Becoming an actuary
- What does it take to become an actuary?
- Actuaries go through a rigorous credentialing process. This is most often done in the United States through one of two actuarial societies: the Society of Actuaries (SOA) or the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS). Both credentialing processes involve successful completion of a number of exams intended to develop and assess a candidate’s actuarial skills. This ensures that those who ultimately become members of the societies through this process will meet the requirements and high standards expected of actuaries in the field.
- On-the-job training and development of other skills, such as leadership and communication, are also important.
- I’m not an Actuarial Science major in college. Can I still be an actuary?
Yes. While there are a number of colleges and universities that offer specific actuarial science programs, many do not. Individuals with a strong background in areas including math, statistics, economics, and finance, among others, can successfully pursue the career.
- Why should I become an actuary?
- Common reasons for becoming an actuary include having the ability to use math and problem solving skills in a business setting, seeking the challenge and continual growth and learning of the career, having a desire to take advantage of the advancement opportunities available, and attractive monetary compensation potential.
- The actuarial career consistently ranks as one of the best jobs in various studies, offering reasonable work hours and high compensation.
- How can I learn more about becoming an actuary in general?
- In general, actuaries analyze risk in order to manage – and optimize – this uncertainty. The following websites are helpful and general resources about the actuarial career:
- What is the AEDP?
The Actuarial Executive Development Program (AEDP), Cigna's Leadership Development Program, is designed to develop early-career actuaries into Cigna business leaders. We hire talented individuals with varied experiences, provide resources to support rapid pursuit of their Fellowship of the Society of Actuaries (FSA) designation, and develop them through diverse job rotations, training events, and other real-world growth opportunities. The AEDP also offers a proven summer internship program designed to identify future full-time actuarial employees.
- How many people are in the program? How many actuaries does Cigna have?
There are more than 80 program members as well as more than 100 other credentialed actuaries and program graduates across Cigna.
- How many actuaries does Cigna typically hire in the United States each year?
We hire more than 20 full-time actuaries and 30 interns annually across all U.S. locations.
- Where will I be working if I apply to the AEDP?
Our largest actuarial locations are Bloomfield, CT and Philadelphia, PA. Cigna also has actuaries in the following U.S. locations: Denver, CO; Austin, TX; Nashville, TN. If you are selected to go through the interview process, you will have an opportunity to discuss location in more detail.
- If I join the AEDP, what parts of the business would I contribute to?
Cigna primarily focuses on health care, including individual, commercial employer-sponsored, global employer, and senior benefits. We also offer related benefits, such as group life, disability, and accident insurance. AEDP interns, members, and graduates support all of these businesses. As part of the rotational culture at Cigna, you will have opportunities to gain diverse experiences, including roles across different functions (e.g., pricing, reserving and risk management) as well as different areas of the business.
- What makes the AEDP different from any other rotational actuarial program?
We view our actuaries as more than technical resources at Cigna. We call it the Actuarial Executive Development Program because we believe actuaries are our present and future business leaders. We focus on developing core skills that are flexible in any leadership role so our actuarial talent can effectively assume these roles. The program has a long track record of success: former program graduates have gone on to become financial and business leaders, general managers, Chief Financial Officers, and even Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) at Cigna.
Cigna's rotational culture continues beyond attaining your FSA designation. We recognize that broad and diverse experiences are critical in developing the competencies required to succeed in leadership roles. Graduates of the AEDP can continue to rotate as they pursue their long-term career goals.
The program is led and managed by an FSA working in human resources with a unique understanding of actuarial career development. Even after graduating from the program, Cigna actuaries tend to challenge themselves to move around in the organization and continue to pursue new and different roles.
- Tell me about the rotations, such as how long are AEDP rotations? What are they like?
Full-time AEDP employees move through personalized rotations across different areas of the organization every 18 to 30 months, reflecting the individual’s development goals and career aspirations. The full-time rotational program is designed and proven to develop actuaries into business leaders, such as operational and financial leaders, and actuarial specialists.
Rotational experiences may be in traditional actuarial areas such as pricing and reserving, as well as less traditional areas such as medical economics, investment management, operations, underwriting and internal audit. Members will take on tasks and projects that allow them to make meaningful contributions to the success of the organization. The varied rotations will provide exposure and communication with many different audiences such as customers, employers, sales, and brokers..
AEDP interns do not rotate throughout the course of the summer. However, interns will learn about the business challenges actuaries focus on throughout the company through speaker series, interactive case studies, and networking opportunities.
- Are there international opportunities within the AEDP?
Yes. As Cigna continues to expand its global businesses, there is an increased need to develop actuaries for leadership positions outside of the United States. Today we have Cigna actuaries in mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Turkey, Thailand, New Zealand, and Indonesia. Some of our actuarial leaders across these locations are graduates of the AEDP.
- Does the AEDP organize any community activities?
The AEDP is a very active community! Although events vary across the locations, we typically organize and facilitate social events, community service, personal and professional development opportunities, career coaching, and mentoring.
- I see that Cigna has other leadership programs. How does the AEDP interact with these programs?
The AEDP participates in the “Cross Program Summit,” which is a multi-day off-site event aimed at learning about the broader business, interacting with senior leadership across the organization, including Cigna's CEO, and networking with current and future leaders across the company. Town hall discussions, presentations, team activities, small group dialogues, and social dinners and happy hours all take place during this event to get to know these individuals across the organization.
In addition to the Summit, Cigna's Leadership Development Programs will coordinate other professional and social events throughout the year.
Applying and Interviewing for the AEDP
- How do I apply to Cigna's Actuarial Executive Development Program (AEDP)?
Please search and apply to:
- When should I apply?
We recommend applying early in the fall semester if you are interested in applying for our summer internship. Most positions will likely be filled at least three months prior to the start of the internship in late May.
If you are interested in working in the AEDP full time, there is no specific timeline for hiring. The fall is the most common time to apply and interview, particularly for college seniors or students completing a graduate program. However, candidates may apply for full-time positions at any time of the year.
- Does Cigna hire experienced actuaries into the AEDP?
Cigna does consider experienced candidates for actuarial positions. Early-career actuaries still pursuing their FSA are welcome to apply to our full-time actuarial job posting referenced to in a previous FAQ.
Additional positions outside of the AEDP rotational program for more experienced or credentialed actuaries may also be available. Please visit the Job Search page to search for these opportunities under the United States jobs, then under the Job Function/Family dropdown, select “Finance” then “Finance—Actuarial.”
- What qualities do you look for in AEDP applicants?
We look for employees who desire to be great, with demonstrated business knowledge and a desire to attain their FSA designation rapidly, and are inspired to become a Cigna leader. In addition to strong analytical and technical skills, we look for individuals who show self-motivation, intellectual curiosity, ambition, and creativity. Effective interpersonal skills, both verbal and written, and leadership skills are also essential for individuals looking to play a dynamic role in a grown company with passion and drive.
- Is there an ideal number of exams to have passed coming out of college? Is it required for a new AEDP member to have passed a certain number of exams before being hired?
No exams are required for full-time and internship positions, however at least one exam is preferred, particularly for full-time applicants.
- What can I expect during the AEDP interview process? What is it like?
Selected applicants will start the interview process with a Cigna actuary. The interview may be in person on campus, by video, or telephone. The last round of the interview process is in one of our primary actuarial locations, where you have an opportunity to meet with several actuaries, including the program director. A current AEDP member will support you throughout the experience and be your mentor. The home office interview is also a great opportunity to experience the Cigna culture and help you determine if Cigna and the AEDP are a good fit for you. If a home office interview cannot be scheduled at a convenient time, a video interview may be scheduled.
- How can I prepare for a Cigna AEDP interview?
We recommend being prepared to discuss your personal experiences that reinforce the qualities we seek from AEDP applicants, in addition to expanding your knowledge of Cigna and our industry.
- Does the AEDP hire international students?
Yes, we hire international students and sponsor a variety of work visas.
AEDP Internship Basics
- How do I apply to Cigna's Actuarial Executive Development Program (AEDP)?
Please check back in the summer for the 2018 summer internship job posting.
- What are the basic logistics of the AEDP internship?
The summer internship is about 11 weeks long, typically from the end of May until early August. We usually hire more than 30 interns across all U.S. locations.
- Why should I apply to the AEDP internship?
The AEDP internship is designed to identify future full-time employees. Most actuaries hired into the AEDP full-time are former interns.
Interns are assigned real projects that contribute to the business. They also participate in interactive case studies and speaker series events from across the company for a well-rounded learning opportunity.
In addition to competitive compensation, interns are provided with fully furnished housing at no additional expense.
For many, it offers a first exposure to a professional environment to learn some of the skills needed to hit the ground running in this setting after college.
The internship program is a great opportunity to test drive the actuarial career and Cigna as a potential employer after graduation. It’s also an opportunity for a fun and memorable summer experience!
- Can you tell me more about the intern projects?
Interns will have ownership of a project that deals with actuarially-related concepts and is critical to the business they are supporting. You will own all aspects of this project, including data and analysis, and the development and communication of your recommendations. Interns will have the opportunity to present their findings and conclusions at the end of the summer to the actuarial community. The project is real work that is important to Cigna's business, and would be completed by another early career actuary if it were not assigned to you.
- Can you tell me more about the intern case studies and speakers?
Interns are exposed to other areas of Cigna's business outside of their team through a variety of interactive case studies and speaker series events. Case studies are an opportunity for our interns to get exposure to business and actuarial challenges that our actuaries focus on throughout the company. The speaker series will give you the chance to meet with senior leaders and learn about their career paths and current teams.
- Can you tell me more about the intern social events?
It is important for interns to not only learn and develop professionally but also to have a fun summer! The Intern Committee organizes social events through the summer and interns are strongly encouraged to attend. The AEDP is a large, welcoming group and the social events give interns exposure to our friendly actuarial community. Examples of events include sporting events, dinners, mini golf, bowling, hiking, beach trips, community service, and more.
Exams, Education, Benefits
- As a member of the AEDP, how quickly can I expect to progress through actuarial exams?
The AEDP has a fantastic track record for actuarial exam success. We have a 65 percent long-term pass rate, which is well above long-term SOA average. For a Cigna AEDP member, the average time to FSA is about three to five years, which is about two to four years faster than someone with exam results in line with the SOA average.
- If I join the AEDP, how often will I be expected to take actuarial exams?
As demonstrated by our long-term exam successes, the AEDP has high expectations for exam progress. AEDP members are expected to take two exams per year while meeting minimum exam results requirements.
- What kind of study support is offered for AEDP members?
The AEDP offers paid study time, study materials and seminars, and SOA exam fees. Study hours are a priority for the program, and our leaders promote a supportive exam culture. With so many actuaries in the AEDP, it is easy to find someone else studying for the same exam or a recent passing student to help you prepare for your exam!
- Do you offer raises or bonuses?
For full-time employees, we offer a competitive compensation and benefits package, including opportunity for meaningful salary increases as you progress through actuarial exams, and performance-based salary increases and bonuses.
Compensation for summer interns also reflects individual exam progress.
- What kind of training should I expect to receive in the AEDP?
As a development program, training opportunities include everything from core technical skills to broader leadership skills. Examples of recent sessions include Microsoft Excel and Access training, presentation skills, communication, leadership, and networking. There are also many opportunities for networking across the organization.
We also offer more informal brown bag and town hall discussions to give a broader view of the company outside an individual’s core business area.
- Who can I contact for additional information?
If you’re interested in learning more or have specific questions, please contact us for more information.
Cigna & the AEDP
- Why should I join Cigna?
Cigna, a growing company with passion and drive, is a global health services leader dedicated to helping the people we serve improve their health, well-being and sense of security. We realize that customers and employees are unique individuals, and we make it a priority every day to understand our customers as individuals to help them achieve what matters most to them.
Cigna has sales capability in 30 jurisdictions worldwide, with a broad product portfolio covering health care, life, accident and disability, and supplemental coverage in many markets. The AEDP has even developed opportunities for assignments abroad that can give you a chance to travel early in your career.
We make an effort every day to make experiences easy and reliable for our customers – and as a member of Cigna's global team you can be a part of that.
- What’s so exciting about health care?
In the United States and around the world, the health care industry is changing rapidly.
New technologies, treatments, wearable devices and mobile apps are developing every day that change how people understand and engage in their personal health journey to achieve their health goals.
Health care reform has created a dynamic environment in the United States that will require innovative ideas to provide easy, affordable, personalized solutions to our customers.
As an actuary, you will be given opportunities to be at the forefront of developing and implementing future strategies to drive better health outcomes and a sense of security for the people we serve.
- Why is Cigna different? What makes it a health services company?
Cigna recognizes that our responsibility to our customers far exceeds paying claims when illness occurs. We are focused on wellness, not just illness. Meaning that while we are there for our customers when they are sick – helping them get better, get back to work, and back to their lives – we are passionate about being there for the long haul: improving health, reducing individual risks, and really understanding the problems our customers are facing that stand in the way of achieving their health goals.
- How does Cigna value diversity?
To be a truly global health services company, it is integral for Cigna to represent, appreciate, and respect different cultures, beliefs, and values. Cigna takes a proactive approach to ensure that different ways of thinking, diverse communication styles, and diverse experiences are included in the environment to create a healthy workspace. With that in mind, Cigna has created several Colleague Resource Groups (CRGs): employee-led, company-sponsored teams that provide professional development opportunities while providing a range of activities with an expanded network of your peers. CRGs can benefit you by giving you exposure to senior leadership, allowing you to engage with external organizations, and providing the chance to help develop new products focused on the individuals represented by these constituencies. AEDP members are welcome and encouraged to participate in CRGs. For more information, please visit: Cigna Connects.
- How does the AEDP foster diversity within the program?
The AEDP has several initiatives to encourage greater diversity and promote a culture of inclusion:
- The AEDP has a healthy mix of program members and graduates from different educational, functional, and geographic backgrounds. We actively recruit candidates from schools across and outside the United States. In addition, we encourage candidates from all schools, regardless of geography or presence of an actuarial program at their school, to submit their resumes for consideration if they are interested in actuarial opportunities.
- Cigna is a proud sponsor of the annual meeting of the International Association of Black Actuaries (IABA). We continue to support IABA’s mission by partnering with them to host annual Professional Development seminars. Members of the AEDP also have the opportunity to volunteer with the IABA and mentor interested students.
- The AEDP provides opportunities for structured learning through Cigna University, an in-house training and education program that provides on-site development events as well as online intranet courses. This includes individual and team-based courses that focus on best practices for leveraging diversity, respecting differences in the work place, and embracing varied perspectives to build effective teams.
- Some AEDP members have had opportunities to work outside of the United States, allowing individuals to immerse themselves in foreign cultures.
Find out more about why Cigna AEDP could be right for you.
of AEDP Roles
Through diverse roles in your rotation you can develop key skills and drive tangible results.
Find out more about what type of roles we typically offer.