Actuaries Abroad: Living and Working in a Foreign Country

by Celeste Breman, Candidate Representative to the Candidate Liaison Committee

While most actuaries credentialed through the CAS are based in North America, there are a number of CAS members who live and work in other parts of the world. In fact, according to the CAS website, there are members in 42 countries across the globe. Some of these might be local actuaries while others have relocated from abroad for their work. While some might apply directly to a position in another country, there are a number of other ways for actuaries to gain international work experience. How do these actuaries find opportunities to work abroad, and what motivates them to do so?   

International rotation programs: A chance to learn from actuaries around the world
Many larger insurers and consulting firms have offices and actuaries in multiple countries. They can give their analysts the chance to work abroad through an international rotation program. Just as many insurance carriers offer interdepartmental rotations allowing analysts to rotate to different departments every few years; some multinational companies provide actuaries the opportunity to work abroad for a few years before returning to their home countries. These opportunities give actuaries the chance to learn from their peers in other countries, be it the home office in Europe or an emerging market in South America. Through such rotations, actuaries can venture abroad for a few years knowing that they will eventually return home to share their new knowledge and experiences.   

Shorter term secondments: Sharing best practices
Firms with international presences might also offer secondments — shorter term opportunities for their actuaries to gain international experience in a temporary assignment elsewhere. Secondments might range from a few weeks to a few months. Secondment not only allow actuaries to share what they know with their peers and provide guidance on a particular topic, but also offer a way to connect with colleagues in another office and see how company practices vary globally.   

Volunteering: Sharing actuarial knowledge in other countries
There are also a number of ways an actuary can volunteer abroad. Some international actuarial organizations, such as the International Actuarial Association’s Actuaries Without Borders, ask for volunteers for a variety of projects. Whether this is traveling to Kenya to lead a seminar on reserving techniques or tutoring students on Exam P topics in Armenia, there are many opportunities to share actuarial knowledge in other parts of the world.   

Why work abroad?
Working abroad affords actuaries a chance to learn from and share with their peers in other countries. Maybe this involves sharing best practices or learning how the insurance market operates in a different part of the world. It might mean learning a new language and adapting to a different office culture. Or perhaps it’s an opportunity to learn about insurance products not sold in your home country. Wherever the work might be, taking a job in a different country broadens your actuarial skillset and teaches you about another culture.