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Explorers of the fourth dimension

The actuaries, at the heart of the insurance business

The actuarial job is extremely intellectual but it also powerfully intervenes on reality. It requires sparkling thinking, a high talent for mathematics and statistics and, surprisingly, a good visionary dimension. Starting from demographic, economic and financial variables, the actuary is indeed able to quantify the probabilistic factor and design the evolution of trends in the short, medium and long period. Despite its fundamental role in the risk management sector, there are less than 80 thousand actuaries in the world, 22 thousand of them in Europe. In the insurance sector, the actuary has the task of assessing risks, determining the policies premium and the solvability of the company and certifying the reserves. A further complexity contributing to the appeal of the actuarial profession is the application of analytical results to social and environmental contexts: to correlate data and numbers to the different events is surely fundamental to understand theoretical results. Furthermore, risk analysis represents the first step towards the recognition of models that minimize the probability and the potential impact of the most undesirable events, such as those caused by climate change, with applications also in behavioural economics. Recently, the big data revolution has given the actuarial profession new analytic tools and thanks to them the actuary is now able to assess risks and rates in a much more customized way, for example in the motor insurance sector. The reduction of complexity through the application of analytical categories and the disclosure of results achieved is never an easy process: this is explains why there is no unique course of study to become an actuary. In most cases, in addition to an excellent mathematic, statistic and financial education, practicing also requires a validation by a national authority. The actuary is one of the most wanted professionals in the US, with a close-to-zero unemployment rate and high-profile retributions.