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Featured article Actuary is a featured article; it (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community. Even so, if you can update or improve it, please do so.
Main Page trophy This article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page as Today's featured article on September 10, 2006.

Opening definition of actuary[edit]

I don't think that the current description of an actuary provides a clear idea to people of what actuaries actually do. It merely links actuaries with financial risk - but what is it that actuaries actually do and what do companies pay them for? In the opening actuarial subject of my actuarial uni degree one of the first things they did was provide us with what they thought is the most comprehensive, clear and concise definition of an actuary: "An actuary is a professional who analyses risky cash flows to provide advice for the purpose of strategic decision making." I can find a broadly similar definition here: Utopial (talk) 08:50, 9 January 2010 (UTC)

Actuaries analyze more than risky cash flows. I think the description here is actually better:

The future is uncertain. Some of the events that can happen are undesirable. "Risk" is the possibility that an undesirable event will occur. Actuaries are experts in:

*Evaluating the likelihood of future events
*Designing creative ways to reduce the likelihood of undesirable events
*Decreasing the impact of undesirable events that do occur.

-- Avi (talk) 01:37, 10 January 2010 (UTC)

Roles and Responsibilities[edit]

Why is this section removed again and again?

Typically, an actuarial career progresses through several roles, depending on qualifications and experience, such as:

  1. Trainee (i.e. apprentice, temp)
  2. Executive (i.e. surveyor, modeller, analyst)
  3. Associate Actuary (i.e. team leader)
  4. Actuary (i.e. project manager) and
  5. Chief Actuary (i.e. risk director)

within an organisation. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:43, 16 February 2010 (UTC)

Avraham removed it because, as he wrote in his edit summary, it is "Incorrect AND unsupported". I just removed it for the same reason. — Malik Shabazz Talk/Stalk 06:22, 16 February 2010 (UTC)


Actuaries are a type of statisticians, and thus the article is in scope. -- Avi (talk) 04:36, 11 May 2010 (UTC)

I tend to disagree. The WikiProject Statistics is about the science of statistics (otherwise its scope would be so broad as to being able to include every article on Wikipedia, since one can collect statistical data on just about any topic and therefore claim that that topic belongs to WPStatistics). Additionally it was agreed that WPStatistics would include the history of statistical science, and the biographies or prominent statisticians (again scientists). The article statistician falls within the scope of the project only barely, since statisticians can be either applied or theorists, and if we include the biographies of theoretical statisticians, we have to include the definition of the term statistician as well. But since actuaries are not actually scientists, it's a purely applied field, this article falls out of scope of the project... I'm not saying that it's a bad article or anything like that, just the scope of WPStatistics is purely theoretical and not applied.  // stpasha »  07:33, 11 May 2010 (UTC)
Let us continue the discussion on Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Statistics#Clarification of scope? -- Avi (talk) 12:15, 11 May 2010 (UTC)
I see now that the List of statisticians clearly specifies that it includes prominent statisticians, actuaries and demographers, which makes the article related to the project. However I will reassess the importance in WPStatistics template to at least Mid.  // stpasha »  16:32, 11 May 2010 (UTC)
Fair enough; thank you. -- Avi (talk) 19:32, 11 May 2010 (UTC)

Credentialing section[edit]

I think it is about time that the credentialing section be spun off into its own article, per summary style. Perhaps a brief mention of the largest systems worldwide (UK, US, Australia) can be mentioned, but it should be brief and lead to a new article. Any ideas for the name of the new article; something like "Actuarial credentials"? -- Avi (talk) 22:44, 1 August 2010 (UTC)

It's about eight months, and no one has commented; shall I take that to mean overwhelming support? :-) -- Avi (talk) 22:23, 27 April 2011 (UTC)

OK, I finally did it today, and split off the credentialing section to Actuarial credentialing and exams. -- Avi (talk) 19:20, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
Good move. — Malik Shabazz Talk/Stalk 19:27, 27 February 2012 (UTC)


Can't we find a nicer pic than Katrina?

Say, a cemetery?

Or the Bills of Mortality? Or Lloyds of London? Meepbobeep (talk) 11:06, 4 August 2010 (UTC)

I uploaded a picture used in Actuarial science, but it lacks the "oomph" of Katrina, IMO. -- Avi (talk) 04:05, 5 August 2010 (UTC)
And it's already in the article :) -- Avi (talk) 04:07, 5 August 2010 (UTC)
I was completed thrown off by the picture on discovering this page. After reading the article, I can see the relevance but I do not understand why we have chosen a disaster over any other possible relevant image, this event in particular over any other or, in fact, this image over any other - it is not clear or interesting. FloreatAntiquaDomus —Preceding unsigned comment added by FloreatAntiquaDomus (talkcontribs) 16:05, 18 September 2010 (UTC)
Do you have another suggestion? -- Avi (talk) 16:35, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
Would it be too irreverent to use the About Schmidt poster?  :) MikeTheActuary (talk) 18:14, 18 September 2010 (UTC)
Yes :P (and a fair-use violation as well) -- Avi (talk) 16:35, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
Then I suggest that the next time there's a CAS or SOA meeting in Las Vegas, someone contribute a picture of attendees at the roulette wheel.  ;) MikeTheActuary (talk) 16:58, 19 September 2010 (UTC)

I'm an actuary. My wife took a picture (that we have on our Flickr site) of me at work. There's me at the desk, a coputer screen showing a spreadsheet, stacks of Annual Statements and binders, and lots of other clutter. You could use that. (talk) 19:05, 19 August 2011 (UTC)

First Black actuary[edit]

Here is a reference of sorts for the fact that Robert J. Randall Sr. was the first black actuary. FSA 1952

Sugarfoot1001 07:36, 25 August 2010 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Sugarfoot1001 (talkcontribs)

Strange reference style?[edit]

Why are the links/sources in this article laid out as a journal article, eg "...[t]his is the second half of a sentence (Jones, 1942)." and not "...[t]his is the last half of a sentence {ref tag}."? Also the resources section is laid out differently, I think? Or, is the layout of this article different than that of other wikipedia articles? biancasimone (talk) 02:18, 14 January 2011 (UTC)

Hi all, I'm struggling trying to insert a reference in the remuneration section following a sentence I just added. Could somebody advise on this please as I'm concerned I'm making a bit of a mess! Assistance much appreciated! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:31, 4 March 2011 (UTC)

The article was written using Harvard citation with front and back links between the article text and the reference list. Let me see if I can adjust what you added. -- Avi (talk) 22:17, 27 April 2011 (UTC)
After looking at the additions, they are applicable to all careers, not just actuaries, and I'm not certain that there is an overwhelming reason to have that one sentence in the article. Also, many actuaries are self-employed, and must pay for their own healthcare and benefits. -- Avi (talk) 22:19, 27 April 2011 (UTC)
The citations need to be wikified; there's a reason no other article on the site is done this way - this is not the right way to do it on Wikipedia. If I can find an appropriate template to stick on the top of the page, I'll do that later today. (talk) 11:05, 28 February 2012 (UTC)

The citation style is that called Author-date. Please see Wikipedia:Citing sources where it says "If an article already has citations, adopt the method in use or seek consensus on the talk page before changing it." Wikipedia:Parenthetical referencing is an accepted method of citation on Wikipedia, and changing citation styles from one acceptable style to another without consensus has been viewed in the past as disruptive editing (I believe there was an ArbCom case on it a few years back). -- Avi (talk) 14:02, 28 February 2012 (UTC)

I'd be in favour of changing the references to the usual Wikipedia style. --Mralph72 Chat 22:16, 11 May 2012 (UTC)
It's not my preferred style of referencing, but there is nothing wrong with the citation style here, and it is supported by Wikipedia policy, see Wikipedia:Parenthetical referencing. It also has the enormous advantage of keeping the clutter of huge citation templates out of the text body. --NSH001 (talk) 23:11, 11 May 2012 (UTC)
Indeed, Wikipedia does not have a standard form of referencing. But it does have a usual form, and this article doesn't use it. To my eyes, this makes it look odd. It reads like an academic paper, which may be useful in more academic WP articles, but I don't see the point in a relatively mainstream article like this, it just breaks things up unnecessarily. Yes, citations are important in any Wikipedia article, but they have more or less importance depending on the context - here I would say they are not of high importance and are given undue prominence. Just my opinion though - there'd need to be a fairly strong consensus of agreement with me to justify going through and changing it.--Mralph72 Chat 03:37, 12 May 2012 (UTC)
There are other ways of "keeping the clutter of huge citation templates out of the text body" ... one is to use the "|refs=" option of the reflist template, so that some or all of the ref citation templates can be put just after reflist. Any refs already in a block at the end would only need monor changes, but keeping the block together. Wikipedia should be encouraging adding useful citations, whereas adding another name and date within an article can seem wasteful of space and distracting to readers who are not particularly keen on knowing who contributed what, but rather want to know what the current state of play is. Melcombe (talk) 10:50, 12 May 2012 (UTC)
A comment above says "The article was written using Harvard citation with front and back links between the article text and the reference list" .... I don't see a way of seeing/using "back links", so are these now broken somehow? Melcombe (talk) 11:00, 12 May 2012 (UTC)

Originally, the ref-harvard/note-label system was used allowing backlinks. About 2 to 3 years ago, that style was deprecated, and someone switched it over to the harv style references in the citation templates which only allow frontlinks. However, it is very easy to go back; hit the back button on your browser. In any event, I for one am not in favor of making any changes to this style. Also, it is consistent with other actuarial articles on Wikipedia (such as Actuarial Science and Actuarial credentialing and exams. Yes, Melcombe is correct that reflists can do the same thing for footnotes (and I've done that in other articles) but as this method is no less valid and no less acceptable than any other, it should not be changed without consensus (and a good reason for that matter). I submit that the parenthetical insertion is not more "intrusive" than the superscripted footnote, and perhaps less so as it flows better with the text and does not call attention to itself via a change in textual decoration. -- Avi (talk) 20:43, 14 May 2012 (UTC)