(I am not sure if this is on topic here, if not then my apologies.)

I am asking this question on behalf of someone who is interested in being an actuary. When one applies for a graduate scheme, it asks you if you would to be in the pension or life insurance division.

I would like to know in what ways do the work they do differ? Do they need slightly different skill set? (if so, how does it differ?

BTW I am from the UK, country specific answer preferred, but I am not to bothered

  • 3
    You could google for that answer on your own. Or you could pop that question on your country's association of actuaries. Aug 17, 2014 at 21:53
  • @VietnhiPhuvanmail instead of telling me to use google, which I have in vain, give me a link from your google result? I have not found an article which answered my precise question.
    – Lost1
    Aug 17, 2014 at 22:22
  • This is based on a U.S. perspective. If you talk to anyone in this field, they will tell you that pensions is a horrible field to get into, mainly due to that the work itself is not actuarial (it is more accounting) and that once you're in pensions, you're stuck in pensions. See here for further discussion.
    – user26326
    Aug 19, 2014 at 17:10

1 Answer 1


Pension actuaries work to help pensions meet the requirements of their beneficiaries and the trustees for the pensions. As listed at the link, that includes evaluating funding and investments, accounting, managing risk, and individual benefits.

This will tend to be more complicated, and requires a substantial knowledge of the laws as well as some understanding of investments. (You're not a trader, but you need to understand how the various investment options work.)

Life insurance actuaries have a somewhat simpler job (although not necessarily easier). They are primarily concerned with pricing life insurance contracts and ensuring fund solvency, but can sometimes fall into other areas as well according to the link.

I would suggest that the pension actuary position is the more 'interesting' one typically, with a bit more varied work, but it also entails more difficult work to learn. Life insurance actuary is more purely mathematical.

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