Marketing Actuaries

I found this article interesting. When I started working in the 1970’s it was common for Canadian insurance companies to have actuaries in marketing roles. My company had actuaries in every function: even the Executive VP of what was then called Personnel was an actuary. Actuaries started disappearing from these roles in subsequent decades.

Does your company have actuaries in marketing and other non-actuarial roles?

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A decent number of our product managers transitioned from actuarial roles.


It’s pretty common for actuaries to make logistic regression models to try to get people to buy more insurance through ads.


I’m not certain there are very many departments in my company where you wouldn’t find a credentialed actuary working.

I think there might even be a former actuarial student in the mail room…

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I was in a marketing data analytics role before I knew what an actuary was. I was pretty confident (and now know for sure) that the skills I was using were very similar to the work an actuary does.

Alas, HR forever more would consider that worthless time when considering years of experience.

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Dammit, Dan’s company’s HR!!! :angry:


Yep it used to be that product manager was a marketing role. Lots of actuaries that do that.

Nope, the only actuaries at my company are hidden in the dark recesses of the Actuarial Department. The only way out is through retirement.

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I know a former actuarial student who gave up exams after passing several prelims and then getting stuck and transitioned to marketing. Certainly possessed a well-above-average understanding of the numbers.

I frequently reviewed marketing materials in my old job for accuracy. It started out just blindly checking the math of a marketing analyst, but morphed into sitting down and brainstorming with them about “what is the point you’re trying to make and which numbers would best help illustrate it?”

For example, in analyzing where our sales reps are and are not doing a good job… it’s hardly helpful to point out that we have the most new policies in California. Duh… of course we do. It’s the most populous state by a substantial margin.

Seeing that we have X% of the market share in California and 2X% in our home state and 0.25X% in this other state is quite a lot more useful, and breaking it down by sales office is even more useful.

Or showing how much savings people need to make to retire, or how likely they are to need disability insurance and how much better our product is than relying on Social Security alone…

I’d help with stuff like that. I liked that part of my job.

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Just think what we could do in the accounting department

For context, a lot of accountants do not use excel and are baffled by it (at least in my experience).

I’ve noticed this as well. I’ve come to the conclusion (possibly based on really unrealistic assumptions) that actuaries could take over the Finance area, do all their work with half the personnel, and still have time to post on the GoA.


Did you get the SOA email w/ subject line: “Calling All Actuarial Students Interested in Modeling!”

[T-roy] Raises hand, I’m a se><y beast! [/T-]

I didn’t get the email. They must have dropped the old guys from the list thinking us septuagenarians couldn’t cut it any more as models. I would have been at the top of their list in my younger days though.

Fyi marketing and sales is not a social problem with a social solution. It’s an engineering problem with an engineering solution. Replace engineer with actuary and same result.

There are teachable, basic marketing and sales principles. Then you do multivariate testing to test your way to the top.

Break the process down into known steps (called the sales funnel). Use basic principles to define each step. Document, test, modify, repeat.

Actuaries can learn the basic principles easily. The testing and document knowledge is already there.

Problem is, the vast majority of people in marketing and sales don’t even know my first sentence above.

Case in point, I’m reviewing online insurance sales portals with life companies right now. Every single one is a failure. Had a marketing person take me through their portal, and I disagreed with the process they’re using. Told them to push people right through to a specific page. He asked me to clarify, so I step him through how to get to that page. Except…the website was broken, a consumer couldn’t even buy insurance because the site hard errorred out. Asked him how many sales they make, the answer (like always) was pretty much none. Yeah, because the site’s broken. How long has it been broken? Likely not recently. It’s such a failure they don’t even notice that the site’s broken.

Some years ago I had a site ranking in health insurance so I threw up an online sales portal. Started making sales. I didn’t focus on it, so it was maybe a half dozen sales a month. But, sales. Then I decided I didn’t like their policy, so I swapped fulfilment pages with another company (i.e. I changed backends, where the consumer actually applies). My sales immediately went to 0. Never made another sale. No change in my marketing, just the insurance portal. The new portal didn’t just ‘not make sales’, it actively discouraged them. Again, large lifeco. Not a clue.

Probably the worst I’ve seen was just blatant money wasting. I used to have a large network of financial websites that took advertising from banks, lifeco’s etc. A lifeco rolls out an ad campaign targetted at consumers, and contacts me to advertise. Sure. Except they send me their ad campaign targetted at agents - not consumers. The websites were all high performing consumer websites. I told them twice that they should be sending me consumer ads, I really wanted the ads to perform for them. Nope, got ignored. OK, well, the cheque still cashed just fine I guess. Though I’d have been happier to give them results and have ongoing advertising.