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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ A developing issue for actuaries has been the question of the possible use of professional certification of reserves for general insurance.
▪ An actuary, assuming no casual connection, might calculate the odds against such a coincidence.
▪ As actuaries we are professionally trained to make forward projections so we should also look at the future for our own profession.
▪ Family Assurance Society may vary these charges if so advised by their actuary.
▪ He accepted the arguments of an independent actuary that policyholders' realistic expectation they should benefit from inherited estates was limited.
▪ Indeed investment management is an area where many actuaries play a very active role in insurance companies.
▪ Nowadays, actuaries are spearheading the revolution which is taking place in the pensions field.
▪ The statistical, financial and projection skills of actuaries are of particular relevance to this work.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Actuary \Ac"tu*a*ry\, n.; pl. Actuaries. [L. actuarius copyist, clerk, fr. actus, p. p. of agere to do, act.]

  1. (Law) A registrar or clerk; -- used originally in courts of civil law jurisdiction, but in Europe used for a clerk or registrar generally.

  2. The computing official of an insurance company; one whose profession it is to calculate for insurance companies the risks and premiums for life, fire, and other insurances.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

1550s, "registrar, clerk," from Latin actuarius "copyist, account-keeper," from actus "public business" (see act (n.)). Modern insurance office meaning first recorded 1849.


n. 1 (context dated 16th-19th century English) registrar, clerk. 2 A professional who calculates financial values associated with uncertain events subject to risk, such as insurance premiums or pension contributions.


n. someone versed in the collection and interpretation of numerical data (especially someone who uses statistics to calculate insurance premiums) [syn: statistician]


An actuary is a business professional who deals with the measurement and management of risk and uncertainty . The name of the corresponding profession is actuarial science. These risks can affect both sides of the balance sheet, and require asset management, liability management, and valuation skills . Actuaries provide assessments of financial security systems, with a focus on their complexity, their mathematics, and their mechanisms .

While the concept of insurance dates to antiquity (, , ), the mathematics and finance needed to scientifically measure and mitigate risks have their origins in the 17th century studies of probability and annuities . Actuaries of the 21st century require analytical skills, business knowledge, and an understanding of human behavior and information systems to design and manage programs that control risk . The actual steps needed to become an actuary are usually country-specific; however, almost all processes share a rigorous schooling or examination structure and take many years to complete (, ).

The profession has consistently ranked as one of the most desirable . In various studies, being an actuary was ranked number one or two multiple times since 2010 (, , ).

Usage examples of "actuary".

Administration hospital ward, bleak and white and deathly, badgered by psychiatrists and gerontologists, prodded and tested and questioned by nurses and internes and specialists, a spectacle for visiting officials, newspapermen, article writers, actuaries, lawyers, press agents, theatrical producers, sapped like an old tree torn up by the roots.

He looked like a timid actuary and he was one of the top forensic lab men in the country.

It's not studied much anymore, because most hyperships get where they're going, and the Empire's actuaries believe it's more trouble than it's worth to track lost ships, since they're so few.

This was, in part, because he strove for, and achieved, a certain degree of anonymity in the casinos, dressing and acting the part of an accountant or an actuary on vacation.

When this benighted hole finally introduces adequate sewerage in the poorer quarters, the number of laborers who'll die in the diggings can be predicted -- in round figures, to the nearest ten -- by any experienced actuary or civil engineer.

Names like Ovenstone, Cleugh, and Flockhart, and professions such as actuary, silk merchant, ironmonger.

OR a competent insurance actuary with staff would calculate the commitment and it would show in the National Public Debt.

He directed a staff of actuaries to supply him with approximate figures showing the percentage of under-consumption and its dollar value for the past year.