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Actuaries in Insurance: Overview of their Roles & Responsibilities

An actuary can help you create detailed financial proformas that offer a comprehensive view of your company’s future financial performance.

These consultants conduct thorough risk assessments as part of financial pro- forma development. This helps your insurance company identify potential financial challenges and develop strategies to mitigate them.

What is an insurance actuary?

An insurance actuary is a professional responsible for analyzing complex data to assess and manage financial risks associated with insurance policies.

Actuaries use mathematical and statistical models to evaluate the likelihood and magnitude of events such as accidents, illnesses or natural disasters occurring and their financial implications for the insurer.

What do insurance actuaries do?

Insurance actuaries fulfill a multifaceted role in the insurance industry, and their contributions extend across various types of insurance policies.

Assessing risk

One of the primary duties of insurance actuaries is to assess risk. They analyze historical data, claims, risk exposures, demographic information, and other relevant factors to identify patterns and trends. This allows them to predict the probability of various events occurring which can include things such as car accidents, health-related issues,  property damage or lawsuits.

They employ advanced models to quantify the potential financial consequences of these events. This assessment forms the foundation upon which insurance premiums, investment strategies, and reserves are determined (see below).

Assisting with determining reserves

Adequate actuarial reserves are essential for an insurer’s financial stability. The law also requires insurers to hold a certain amount in reserve.

Actuaries leverage their analytical skills and predictive modelling capabilities to estimate the amount of reserves required for a portfolio of risks.

These reserves serve as a financial safety net, ensuring that the insurance company can meet its future obligations to pay claims, even in the face of unexpected surges in claims or unforeseen economic challenges.

Calculating required premium levels

Actuaries play a pivotal role in determining how much policyholders should pay for their insurance coverage. They factor in the calculated risks, administrative costs, and the insurer’s desired profit margins to establish competitive yet sustainable premium rates.

This entails striking a careful balance to ensure that premiums are both attractive to potential policyholders and profitable for the insurance company.

Assessing investments

Insurance companies often invest the premiums they collect to generate additional income. Actuaries are responsible for evaluating these investment portfolios to ensure they align with the company’s financial objectives and risk tolerance.

Their expertise in diversification and risk management helps maximize returns while minimizing exposure to market fluctuations.

Types of insurance actuaries

Insurance actuaries may specialise in a particular type of insurance.

Life and health insurance

Life and health insurance actuaries specialize in assessing the risk associated with policyholders’ life expectancies and exposure to disability.

They analyse extensive demographic data, historical mortality rates, and health factors to predict the likelihood of policyholders becoming disabled or passing away during the policy term.

These actuaries are responsible for determining the appropriate reserves to cover future claim payouts, ensuring that life insurance companies can meet their obligations to beneficiaries.

Property and casualty insurance

Property and casualty insurance actuaries cover a broad range of insurance lines.

Property actuaries are experts in modelling risks related to property damage, natural disasters, and other property-related perils. They analyze historical data on incidents like fires, storms, and theft to predict future property losses.

Factors such as the location of the insured property, its construction materials, and its susceptibility to various perils all influence the premium calculation.

Casualty actuaries specialize in evaluating the risks associated with liability such as professional services. They analyse data related to past lawsuits, claims and industry-specific trends to estimate the likelihood of liability claims.

Within this specialization, actuaries play a pivotal role in setting premiums for professional liability insurance policies. They consider factors such as the type of profession, the experience of the professionals, and the frequency of claims within the industry to ensure that premiums align with the risk.

Actuaries in the field of automobile insurance focus on assessing accident risks. They analyze extensive data on past accidents, driver demographics, vehicle types, and driving behaviours to predict the likelihood of accidents occurring.

These actuaries determine the premiums that policyholders should pay for their auto insurance coverage. They take into account factors like the driver’s age, driving history, location, and the type of vehicle to calculate appropriate premium levels.

Actuaries vs underwriters: what’s the difference?

It is common for people to confuse actuaries with underwriters, as both play crucial roles in the insurance industry. However, they have distinct responsibilities.

Actuaries focus on assessing and managing risk at a more general level. They analyze data, create models and make predictions about future events to guide financial decisions within an insurance company.

On the other hand, underwriters evaluate risks on an individual basis. They assess the overall risk profile of potential policyholders or applicants. Underwriters consider factors such as an individual’s health, lifestyle, and occupation (or a specific business’ underlying financial health) to determine whether to approve or deny insurance coverage.

Their decisions directly impact the insurer’s underwriting profitability.

How can an actuarial consultant help your insurance company?

Actuaries are indispensable assets to insurance companies, playing a pivotal role in several key areas that directly impact the company’s success and stability.

Here’s how an actuarial consultant can provide critical support to your insurance company:

Annual and quarterly reserving

Actuarial consultants can review reserving and how much your insurance policies are projected to pay out in a year or a quarter.

They use advanced statistical models and data analysis to calculate reserves that align with your company’s specific lines of business, ensuring you have sufficient funds to meet future claims and obligations.

We’ve put together an entire article on annual reserving, which can be reviewed here.


Actuarial consultants can also leverage extensive data analysis to assist in setting annual premium rates. They ensure that rates are competitive, while still allowing your company to achieve profitability.

Financial proformas

An actuary can help you create detailed financial proformas that offer a comprehensive view of your company’s future financial performance.

These consultants conduct thorough risk assessments as part of financial pro- forma development. This helps your insurance company identify potential financial challenges and develop strategies to mitigate them.

Regulatory and financial notes support

Actuarial consultants can also provide crucial support for regulatory filings, ensuring compliance with reporting requirements.  They help your company prepare financial statements, exhibits and actuarial opinions that meet regulatory standards.

Ongoing education and training

Consultants offer expert ongoing education and training to keep your team updated on the latest industry trends, regulations and best practices.

Through workshops, seminars, and one-on-one training, consultants help your staff refine their actuarial and analytical skills, ensuring that your company remains at the forefront of industry knowledge.

Contactez notre équipe

At Axxima, we provide actuarial services covering a range of different types of insurance.

We can assist insurance companies performing annual and quarterly reserving work, provide regulatory and financial notes support, financial proformas, annual ratemaking and more.

All the actuaries on our team are accredited by the Canadian Institute of Actuaries. We’re also closely involved with the relevant professional associations that develop actuarial educational materials.

If you’re in need of an actuarial consultant, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our expert team.