Friday, November 20, 2009

French to English: Actuarial Science, Part 1

Have you ever wondered how insurance and finance companies determine premiums, rates, risks and other factors that make you shell out more in premium payments each year?

I am intrigued by these tables that spew out statistics math (blog on actuarial science) on how age determines the premiums to be paid on say, a life insurance plan, taking into account the standard questions of "do you smoke" "what prescription drugs are you taking" or "any dangerous hobbies?"

When agents sell you insurance and are satisfied that you answered their questions honestly, they fish out a table that looks longer than your arm, and then voila - they've got the amount you have to pay each month!

Actuarial Science is a field of study that would fascinate someone who enjoys number-crunching.  It combines the disciplines of mathematics and statistics to evaluate risks in the insurance and finance business.

A report I read in the Wall Street Journal years ago said that if you were an actuary (a person who is trained in  actuarial science and practices it) and live in the US, you have the second best job in the country.  I wonder if that's still true today.  That observation must apply to Canada as well.

Actuarial Science can be studied in both the undergraduate and graduate level.  Graduates should not have problems finding jobs in this field.  The University of Waterloo (Ontario) enjoys the reputation of being the best actuarial school in North America and "even the world;"  at least this is what the University of Waterloo itself is saying, but it is a credible statement.  I mean, how many actuaries do you know?  You're bound to meet lawyers, accountants and doctors every week, but actuaries? 

As an actuarial science graduate, what kind of career can you get into?  If you're looking for a job in insurance and pension management companies, you can work as an actuarial analyst, a personal lines analyst, an operations actuarial associate or as a consultant.

Students studying actuarial science are strongly encouraged to include computer science courses in their academic program.  Those with above average statistical and numerical analysis abilities as well as communication skills usually land in top-paying actuarial jobs or are fast-tracked to promotion.

When I was at McGill University completing my Certificate in Translation, I got into the habit of scavenging for technical lexicons and databases in both French and English.  These lexicons are like diamonds in the rough to a translator.  When I stumbled upon a lexicon  of actuarial science terms, I was's a valuable lexicon that will stay in my safety vault for a long, long time!

I'll share 36 terms with you in my next 3 blogs.  Here's the first 12:



rapport sinistres/primes théorique calculated loss ratio
fixation des prestations/calcul des prestations calculation of benefits
Régime de pensions du Canada Canada Pension Plan
résiler, ristourner cancel a policy
police annulable cancellable policy
risque de capacité capacity risk
assurance de remboursement de capital capital redemption insurance
report des primes d'assurance carry-over of insurance rates
directeur du service des assurances accidents casualty manager
courtier diplômé chartered underwriter
indemnité journalière daily compensation
date de constitution su sinistre date of ascertainment of loss

For my next blog, what does it take to become an actuary and what associations can represent me as a professional actuary?

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