Talk:Actuary

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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.
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June 22, 2006 Peer review Reviewed
June 30, 2006 Featured article candidate Promoted
Current status: Featured article
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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: http://www.actuaries.org/ABOUT/Brochures/Actuarial_Profession_EN.pdf 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 220.225.218.253 (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)

WProject[edit]

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)

picture[edit]

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. 64.61.120.42 (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

http://vimeo.com/1541614

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 213.152.255.33 (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. 70.100.92.119 (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)

FAR[edit]

This is an older FA that has not been maintained to standard. There is some uncited text, some outdated text, and missing "as of" dates on data. Is anyone able to brush up this article, to avoid a Featured article review? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:54, 8 April 2015 (UTC)

User:Avraham, who was (I believe) the principal author of this article, is on a short Wikibreak. I'll touch base with him when he returns. — Malik Shabazz Talk/Stalk 17:12, 8 April 2015 (UTC)
Thanks, Malik Shabazz ... I would wait about a month before initiating a FAR anyway. Bst, SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:26, 8 April 2015 (UTC)
Thank you for the reminder. I'm crazily busy at work, but I will try and review the text and links over the next week or two. If there are any specific issues that seem obvious to you, Sandy (or anyone), please note them so I (or Malik or anyone) can address them more efficiently. Thanks again! -- Avi (talk) 16:30, 13 April 2015 (UTC)
I've started, but it will be slow due to a project at work which just refuses to die. As always, constructive criticism, comments, and corrections are valued! -- Avi (talk) 17:51, 26 April 2015 (UTC)

While no article is ever complete, and every article can be improved, I think I have addressed the issues SandyGeorgia brings above for now. If I've missed anything, or there are other issues, please list them here, but am I correct in thinking that the recent changes are enough to bring this article back to FA standard? Thanks, -- Avi (talk) 17:25, 29 April 2015 (UTC)

Hi, Avraham; thanks for getting on this! I haven't looked in detail yet, but on a quick skim, see a few things. I will add a couple of cn tags, but mostly I'm seeing WP:MOSNUM issues ... that is, inconsistency in how numbers are used ... 3rd century vs fourteenth century vs. 17th century and the same on other numbers. Could you review WP:MOSNUM and make the use of numbers consistent? I will review further tomorrow, and @Maralia: @DrKiernan: about removing this from WP:URFA. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 19:19, 29 April 2015 (UTC)
Also, please see WP:REALTIME (e.g. use of the word "recent"). SandyGeorgia (Talk) 19:22, 29 April 2015 (UTC)
Thanks! I'll review MOSNUM and REALTIME and work on enforcing consistency, and I'll certainly do my best to track down statements that need sourcing or remove them if they remain unsourced. As always, thanks for doing your part in keeping up the quality of our very best articles! -- Avi (talk) 19:24, 29 April 2015 (UTC)
Thanks, Avi! I'm also still seeing a lot of uncited what-looks-like-but-may-not-be opinion, where it is unclear if the statements are covered by later citations. Statements like:
  • he credentialing and examination procedure for becoming a fully qualified actuary can be intensely demanding. Consequently, the profession remains very small throughout the world. As a result, actuaries are in high demand, and they are highly paid for the services they render.
could probably be cited and attributed (there is a good deal of this). SandyGeorgia (Talk) 19:26, 29 April 2015 (UTC)
I also see some WP:OVERLINK and MOS:LINK issues ... link terms relevant to this article on first occurrence, not every occurrence, and avoid linking common terms known to most speakers of English, which won't likely be clicked on from this article or aren't needed for understanding this article. This is throughout the article and will need some attention to address ... SandyGeorgia (Talk) 19:33, 29 April 2015 (UTC)
I think I solved the overlinking issues using the helper tool. There is one example I think should be left, but there were enough that were against the policy; thanks! -- Avi (talk) 19:53, 29 April 2015 (UTC)

Hi, SandyGeorgia. as regards citations, oten, the citation covers multiple sentences, as happens in print media, as it would look weird to put the same (XXXX 20YY) after each sentence. I think it is fair to assume that in a given paragraph, a citation covers the necessary statements back to either the beginning of the paragraph or a previous citation. Is that still accepted, or has the guidance changed? Thanks again! -- Avi (talk) 19:42, 29 April 2015 (UTC)

No, hasn't changed, and that is still fine. It's just that I see some cases where it's not clear (like the sample above). One thing you can do in cases like that is just add an inline (invisible) comment indicating certain statements are covered ... then you won't have all the citation gibberish showing to readers, but if text is ever moved around in the future, other editors will know. Best, SandyGeorgia (Talk) 19:48, 29 April 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for the idea, will do. -- Avi (talk) 19:53, 29 April 2015 (UTC)

Responding to a ping...I think this is in pretty good shape now. A few things I noticed that could use tweaking:

  • I see "U.S." and "US" and "USA" - consistency please. Yes check.svg Done except for GivingUSA which is its proper name. -- Avi (talk) 21:04, 30 April 2015 (UTC)
  • I also see "per cent" and "%". Yes check.svg Done -- Avi (talk) 16:42, 1 May 2015 (UTC)
  • "Actuaries are involved in investment advice, asset management, general business managers, or financial officers" - this sentence does not parse.Yes check.svg Done -- Avi (talk) 14:29, 4 May 2015 (UTC)
  • I tagged "historical passing percentages remain below 50% for these exams" as needing a source.Yes check.svg Done Addition through subtraction for now. -- Avi (talk) 14:36, 4 May 2015 (UTC)
  • I tagged three people in the "Notable actuaries" section for which we need sources. Yes check.svg Done -- Avi (talk) 17:12, 1 May 2015 (UTC)
  • On that same subject: if Anette Norberg is to be included as a notable actuary, we should say why—her curling career is not relevant here. Yes check.svg Done Removed and appropriate category added to her encyclopedia entry instead.-- Avi (talk) 17:12, 1 May 2015 (UTC)
  • The references use a mixed date style: we have both "2008-09-14" and "April 29, 2015". Either is fine, but MOS calls for consistency.Yes check.svg Done -- Avi (talk) 17:22, 1 May 2015 (UTC)
  • The External links section has a "see also" link to Category:Actuarial associations. It should be removed from there since it's not an external link and the category is already provided as a {{main article}} link under the Credentialing and exams section. Yes check.svg Done -- Avi (talk) 17:14, 1 May 2015 (UTC)

Thanks for your work! Maralia (talk) 02:40, 30 April 2015 (UTC)

Thank you, @Maralia: for your corrections and suggestions. I will address the points you raised (hopefully over the weekend). Should I ping you or Sandy on this talk page when I am done? -- Avi (talk) 16:16, 30 April 2015 (UTC)

I think we've both watchlisted the page, but I'd appreciate a ping to make sure I don't miss your reply in my spammy watchlist. Thanks for your help—it's really unusual to find a 2006 nominator still maintaining an article, especially since most FAs back then weren't even nominated by their main contributors! Maralia (talk) 22:14, 30 April 2015 (UTC)
Yep, watchlisted Avi, but holding back at times so we're not both hitting you at once :) Bst, SandyGeorgia (Talk) 02:21, 1 May 2015 (UTC)

I've been through now ... found linking problems still (may have fixed most of them), and I fear I may have messed up the U.S. US U.K. UK, as I found a mix. Maralia, you're on :) The lead needs to be expanded, and Avi, does the source name the fictional actuaries referenced in the last section? As of now, it's vague. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 18:29, 1 May 2015 (UTC)


Thank you, @SandyGeorgia: and @Maralia: for your corrections and suggestions. I think I've addressed them all (although I am certainly fallible and forgetful) except for Sandy's comment about "expanding the lede." I've added a sentence about the exams to the lede, and would appreciate if Sandy, or anyone, could provide some pointers on how else to successfully expand the lede to maintain featured status. Thank you. -- Avi (talk) 15:53, 4 May 2015 (UTC)

One approach, Avi, is to have a look at each section in the article and extract the single most important detail from that section for the lead. Also, have a look at some helpful info given in WP:LEAD. But, for example, cover a bit of history, etc ... SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:13, 4 May 2015 (UTC)

How's it coming, Avraham? What do you think of the idea of listing this for review now at WP:FAR, where it will get more eyes, and is likely to end up with a seal of approval recorded in articlehistory? Bst, SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:39, 9 May 2015 (UTC)

Hi, SandyGeorgia. I have not been able to flesh out the lede as of yet. I intend to get to it, but by all means, if you think the article would be improved by opening a full FAR, please do so. The important point is to ensure this stays up to the very highest standards of Wikipedia articles! Thanks. -- Avi (talk) 14:41, 11 May 2015 (UTC)
Hi @SandyGeorgia: and @Maralia:. I've done a little more fleshing out. If you feel that a full FAR is the right call now, please set the wheels in motion. Thank you for all of your help and suggestions! -- Avi (talk) 14:41, 14 May 2015 (UTC)
Thanks, Avi! FAR allows for three nominations per week from the list of Unreviewed featured articles, so we can't put it up this week. I'll let Maralia decide if we should go for the endorsement via FAR, or whatever. Bst, SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:03, 14 May 2015 (UTC)
The lede is looking better, but this bit needs some work:
The annual CareerCast study, which uses five key criteria to rank jobs—environment, income, employment outlook, physical demands, and stress—has had actuary ranked number one at least three times since 2010 (Needleman 2010, Thomas 2012, Weber 2013, CareerCast 2014, CareerCast 2015).
This is strange phrasing. I think I get the intent—"at least x times since y" means the language won't go out of date as years pass and ranks change—but it's still awkward language, and also incongruous to use five cites to back up an assertion of three #1 rankings. On another note, this bit is not covered anywhere else in the article, which is problematic since the lede is supposed to summarize the content in the article's body. I'm not sure where it would fit best, though. Maybe pull the Remuneration section out of Responsibilities (where it doesn't really fit anyway) and work that and the 'best job' rankings into a new section titled...Job satisfaction? Benefits? Prospects? Career outlook? None of those are quite right, but I bet we can come up with something. Maralia (talk) 05:14, 15 May 2015 (UTC)
Good points, Maralia. Yes, the intent is to prevent recency issues, and the 5 citations show that since 2006 or so, it has consistently been in the top 10. Let me think of a better way to phrase it and also how to streamline that one sentence in the lede and have two sentences/a paragraph somewhere in the text. -- Avi (talk) 14:05, 15 May 2015 (UTC)
@Maralia:, while it can always be improved, I think I addressed most of your concerns. May I trouble you to eyeball the enhancements, please? -- Avi (talk) 14:59, 15 May 2015 (UTC)