2 Actuarial Exams Passed. What starting salary to expect?
You’ve studied hard. Passed two exams. And now it’s time to search for an entry-level job (or it will be soon). How much should you expect to make?
Here’s the quick answer: Your entry-level actuarial salary will depend on your geographical area, your past experience, and the industry that you go into (P&C, life, health, pension, etc.). If you’re in the U.S. you can expect somewhere between 46K – 71K annually. In Canada, you’re very unlikely to get a job with just 2 exams.
But that’s really general. You probably want more specific answers, so I’ve broken it down below based on this DW Simpson salary survey for 2017.
P&C Insurance Actuary in the U.S.
Actuaries that work in property and casualty (P&C) insurance will deal with insurance that covers houses, vehicles, and other expensive belongings. This also includes actuaries that work in reinsurance, which can be thought of as insurance for insurance companies.
According to the survey, property and casualty insurance actuaries are able to achieve the highest starting salary of any of the other 4 main industries.
Actuaries in P&C with 2 exams can expect to make somewhere between $50K – $71K per year.
Health Insurance Actuary in the U.S.
Actuaries that work in health insurance work with employee benefits plans, including drug and dental plans, as well as disability insurance and critical illness insurance. They’d likely develop tons of knowledge about the Affordable Care Act.
Compared to the other industries, a health insurance actuary is about middle-of-the-pack in terms of starting salary with 2 exams. They’d expect to make somewhere between $54K and $66K annually.
Life Insurance Actuary in the U.S.
Life insurance actuaries deal primarily with life insurance (obviously), but may also get experience with annuities. Annuities are ongoing monthly or annual payments that an insurance company pays to a policyholder. Usually they’re used to replace income after retirement.
Similar to the salary for health actuaries, life insurance actuary salary is middle-of-the-pack too. Life insurance actuaries starting with 2 exams will likely make somewhere between $51K – $64K annually. That’s just slightly lower than a health actuary.
But, life actuary salaries tend to have lots of outliers that make more. So you may be one of those talented few!
Pension Actuary in the U.S.
A pension actuary primarily works with employer pension plans to ensure that they are compliant with laws, and to determine how much the employer needs to contribute to the plan.
The pension industry is getting smaller for actuaries, so it may not be an area that you want to get into unless it’s the only option. A job in pensions is better than no actuarial job at all, but plan to try to switch over within a year or two to one of the other industries.
On top of that, pension actuaries have the lowest range of starting salaries according to the survey. You could expect to start between $46K to $62K annually.
Actuaries in Canada
The survey doesn’t break down starting salaries by number of exams for Canadian actuaries. It does, however, provide average starting salaries (including bonus) by industry. Unfortunately, it doesn’t state whether these are in Canadian dollars or American. I would guess they’re Canadian.
P&C Insurance Actuary – $68K
Life Insurance Actuary – $75K
Pension Actuary – $40K
In general though, you can expect to make less in Canada than in the U.S. I’ve heard anywhere from 10%-20% less.
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