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Typical Day

Annie-the-Actuary awakens at 7:24 (she likes to set her alarm for unusual times so that all of the numbers in her clock get a fair shake), showers, dresses, breakfasts, and is out the door by 8:11. She gets into the office at 8:28, early enough to grab a coffee (regular, black) before starting her day. She works in an insurance office, and her first job is to look into the risk associated with a potential high-profile client. This potential client is loaded, so it would be a great account; unfortunately, this potential client is also very often loaded, making him a huge risk behind the wheel.

A-t-A goes over pages and pages of data, comparing this individual to others with similar tendencies, others in a common age bracket, others who have a history of prior offenses, etc. She uses all kinds of math and formulas she learned before taking her AP exams in Stats and Calc A/B, B/C. She fondly remembers the fine test prep work she received courtesy of her friends at Shmoop. She is responsible for bidding or quoting on the job itself—that is, she offers that, in return for the client paying an insurance premium, her company will financially guarantee stuff should things go awry.

Pricing that deal is hard and she is trying to figure out what premium amount might be offered that is enough to cover both the upside and downside cases in the grand scheme of all that can go wrong. She then begins making adjustments based on the risk factors involved—this element to be priced much higher because of the client’s six automobile accidents, this element to be priced much less because the client is a little older and (at least theoretically) starting to become more responsible, etc.

Just before lunch, she concludes her statistical research and reports back to the Chief Financial Officer of the insurance company. She details what an appropriate premium would be to include in the potential client’s proposal, and goes into a little depth on how she arrived at that amount. The CFO asks some questions, but more or less trusts A-t-A's assessment of the situation and her recommendation for the premium. After all, the company isn't paying her to sit and crunch numbers all day just so they can overrule her at the last second and go with their gut. If A-t-A could assign a number to the value of the company's gut, it would be a big, fat "0."

After lunch, A-t-A is given a new challenge. An existing client is planning to throw his daughter an elaborate bat mitzvah in four months' time. There will be circus clowns, ponies, magicians, and kittens. (The idea is to give her all the things she has liked as a little girl so she can have one last fling with fantasy before growing up and being forced to like adult things.) The insurance company is being asked to provide Special Event insurance for this bash, so A-t-A needs to take a number of things into consideration before determining what an appropriate premium would be.

First of all, the bat mitzvah is going to be outside in the client's massive back yard—what is the weather going to be like at that time of year? She goes through almanacs and looks at historical temperatures in that region, determining the likelihood it will rain, snow, or hail frogs. Are there any animals that are going to be at this freak show that could be dangerous? What happens if a guest is bitten or clawed by one of them—how much could that potentially cost the client or the company? What if one of the animals themselves is injured? And suppose one of the animals injures one of the magicians—will anyone care? There might be more than a few individuals in attendance who wouldn't mind seeing them disappear....

Once again, A-t-A reports her findings once all data has been collected and analyzed, this time to the Account Manager for the client in question. The Account Manager thanks her for her input, and begins putting together the policy. At 5:43, A-t-A grabs her things and is out the door in a hurry, as her husband had asked if she could make it home by 6 that evening. (Curse him and his even numbers.)