When you think about finance, you probably think about the stock market, banks or C-suite executives. However, there is a large part of the sector, particularly in the realm of insurance, that offers six-figure salaries and controls a lot of what consumers pay for financial services. Outstanding actuarial scientists use statistics to provide data on risks.
As an actuary, you are likely to find yourself in the insurance world. Most in the field provide estimates of risk, or how likely something is to go wrong. This impacts auto and home insurance programs, life insurance packages, healthcare plans and more.
Since it is a lucrative field, there tends to be a high demand for outstanding actuaries. Check out these ten amazing practitioners and their careers.
Executive Actuarial Scientist: Roy Goldman, Ph.D., FSA, MAAA, CERA
Although recently retired from practicing actuarial science, Roy Goldman is a renowned actuary. Since 1981, he served in the healthcare industry. He became an executive in the field, ultimately serving as the Chief Actuary of Humana from 2010 to 2015.
Goldman completed his bachelor's degree at Franklin and Marshall College, graduating Cum Laude and as a Phi Beta Kappa. He earned a doctorate in mathematics at Rutgers University. As a member of several actuarial organizations, he is entitled to practice in numerous capacities.
Prior to his last tenure, Goldman worked within several health insurance companies. His resume includes The Prudential Insurance Company's Group Operations, Mercy Health Plans, and Geisinger Health Plan. At Geisinger, he was CFO and Chief Actuary.
Goldman's achievements as an outstanding actuary are mostly specific to health insurance. He designed agreements between insurance providers and customers that intended mutual benefit by decreasing costs while improving quality. Also, he worked with several entities to produce Affordable Care Act regulations.
Beyond his work in the corporate sector, Goldman is a member of several organizations. These include the Society of Actuaries, where he is a Fellow and Board President-Elect, and the American Academy of Actuaries, where he is a member. In addition to these, he is an elected trustee at The Actuarial Foundation. He also serves with the Congressional Budget Office on the Health Advisory Panel.
Goldman is also an avid volunteer within these groups, notably with the Education and Examination system of SOA. Moreover, he remains a proponent of healthcare policy.
Of note, Goldman holds several awards, including the 2004 Institute of Management Accountants and Robert Half International Financial Executive of the Year. Additionally, he chaired numerous committees. Goldman is also published and a regular speaker at actuary conferences.
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Outstanding Actuary: Jim Toole, FSA, MAAA, CERA
A candidate for the 2019 SOA Board as President-Elect, Jim Toole is an outstanding actuary and recognized by his community. In addition to this honor, he is the managing director of FTI Consulting. Overall, Toole has been in the insurance industry for more than 25 years.
Toole holds a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from Wake Forest University. He is also an expert in several fields, including litigation, expert testimony, mergers and acquisitions, and risk management. Moreover, he is a Certified Enterprise Risk Analyst, further demonstrating his commitment to Enterprise Risk Management.
Notably, Toole worked in life and health insurance assessment. Within the health insurance industry, he worked with large and small group products as well as individual plans. He also gained experience in Health Savings Accounts and other specialty products like cancer policy. As an actuary in life insurance, he has expertise in term policies, universal and whole life assessment, variable and group annuities and immediate annuities. Additionally, Toole has experience in property assessment. In this capacity, he works on life settlements and mortality cat bonds.
In addition to his professional experience, Toole is active in professional societies. He is highly involved with SOA. Previous to his status as a nominee for President-Elect, he served as the Health Section Chair. In that capacity, he worked with the committee to coordinate funding for education and research for more than three thousand SOA members.
Toole is also an active speaker and published author on actuarial science topics. He has spoken at numerous national and international seminars, conferences, and universities. Of note, he led efforts to establish a Latin America division for a global actuarial consulting firm. This has contributed greatly to his work in mergers and acquisitions throughout the region.
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Leading Actuarial Scientist: Shawna Ackerman, CAS, MAAA
As a leader in the world of actuaries, Shawna Ackerman is truly a remarkable talent. Currently, Ackerman serves as the President of the American Academy of Actuaries in addition to her role as the Chief Actuary of the California Earthquake Authority. Moreover, as an executive in the field, she is active in research, policy development, and training and education of future actuaries.
Ackerman earned her bachelor's degree in mathematics from Oregon State University. She went on to work with companies like the California Department of Insurance, Miller Herbers Lehmann, and Pinnacle Actuarial Resources, Inc. Additionally, she is a Fellow of the Casualty Actuarial Society.
With expertise in disaster-related risk assessment and casualty insurance, Ackerman brings a unique set of skills to the field. She has been in actuarial science for more than 20 years. With CEA, she implements elements of the organization's strategic plan aimed at increasing earthquake preparedness through education, mitigation, insurance, and resilience.
In addition to her professional experience, this outstanding actuary serves in several volunteer capacities. With CAS alone, she was on the 2017 Honor Roll and served with the Examination and Ratemaking Committees and Variance Editorial Board. Also, she served on the CAS Board of Directors from 2011 to 2014.
As the President of the Academy, she leads one of the largest actuarial professional organizations. With nearly 20 thousand members in the organization, she leads conferences and research entities intended to serve both the U.S. public and those in the profession. Her efforts in this role are documented regularly in her newsletter to the members. One of Ackerman's big pushes within actuarial science development is resilience. She believes that, especially within disaster preparedness, resilience provides the greatest long-term benefits for the public.
Read more about outstanding actuarial scientist Shawna Ackerman.
Income Consultant: Steve Alpert, MAAA, FSA, FCA
As the founder and Managing Principal of Lifetime Income Advisory LLC, Steve Alpert is a clear example of an outstanding actuarial scientist. Prior to founding his own consultation form, he served with Mercer, a management consulting group. Moreover, Alpert's 35 years of experience has garnered him recognition within the field.
Alpert earned his Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Williams College. He also holds several certifications and licenses, including an MSPA from the American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries and an FCA from the Conference of Consulting Actuaries. Furthermore, Alpert is an Enrolled Actuary with the Joint Board for the Enrollment of Actuaries. These titles are in addition to his membership with the Society of Actuaries and the American Academy of Actuaries.
He specializes in pension consultation, which emphasizes long-term and consistent savings plans. Alpert is even able to tout his own financial success as a result of his work in the field. His company works with clients to help them get onto the path of financial stability for life.
In addition to his work, Alpert served as the President of the American Academy of Actuaries. In this capacity, he led an organization dedicated to the actuarial community and the U.S. public. Currently, he serves as the Immediate Past President, advising the current president when called upon.
Interestingly, Alpert also has a personal dedication to the non-profit soccer organization AYSO. He served in numerous capacities with the organization over 16 years, including as a Tournament Commission member. Additionally, he serves as the Treasurer of the Westchester-Putnam Approved Soccer Officials Association and the Westchester Soccer Referee Organization.
Read more about outstanding actuarial scientist Steve Alpert.
Leading Actuary: Mary D. Miller, FCAS, ACAS
A former President with the American Academy of Actuaries, Mary D. Miller is renowned in her profession. She is an outstanding actuarial scientist who started her career in mathematics education. Currently, she serves as a Senior Consulting Actuary with Risk & Regulatory Consulting, LLC. The company is considered a leader in insurance regulator consultation.
Miller holds two degrees. She earned her bachelor's degree in three areas: education, mathematics and French. For this, she attended The Ohio State University. She went on to complete her master's degree in mathematics at the University of Toledo. As an actuarial scientist, she concentrates her talent in casualty risk management.
Interestingly, before moving into actuarial science, Miller was a high school teacher and university instructor. She taught math. Once she moved into the field, she quickly became an outstanding actuary. Her career started with the Division of Financial Regulation Services of the Ohio Department of Insurance. She went on to work as the assistant director of the regulation and actuarial services division.
Beyond her career commitments, Miller held numerous volunteer positions within the community of actuaries. Having served as President of the Academy in 2015, she also had a long list of service and awards. Her affiliation with AAA alone includes work on many committees. These include the Committee on Property/Liability Financial Reporting, the Financial Soundness and Risk Management Committee, and the Financial Reporting Committee. She also held several chair positions within these committees.
Moreover, Miller's work with the Academy has been recognized. In 2011, she won the Robert J. Myers Award for Public Service. This award honors those who provide exceptional service to the public good. At the time, Miller had 16 years contributing to property and casualty insurance in Ohio.
Read more about outstanding actuarial scientist Mary D. Miller.
Executive Actuarial Scientist: Brian Louth, FCIA, FSA
With more than 30 years in the insurance market of Canada, Brian Louth is an outstanding actuarial scientist recognized highly within the community. He has held numerous roles across the industry, including within financial management, investment, pricing, and product development. Currently, he is the Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for RGA Life Reinsurance Company of Canada. He also serves in a volunteer capacity with several of the organization's initiatives.
Louth attended the University of Western Ontario and earned his undergraduate degree in mathematics and actuarial science. In addition, he is a Fellow of both the Society of Actuaries (FSA) and the Canadian Institute of Actuaries (FCIA).
As an actuary, Louth specializes in reinsurance. This is a type of insurance utilized by insurance companies to mitigate their own risks. Ultimately, he works to help these organizations reduce the losses of insurers, such as financial ruin. This, in turn, helps to protect insurance customers.
In his career, he expressed an investment in actuarial science education and the examination system. This led to his membership with SOA more than 20 years ago. Since becoming a member, Louth has served in several capacities. Currently, he is the General Chairperson of the Education Steering and Coordination Committee. In this role, he is able to emphasize the importance of the curriculum provided for training actuaries as well as the examination issued. He is also an SOA board member candidate for the 2020 fiscal year.
In addition to his work as an FSA, Louth chaired the 2009 Canadian Reinsurance Conference. Additionally, he serves with the University of Toronto Actuarial Science Program Advisory Board. He is also a former Loma Canada Council member. Moreover, Louth is a frequent speaker at educational and industry conferences.
Read more about outstanding actuarial scientist Brian Louth.
International Actuary: Xu (Vincent) Xuan, CFA, FSA, MAAA
Although new to AXA Equitable as the Head of Statutory Valuation, Vincent Xuan is not new to the world of actuarial science. His history of being an outstanding actuary took him to new executive levels, including a candidate to serve on the executive board of the Society of Actuaries.
Xuan holds his Bachelor of Economics in Finance from the University of Science and Technology of China. He also has a Master of Arts in Statistics from Columbia University in the City of New York. Xuan's expertise is in annuities, individual life policies, and retirement policies. He also has experience in international business.
In his current role, Xuan is a manager and actuarial scientist. Ultimately, he and his team work to ensuring top-quality production of results for year-end publications in actuarial science. Prior to this role, Xuan worked with Prudential Financial as the Head of Annuity Modeling. There, he developed models and analytical solutions that allowed capital management users to forecast and value their assets. He actually started his career in Beijing at a Taikang Life, which provided him with a strong foundation as an outstanding actuarial scientist.
Beyond his corporate commitments, Xuan has served in several volunteer positions with SOA. Of note, he was the Chief Editor of the SOA International News and a Contributing Editor to The Actuary magazine. Additionally, he is a member of several committees with the organization, including their international segments.
In addition to his professional investments, he has contributed other non-profit organizations. Xuan is the founder and sponsor of the Yuehua Scholarship Foundation. Also, he serves with the USTC Alumni Association. For several years, he was the treasurer, and he later moved on to be a co-president and board director of the association.
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Actuarial Science Educator: Lina Xu, Ph.D., FSA
Lina Xu is the Senior Academic Director of the Master of Science in Actuarial Science program at Columbia University. In this capacity, she helps shape outstanding actuarial scientists by using her own astounding experience to mentor them. Moreover, she is teaching at one of the most prestigious colleges in the U.S.
Xu earned two doctoral degrees at the University of Iowa. She holds a Ph.D. in computational science and applied mathematics. These degrees have informed her career as well as the courses she has taught. Her curriculum vitae of instruction includes courses in actuarial science, mathematics, and statistics.
In addition to her 20-plus years of teaching experience, Xu worked in insurance and reinsurance for more than 16 years. She also acted as a business consultant. Her corporate resume includes work with several companies, including RGA, Prudential Financial, and Guggenheim Life and Annuity Company.
Beyond her work as an actuary and educator of actuarial science, Xu is active with several associations within the field. She is a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries and involved with the International Actuarial Association. With SOA, Xu served as a member of the international section council. Also, she served as the President of the Greater Philadelphia Chinese Actuarial Club.
Internationally, Xu has ties to several other actuarial societies. These include the Actuarial Society of Hong Kong, the Chinese Association of Actuaries, the Institutes of Actuaries of Japan and Korea.
Xu is also published. She writes papers about the field of study and presents at conferences. Additionally, she continues to act as a consultant to international insurance organizations.
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Educating Actuaries: Johannes Ledolter, Ph.D.
Johannes Ledolter is a University of Iowa professor of Management Sciences and Statistics and Actuarial Science. He is also an author in the field and a consultant. His contributions make him an outstanding actuarial scientist. Of note, he is also an Associate Investigator with the Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Visual Loss at the Iowa City VA Health Care System.
Ledolter earned two master's degrees. He holds an M.S. in Statistics from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and an M.S. in Sociology and Statistics from the University of Vienna in Austria. Additionally, he has a doctorate in statistics from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
Prior to his work in higher education, he served as a consultant with the Austrian Institute of Economic Research. Currently, his work as a consultant is on an independent basis. He has consulted for an array of American and European companies, including American Express, Ford Motor Company, HON Industries, Northstar Steel, Procter and Gamble, Bemis Corporation, Lenzing Fiber (Austria), and Telekom Austria. Ledolter also worked with the Iowa Pork Producers and the State of California as an actuary consultant.
Ledolter has worked at several universities. The University of Iowa has been his home, however, since 1978. He was also a visiting lecturer at Princeton University, Yale University, University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and Stanford University. Moreover, he had a two-year-long tenure at the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration.
In addition to his work, he is a published author. Ledolter also received several awards and honors. His collection includes being a Fellow of the American Society for Quality, a Fellow of the American Statistical Association, and a Fulbright Scholar. Additionally, he earned recognition for excellence in teaching.
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Professor of Actuarial Science: Qihe Tang, Ph.D.
Qihe Tang is a professor at the University of Iowa in the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science. Previous to this tenure, he was a faculty member in the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Program in Applied Mathematical and Computational Sciences (AMCS) at the university. Most of his experience as an outstanding actuarial scientist has been educating future actuaries.
Tang holds an M.S. in Mathematics Anhui University in China. He also has a doctorate in statistics and finance from the University of Science and Technology of China. After his doctoral program, he became a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Amsterdam in the Department of Quantitative Economics. Of note, Tang also held a short professorship at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada.
His primary research focuses are asymptotic analysis, extreme value theory for insurance and finance, multivariate heavy-tailed distributions, and quantitative risk management. Tang has several publications based on this body of work. Many of his articles are self-authored, showcasing his talents as an actuary. His most recent 2019 publication is “Sharp asymptotics for large portfolio losses under extreme risks,” which was printed in the European Journal of Operational Research. He also has several productions in production to be released in the near future.
Moreover, Tang is an avid presenter. His resume includes a list of nearly a dozen recent conferences at which he spoke.
Additionally, Tang is the recipient of several grants. He notes two notable entities. First, a joint effort called Modeling and Analyzing Extreme Risks in Insurance and Finance that is sponsored by the National Science Foundation. Second, another joint endeavor entitled Modeling, Measuring, and Managing Catastrophe Risks that is sponsored by the Society of Actuaries. For both of these funded projects, Tang is a principal investigator.
Read more about outstanding actuarial scientist Qihe Tang.