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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.
Article milestones
Date Process Result
June 22, 2006 Peer review Reviewed
June 30, 2006 Featured article candidate Promoted
August 25, 2015 Featured article review Kept
Current status: Featured article

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)

I just made a new section on this talk page (feel free to remove if needed?) before I saw this. I am in favor of revising the citation style. The current style hinders readability and is inconsistent with most of Wikipedia. To be clear, my preference is just to avoid the in-text parenthetical author/page/etc. references. In the footnotes, I don't care which style is used. -KaJunl (talk) 16:50, 7 September 2015 (UTC)
Responded below. In summary, this style is comfortable to actuaries, mathematicians, scientists, etc. as it is much more similar to the citation styles used in academic work than footnote citations. It also is easier on the eyes to many people, not having to jump between superscripts and text on a constant basis. Lastly, the source name is in the text, dispensing with the need to have to jump up and down between sections every time just to see WHO says WHAT. -- Avi (talk) 17:16, 7 September 2015 (UTC)
Thank you for the info. I'm hoping we can get more people to offer input? You mention it is easier on the eyes to "many people" but just from reading this talk page, I'm not sure if you're in the majority. Of course, we should keep it as is by default until reaching more of a consensus, but I do think it severely hinders readability. Mralph72's comment about it coming across as "academic" resonates with me. The style right now seems like it would make sense for something scientific or technical but not for a general description of a career (even a mathematically-oriented one). -KaJunl (talk) 19:10, 25 September 2015 (UTC)
Well, most of the people who have worked on this article since 2005 (although I am probably the biggest culprit) are comfortable with the style. IIRC, there have been only a handful of people (5 or fewer?) in the past 10 years to raise the issue on the talk page. You are the first in 4 years (2011–2015) to do so. Consensus can change, of course, but it is clearly to retain this style at the present time. -- Avi (talk) 02:30, 27 September 2015 (UTC)
I don't know if we can make the assumption that most editors agree with the style just because they haven't commented on it/have gone along with it for consistency. A decent portion of people on the talk page at least question it. Anyway, I agree with you - let's not change it now since there isn't a clear consensus/demand for change - but I'd be eager to get anyone else's thoughts. Unfortunately this page probably isn't highly trafficked enough to get much feedback. -KaJunl (talk) 03:08, 28 September 2015 (UTC)


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)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────@Maralia and SandyGeorgia:Are there any other concerns before this can be closed as a successful FAR? Thanks. -- Avi (talk) 21:08, 19 August 2015 (UTC)

  • A couple of quick issues I can see are:
In the exam section, the term "CAS" is used for the first time without explanation. Even if the various actuarial societies and associations are not discussed in this article (although there probably should be a brief summary with a link to the main article), the term "CAS" should be described as, if I am not mistaken, the "Casualty Actuarial Society" in the United States the first time it is used.
Robert J. Myers should be included in the section on notable actuaries. 21:32, 19 August 2015 (UTC)
    • @Rlendog: Good catches; I've addressed them. Thanks! -- Avi (talk) 21:42, 19 August 2015 (UTC)
  • Excellent. Thanks. Rlendog (talk) 19:56, 20 August 2015 (UTC)


Are those in-text citations in parentheses in the correct format? They make the article really hard to read, and I haven't seen them in other Wikipedia articles (I don't think), but I'm not too familiar with the rules. -KaJunl (talk) 16:42, 7 September 2015 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Parenthetical referencing is an accepted valid style of referencing per Wikipedia:Citing sources and existing styles should not be changed without good reason and consensus. They are used more often in academic and scientific texts, which is why you may not have seen it. Many people find the footnotes harder on the eyes and to follow, as there are multiple textual decorations, whilst when using parenthetical referencing, everything is in-line text. If you start reading a lot of mathematical articles on Wikipedia, you will come across it more often Face-smile.svg. If you have new information to add and need help in citing it, leave a note here on the talk page, and someone will be happy to help you. -- Avi (talk) 17:13, 7 September 2015 (UTC)
Conversation continued at #Strange reference style?. -- Avi (talk) 02:32, 27 September 2015 (UTC)

fictional actuaries - expansion/deletion[edit]

Should the fictional actuaries section be expanded (or even removed)? Having the short blurb there seems odd. There is a whole separate article on the topic, but this blurb in this article doesn't seem to either summarize that other article appropriately or really warrant a presence on the page at all. -KaJunl (talk) 16:47, 7 September 2015 (UTC)

That is an example of what we call Wikipedia:Summary style; when a section gets expanded enough that it may overwhelm the main text, it gets spun off into its own article, with just a brief mention and a link in the parent. The same happened to Actuarial credentialing and exams. -- Avi (talk) 17:18, 7 September 2015 (UTC)
But in this article, the credentialing and exams section can still stand on its own as a good summary and, importantly, includes key summary points. Plus, credentialing and exams is obviously a significant subtopic of the "actuary" topic. Fictional actuaries, in my opinion, is arguably less vital for this article. In addition, it's not clear to me how the blurb about About Schmidt got chosen as the one thing to remain here. I would have thought a sentence along the lines of, "Fictional actuaries have appeared in movies, TV shows, and (bla bla). Notable examples include (someone, someone, someone else)" or a similar "summary." The way it is now seems.. incomplete, and also somewhat random. -KaJunl (talk) 19:20, 25 September 2015 (UTC)
Fair point; what would you suggest for text? Remember that everything needs a source, though, and we have one with Coleman. Perhaps the following? "Actuaries have appeared in works of fiction including literature, theater, television, and film. At times, they have been portrayed as "math–obsessed, socially disconnected individuals with shockingly bad comb–overs," which has resulted in a mixed response amongst actuaries themselves (Coleman 2013)." Your thoughts? -- Avi (talk) 02:37, 27 September 2015 (UTC)
I like that a lot better. Thanks! (Although I don't love the in-text citation style ;) but that's another matter) -KaJunl (talk) 03:02, 28 September 2015 (UTC)


Isn't this job exactly what a Certified_Risk_Analyst does? Why are there two pages and terms for the same function, neither of which reference the other? (talk) 22:31, 12 February 2016 (UTC)

An actuary is a professional (i.e., a person), and a Certified Risk Analyst is a professional designation (i.e., a piece of paper handed out by a professional society that says a person has satisfied certain standards). They may be related—both are in the field of risk—but they are not the same thing. — Malik Shabazz Talk/Stalk 05:23, 13 February 2016 (UTC)
I'm not familiar with Certified Risk Analysts but it seems like that designation is only available in certain states. Actuary is a profession throughout the US and in many other countries; even in countries where there is not a formal designation, the career often still exists. Also, the term "actuary" typically refers to professionals analyzing risk specifically in the insurance industry (and pensions). It looks like Certified Risk Analyst has more to do with credit risk and risk of companies become insolvent more than the type of risk actuaries look at. Actuaries are actually doing the pricing of insurance policies and determining the amount of insurance claims (different than broader "risk"). -KaJunl (talk) 23:30, 25 February 2016 (UTC)

Related jobs[edit]

Should we consider adding additional related jobs to the box on the right? Seems like there could be others worth mentioning besides just underwriter. -KaJunl (talk) 23:25, 25 February 2016 (UTC)

Actuaries are certainly related to statisticians and data scientists (they were doing "data wrangling/science" before the term was in common usage :). Any other suggestions? Perhaps auditor, accountant, broker, etc.? -- Avi (talk) 16:22, 28 March 2016 (UTC)

Intro section[edit]

The second paragraph mentions "insurance" for the first time without any mention previously that actuaries specifically deal with insurance. If I were reading this without knowing what an actuary was, I would find that a bit confusing.

While of course there are actuaries who work outside of the insurance industry, the definition of what actuaries do really is fairly specific to insurance (+pensions), and using the word "risk" in the definition of what actuaries do without mentioning insurance can be misleading/ambiguous since the word "risk" means so many different things in different contexts. (See the confusion about about the difference between actuaries and Certified Risk Analysts. But this also extends to other job titles like Risk Manager, that are very different from actuaries.)

I would recommend trying to tie in pieces of the second paragraph into the first, where actuary is defined.

-KaJunl (talk) 23:37, 25 February 2016 (UTC)

There are actuaries who work for the NFL and there are actuaries who work for hedge funds. Whilst the predominant financial risk with which actuaries deal is insurance, it certainly isn't the only one. Let me think about how to get insurance into that first sentence, properly supported, of course. -- Avi (talk) 16:25, 28 March 2016 (UTC)

Analytics and data science[edit]

Should the article be updated to reflect recent efforts from the SOA/CAS to expand into the predictive analytics space? I suppose this could be part of the "non-traditional employment" section. I'm open to others' thoughts. Edge3 (talk) 04:23, 11 May 2016 (UTC)