Transitioning from Underwriter to Actuary: A Promising Path

If you’re currently working as an underwriter in the insurance industry and aspire to become an actuary, you’re in luck. The transition from underwriting to actuarial work is not only possible but also highly valued by employers. In this article, we’ll explore the steps you can take to make this career shift and the advantages that your underwriting experience can bring to the actuarial field.

Understanding the Connection

Before we dive into the specifics of transitioning, it’s crucial to understand the relationship between underwriters and actuaries within the insurance industry. Although their roles differ, both professions work hand-in-hand to ensure the effective operation and profitability of insurance companies.

Underwriters are responsible for evaluating and classifying the risk associated with potential policyholders. They assess the individual characteristics, medical histories, and other relevant factors to determine whether to accept or deny an insurance application. Underwriters rely heavily on the rating tables and pricing models developed by actuaries.

Actuaries, on the other hand, are the statistical and mathematical experts who analyze vast amounts of data to calculate the appropriate premiums and assess the overall risk for insurance companies. They develop the pricing models and rate tables that underwriters use in their day-to-day operations.

This close collaboration between underwriters and actuaries means that underwriters often have a deep understanding of the insurance industry’s inner workings, which can be a valuable asset when transitioning to an actuarial role.

Advantages of Being an Underwriter

As an underwriter, you already possess several skills and experiences that can give you a competitive edge when pursuing a career as an actuary:

  1. Industry Knowledge: Your experience as an underwriter has provided you with a comprehensive understanding of the insurance industry, its terminology, processes, and regulatory requirements. This knowledge is highly valued in the actuarial field and can help you hit the ground running.

  2. Risk Assessment Skills: Underwriters are experts in evaluating and quantifying risk, a crucial aspect of actuarial work. Your ability to analyze complex data and make informed decisions based on risk assessments will be an invaluable asset in your new role.

  3. Attention to Detail: Underwriting requires meticulous attention to detail when reviewing applications and evaluating risk factors. This skill is essential for actuaries, who must ensure the accuracy of their calculations and models.

  4. Communication and Interpersonal Skills: As an underwriter, you’ve likely developed strong communication and interpersonal skills, which are critical for actuaries when working with clients, colleagues, and stakeholders.

Steps to Transition from Underwriter to Actuary

While your underwriting experience can be a significant advantage, becoming an actuary requires meeting specific educational and professional requirements. Here are the key steps to transition from an underwriter to an actuary:

  1. Obtain a Relevant Degree: Most actuarial positions require a bachelor’s degree in a quantitative field, such as mathematics, statistics, actuarial science, or a related discipline. If you don’t already have a relevant degree, you may need to pursue additional education or enroll in a dedicated actuarial science program.

  2. Pass Actuarial Exams: Actuaries must pass a series of rigorous professional exams administered by organizations like the Society of Actuaries (SOA) or the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS). These exams cover topics such as probability, financial mathematics, actuarial models, and risk management. Passing the first few exams is typically a prerequisite for entry-level actuarial positions.

  3. Gain Relevant Experience: While your underwriting experience can be valuable, some employers may still prefer candidates with direct actuarial experience. Consider exploring internship opportunities or entry-level actuarial roles to gain hands-on experience and strengthen your résumé.

  4. Network and Seek Mentorship: Networking within the actuarial community can provide invaluable insights, guidance, and potential job opportunities. Attend industry events, join professional organizations, and seek mentorship from experienced actuaries who can offer advice and support throughout your transition.

  5. Continuously Learn and Develop: The actuarial field is constantly evolving, with new technologies, regulations, and best practices emerging regularly. Stay committed to continuous learning and professional development to maintain your competitive edge and advance your actuarial career.

Embracing the Challenges

While the transition from underwriter to actuary can be rewarding, it’s important to acknowledge the challenges you may face. Passing actuarial exams can be demanding, and the coursework can be rigorous, requiring a significant time commitment and dedication.

Additionally, actuarial positions are highly competitive, and you may need to be prepared to start at an entry-level role, even with your underwriting experience. However, your unique perspective and industry knowledge can set you apart and pave the way for a successful and fulfilling career as an actuary.


If you’re an underwriter with a passion for mathematics, statistics, and risk analysis, pursuing a career as an actuary can be an excellent choice. Your underwriting experience provides a solid foundation and valuable insights that can give you a competitive edge in the actuarial field.

By obtaining the necessary education, passing the actuarial exams, gaining relevant experience, and continuously developing your skills, you can successfully transition from underwriter to actuary and embark on a rewarding and challenging new path in the insurance industry.

What’s the day-to-day of being an underwriter? – Hey Insurance – Ep 87


Is underwriting part of actuarial?

As you can see, the roles of an actuary and an underwriter are similar in that they make calculations to determine risk, but actuaries are involved in determining the general risk, whereas underwriters determine the risk of an individual based on individual factors.

Can finance majors become actuaries?

Actuarial science, math, statistics, economics, business and finance degrees are all good training for an actuarial career. However, actuaries come from a variety of educational backgrounds. Actuaries may have majors in areas such as operations research, physics, engineering, and even fine arts.

What degree is best for actuary?

Typically, actuaries have an undergraduate degree in mathematics, business, actuarial science, or some other analytical field. To become certified, students must complete coursework in subjects such as economics, statistics, and corporate finance.

Is underwriting a stable career?

Is Insurance Underwriting a Good Career? Insurance underwriting is a competitive career. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for insurance underwriters is expected to decrease by 5% between 2016 and 2026.

Leave a Comment