rather that large company like AIA.

I am currently working in a small local life insurance company in Hong Kong, which is my first job after graduate. The company is so small that there is not internal actuary :D . Valuation, pricing, solvency test... all of them are done by the outside consultant firm (Tillinghast, do you guys know that?). What I am doing is to verify the result received from the consultant and then explain them to managers. It's quite challenging and I can go through the whole process of different jobs in a life company.

My friend, who is currently working in Manulife, told me that he couldnít learn too much. Manulife divide the Actuarial Department into different terms to do valuation, pricing or other actuarial stuff. Within each team, itís further divided into different business lines. My friend spent 2 years in the same team, which only do the valuation of 2-3 products. He wishes to switch to another team, but itís hard because many people wish to switch too. Now, he wants to leave and works in a smaller company.

Of course, small company wonít provide a good pay, exam support and all those larger company would provide... My salary is much lower than the standard level in the market (~80% of standard level). However, itís worth to spend 1~2 years in such small company. Now I am looking for another job. My working experience in this company allows me to write much more stuff on the resume than I was fresh graduate.

I'm in agreement with all but maybe that last paragraph. Depending on how demanding the small insurance company is, they should be able to support you through your exam process at least as well (if not better) as the large insurance companies. The pay may not be as great, but the stress level will most likely be lower and you'll be a little more comfortable in your work environment.

Irish Blues
March 26th 2005, 05:58 PM
I don't know how many people have started in one line and then gone to another, but at what point can you still switch between areas without being "stuck" in an area?

Ken
March 27th 2005, 02:48 PM
During interviews, I noticed that I like the personalities of the people in consulting as opposed to insurance but it's different for every company. To me, it's important that the people I work with are compatible with me.

wat
March 28th 2005, 02:20 PM
I don't know how many people have started in one line and then gone to another, but at what point can you still switch between areas without being "stuck" in an area?

If you're still in your first few years of employment (1-3, maybe), I wouldn't say you're "stuck" in the LOB you're in, especially if you're still working on the first 4 preliminary exams. When you're ready to start taking Course 5/Part 5, you'll have to choose your area. That, I suppose, would be the examination way of approaching the split. Of course, there are double fellows out there (FCAS/FSA's).

From a practical point of view, if you have a significant amount of experience in one field (say, P&C), then suddenly want a change in scenery and numbers and switch to Life, you may have to take a cut in pay, due to the lack of appropriate experience in the field. But I don't think it's out of the question to switch.