26Oct2011
Author
gmaki
Category
General

Profile of a health actuary: Kurt Wrobel

The Profile of an Actuary Series details the background, careers and inspirations of participants of the 2011 Society of Actuaries Annual Meeting, which was held October 16-19 in Chicago. If you would like to pose any questions for the participants after the meeting, leave a comment below.

What originally inspired you to study to become an actuary? 

After graduate school, I wanted to go into a profession where I could apply statistics to real-world business questions.  After doing some research, I thought that the actuarial field would be the best fit for this goal.

How would you describe the general skill set of an actuary?

Very broad and far beyond the typical technical skills that most people think.  We have to have very strong communication skills and manage people well.  I also think because our profession requires us to make future predictions we have to constantly manage our organizations’ expectations around these predictions.   In many respects, as I have progressed in my career, I have become much more philosophical and big-picture oriented in making predictions.

What industry do you call home and what is the role actuaries play in that industry?

Health care.  We play several different roles – pricing insurance products, estimating trends, developing reserve estimates, and several other nontraditional roles, including analyzing clinical programs and our competitive position on provider deals.

Could you describe a moment, after a project or deliverable, where you thought “this profession can do pretty amazing things?”

I am most impressed when actuaries use technical analysis to change a widely held opinion that had been based on some subjective judgment. Instead of just blindly accepting the subjective fact, I have consistently seen actuaries methodically answer a question that would have been answered incorrectly if the more subjective approach had been followed.

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Discussion

2 responses to "Profile of a health actuary: Kurt Wrobel"

  • Jason Burningham says:

    The answer given to the last question is one of the reasons I would like to be an actuary!

  • Holly says:

    NAIC adoption of ORSA Model Act will force most insurers to formalize their ERM process. This will impact US actuaries significantly. The companion work in the EU, Canada and elsewhere makes this material to all actuaries working in the reserving, ERM and financial reporting space.

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