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Old 06-06-2009, 11:17 PM
hober mallow hober mallow is offline
Join Date: Jun 2009
College: alumnus University of Illinois Urbana Champaign
Posts: 1
Default career change: business analyst to actuarial analyst

Hey AO,

Let me share my career situation and request feedback from the casualty community. I'd like to hear from actuaries and DW simpson if possible.

I'm a year out of school from a major public university and I'm working as a financial analyst (business analyst or claims analyst is actually more appropriate). I work at a large personal lines insurer. Lots of Excel work; I spend 90% of my day on spreadsheets and the rest talking to claims people and putting presentations for our leadership. I'm learning about the claims processes and behavior behind casualty/auto damage/homeowners claims, and the things that worry pricing/reserving actuaries in that business.

It's a fairly high-profile role, in which I talk to directors and vice presidents pretty regularly. I put together financial reports, analyze the impacts of particular states on the CW results, publish claims scorecards for each of the claims offices, and do whatever my many bosses tell me. I also undertake special projects such as setting the Claims office staffing plan, subrogation goal setting, and putting together severity plans. I have worked at this insurer for a year already and wish to do actuarial work (likely personal lines pricing/reserving).

I passed exams P and FM. Failed MFE once, and am awaiting results from the spring sitting. I'm delaying a more forceful thrust into searching for an actuarial role because I live at home and save a lot of money on rent, and I'm afraid the prospects for entry-level work are quite dire. I plan on staying in this role for 1-2 more years and initiate my search after finishing CAS 3 or SOA M.

I was wondering whether waiting and continuing my plan is a prudent course of action, or whether it will shut some doors in the long run. If I want to be an actuary eventually, should I thrust myself out there now, when the market is so terrible? My concern: there's a large supply glut of qualified college-grad actuarial students, and I expect supply of entry-level candidates to outpace companies' demand in the future.

Furthermore, I'm wondering what kind of advice you could share on how best to continue in this role. Should I learn about ratemaking and indications and reserving methods in my downtime, strengthen my relationships? Or what kinds of projects do you casualty actuaries think would be useful in this role? I want to use this time wisely to position myself to be much better than an entry-level person out of college, and think I'm off to a decent start.

I'd love to hear anyone's thoughts. Thanks.
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