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Actuarial Science Summary

Discipline that applies mathematical and statistical methods to assess risk in the insurance and finance industries

Actuarial science

Actuarial science is the discipline that applies mathematical and statistical methods to assess risk in insurance, finance and other industries and professions. Actuaries are professionals trained in this discipline. In many countries, actuaries must demonstrate their competence by passing a series of rigorous professional examinations. Actuarial science includes a number of interrelated subjects, including mathematics, probability theory, statistics, finance, economics, and computer science. Historically, actuarial science used deterministic models in the construction of tables and premiums. The science has gone through revolutionary changes since the 1980s due to the proliferation of high speed computers and the union of stochastic actuarial models with modern financial theory (Frees 1990). Many universities have undergraduate and graduate degree programs in actuarial science. In 2010, a study published by job search website CareerCast ranked actuary as the #1 job in the United States (Needleman 2010). The study used five key criteria to rank jobs: environment, income, employment outlook, physical demands, and stress. A similar study by U.S. News & World Report in 2006 included actuaries among the 25 Best Professions that it expects will be in great demand in the future (Nemko 2006).

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