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  #11  
Old 09-09-2018, 12:54 AM
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That's not even close to true. IME those are the jobs that pay >90th percentile
what kind of small carriers are you talking about? I was thinking regional insurers when you said small carriers
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  #12  
Old 09-09-2018, 07:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Abelian Grape
Work at a smaller carrier then, where you’d get a larger breadth of responsibilities instead of being pigeonholed. Perhaps one with an underwriting focus.
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Consulting comes with longer hours and pretty much all my friends in consulting want to switch to insurance cause they can't find the time to study for their exams as much as they would like to.
These are not necessarily compatible. Wider responsibilities at smaller companies probably mean there will be times when you have to work longer hours, compared to large carriers. But consulting could be worse.

You've taken down your resume, but ISTR it is some time since you passed an exam, which might be more of an issue for consulting firms than for insurers. To some extent they also look for different personality traits, and it is possible that you are not a good fit for consulting.
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Old 09-09-2018, 08:57 AM
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I would not go into Consulting right off the bat.

I did this:

Mutual - Big Carrier - Big Reinsurance Carrier - Consulting

I picked the mutual because I needed flexible hours (at the time). The pay was on the low end, but that was fine as I also had access to good development opportunities (within and outside my role).

By the time I was leaving the big reinsurer, I had expertise in various important areas. This is key to
being good at consulting imho. If you jump into consulting right away, you will not get the same level of detailed experience as you do in a large carrier, and this will most likely come back to bite you later on. Additionally, the hours in consulting are longer than those of a large carrier, which can cause issues when it comes to studying.

So ideally, you want to start at a large carrier, pass exams, gain experience in different areas by rotating around, possibly specialise in one or two of them, and then make the jump to consulting a bit after you qualify, once you know what you want to focus on PQE.
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Old 09-09-2018, 09:04 AM
jas66Kent jas66Kent is offline
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Also,

You are extrapolating that consultancy is more productive based on only an internship?

This is a bit silly. As an EL your workload will likely be a lot heavier, so I would not over-think it. If you do indeed have free time....then I suggest you use this to study.
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Old 09-09-2018, 02:55 PM
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I had expertise in various important areas. This is key to
being good at consulting imho.


Sometimes, jas makes good points. In my experience, consultants who understand their clients business are much more useful. And you'll get there a lot quicker by spending a few years doing the job, then making the switch.
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  #16  
Old 09-09-2018, 05:16 PM
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Sometimes, jas makes good points. In my experience, consultants who understand their clients business are much more useful. And you'll get there a lot quicker by spending a few years doing the job, then making the switch.
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Don't you even think about sending me your resume. I'll turn it into an origami boulder and return it to you.
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Old 09-09-2018, 05:54 PM
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so in your opinion, who should go into entry level actuarial consulting? it seems like you guys think my reasons are bad ones; what are some good ones?
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Old 09-09-2018, 06:45 PM
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so in your opinion, who should go into entry level actuarial consulting? it seems like you guys think my reasons are bad ones; what are some good ones?
You actually did list some good ones. Consulting does tend to be more meritocratic - and by meritocratic I mean you get rewarded for billings and sales, and not so much for exams. Not having exams isn't necessarily going to doom you to remaining an eternal spreadsheet monkey like it would in insurance, On the other hand, if by '"meritocratic," you weren't thinking of sales, then you're going to have a bad time.

If you thought you could simply waltz in and a bill a crapton of hours, that's not necessarily true. You may have to fight very hard and do a lot of internal, social maneuvering to get put on a lucrative project. Other people who are hungry for hours will try to push you off those projects - especially when sales are lean.

Traveling was one of the bad reasons you mentioned. There's a high chance you won't go anywhere good, and if you do, you'll be spending almost all the time working and none of it sightseeing. It will be much harder to take care of your body and your social life as well.

Some good reasons I can think of is that you'll get to work with some of the most talented people in the industry, so if you like competing against and working with really smart people, consulting is a good place to go. On the insurance side, you tend to work with people whose only marketable skill is the ability to pass exams. This paragraph isn't all necessarily true though, and depends heavily on what company you end up at.

Another good reason is that you learn consulting skills from the get-go. This includes things like client relationships, sales, proposals, people skills, writing skills, negotiating, project scoping, practice management, etc. Those thing can, of course be learned later in your career, but if you move into consulting after having spent a long time at a carrier, you'll be behind, seniority-wise, from (some) people who had been in consulting at the beginning. For instance, you'll see some people your age who are 2-3 years away from making partner whereas it might take you another 8 years to get there. Client relationships in particular tend to take a really long time to build. On the other hand, there's some survivorship bias here, as for every 35 year old partner that you run into, there are a lot of people who never make it. But, if you do aspire to be a young hot-shot partner, it's better to start in consulting.

It can also be tough to move in if you've spent too many years in insurance. I think the ideal time to switch is shortly after you attain fellowship.

Another good reason is if you're interested in actuarial software development. If you want to design and sell software, then consulting is the place to go. Insurance companies don't do that. But some of the projects you'll work on in that regard are so specialized that it's better to have client-side experience first.
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Don't you even think about sending me your resume. I'll turn it into an origami boulder and return it to you.

Last edited by Colonel Smoothie; 09-09-2018 at 06:55 PM..
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  #19  
Old 09-09-2018, 11:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Colonel Smoothie View Post
You actually did list some good ones. Consulting does tend to be more meritocratic - and by meritocratic I mean you get rewarded for billings and sales, and not so much for exams. Not having exams isn't necessarily going to doom you to remaining an eternal spreadsheet monkey like it would in insurance, On the other hand, if by '"meritocratic," you weren't thinking of sales, then you're going to have a bad time.

If you thought you could simply waltz in and a bill a crapton of hours, that's not necessarily true. You may have to fight very hard and do a lot of internal, social maneuvering to get put on a lucrative project. Other people who are hungry for hours will try to push you off those projects - especially when sales are lean.

Traveling was one of the bad reasons you mentioned. There's a high chance you won't go anywhere good, and if you do, you'll be spending almost all the time working and none of it sightseeing. It will be much harder to take care of your body and your social life as well.

Some good reasons I can think of is that you'll get to work with some of the most talented people in the industry, so if you like competing against and working with really smart people, consulting is a good place to go. On the insurance side, you tend to work with people whose only marketable skill is the ability to pass exams. This paragraph isn't all necessarily true though, and depends heavily on what company you end up at.

Another good reason is that you learn consulting skills from the get-go. This includes things like client relationships, sales, proposals, people skills, writing skills, negotiating, project scoping, practice management, etc. Those thing can, of course be learned later in your career, but if you move into consulting after having spent a long time at a carrier, you'll be behind, seniority-wise, from (some) people who had been in consulting at the beginning. For instance, you'll see some people your age who are 2-3 years away from making partner whereas it might take you another 8 years to get there. Client relationships in particular tend to take a really long time to build. On the other hand, there's some survivorship bias here, as for every 35 year old partner that you run into, there are a lot of people who never make it. But, if you do aspire to be a young hot-shot partner, it's better to start in consulting.

It can also be tough to move in if you've spent too many years in insurance. I think the ideal time to switch is shortly after you attain fellowship.

Another good reason is if you're interested in actuarial software development. If you want to design and sell software, then consulting is the place to go. Insurance companies don't do that. But some of the projects you'll work on in that regard are so specialized that it's better to have client-side experience first.
thank you for that -- very insightful.

Just out of curiosity, do you happen to know at what stage in their career, do most people get into actuarial software development? Is it mostly actuaries that work on that or is it software developers (guessing the latter)? If they are actuaries, how much do they make compared to actuarial consultants on the same level (that do non-software work).
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  #20  
Old 09-10-2018, 02:41 AM
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thank you for that -- very insightful.

Just out of curiosity, do you happen to know at what stage in their career, do most people get into actuarial software development? Is it mostly actuaries that work on that or is it software developers (guessing the latter)? If they are actuaries, how much do they make compared to actuarial consultants on the same level (that do non-software work).
I've seen people from all levels of experience working in actuarial software development. I'm really not sure what the percentage composition of actuaries are...I suppose it would depend on what exactly the product does, but the teams are diverse, which include actuaries, software engineers, project managers, sales representatives/account managers, admin assistants, etc.

Actuaries are primarily responsible for dictating what the software is supposed to do, and what features it's supposed to have. How that is done is that the actuaries are client-facing, so by interacting with the clients and working on engagements, they can determine what additional changes need to be made to bring the software to the next version. Then they'll go to the software engineers, and tell them, "we need to implement algorithm blah." The software engineers then code it up and deploy, project managers make sure the work gets done on time, and the actuary needs to check the work and oversee it to make sure it's doing the right thing, since tech staff aren't subject matter experts in actuarial science.

My team currently has 0 software engineers, but that should change soon. I am the sole actuary, and the others are data scientists and analysts. Our product is still alpha-ish, and is very new. Current plans are to outsource development and perhaps gradually bring core components in-house as we grow.

How much money you make, depends on how well your software sells. In lean years you might make less than an actuary in insurance. In really good years you can make far more, as in most of your compensation comes from bonus. The closer your role is to sales, and the closer you are to product ownership, the more you'll make.

But again, prior insurance experience will be extremely helpful. It's not really until you've worked in the bowels of an insurer that you'd see firsthand what all the ugly problems are - ugly problems that people will pay lots of money to solve, just not to their own actuaries...

Some of the most successful consultants I've seen, the ones making millions a year, had long stints in insurance prior to becoming consultants.
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