Actuaries” table – Definition & Meaning

Actuaries are professionals who use mathematical and statistical methods to assess and manage financial risks. They are responsible for analyzing and evaluating the financial consequences of uncertain events, such as accidents, natural disasters, and illnesses. Actuaries play a crucial role in the insurance industry, as well as in other fields that involve risk management.


According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, an actuary is “a person who calculates insurance and annuity premiums, reserves, and dividends.” The Oxford English Dictionary defines an actuary as “a person who calculates and assesses financial risks, especially in the insurance and pension fields.”


The word “actuary” comes from the Latin word “actuarius,” which means “keeper of accounts.” The profession of actuary dates back to the 17th century, when it was primarily focused on life insurance. Over time, the role of actuaries has expanded to include other areas of risk management, such as property and casualty insurance, health insurance, and pensions.

Meaning in different dictionaries

In addition to the definitions provided by Merriam-Webster and the Oxford English Dictionary, other dictionaries offer slightly different interpretations of the term “actuary.” For example, the Cambridge Dictionary defines an actuary as “someone who calculates risks and the likelihood of events, especially in the insurance industry.” The Collins English Dictionary describes an actuary as “a person who calculates risks and sets insurance premiums.”


Actuaries are typically members of professional organizations such as the Society of Actuaries, the Casualty Actuarial Society, and the American Academy of Actuaries. These organizations provide education, training, and certification programs for actuaries, as well as opportunities for networking and professional development.


Synonyms for the term “actuary” include risk analyst, financial analyst, underwriter, and insurance specialist.


There are no direct antonyms for the term “actuary,” but some related terms that could be considered opposites include risk taker, gambler, and speculator.

The same root words

The word “actuary” shares the same root word as “actuate,” which means to put into action or to cause to operate. This connection reflects the fact that actuaries use their calculations and assessments to guide decision-making and take action in the realm of risk management.

Example Sentences

  • The actuary calculated the premium for the insurance policy based on the likelihood of a claim being filed.
  • The company hired an actuary to evaluate the financial risks associated with a potential merger.
  • The actuary’s analysis revealed that the pension fund was underfunded and in need of additional contributions.
  • The actuary’s report helped the insurance company make informed decisions about which risks to underwrite and which to avoid.
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