Software programming in Life business

Hi All,

I started on the 1st of December as Life Actuarial Senior Consultant. My team is in charge of the certification of portfolio data such as reserves, benefit payments, etc.

For me, this is a step ahead towards the role of life pricing actuary in an insurance firm.

Now, They pull me in that project just because I am the newcomer. I am in charge to set up from zero a system in R (the statistical software) in order to automate controls of the portfolio (sort of SQL queries).

I think it is an activity for monkeys and should be delegated to an intern or junior consultant.

What would do you think about?

Maybe I don’t see things objectively?

Senior consultant could mean a lot of things. Just how experienced are you?

I am not in the life industry, but I’ve certainly seen plenty of experienced actuaries on the P&C side who work on programming projects. It all depends on the job description. I probably would not trust an intern to set up any kind of critical system unless they were particularly experienced in programming and also had a good understanding of the underlying insurance concepts going into the system - maybe they could help out, but I’d want an experienced person to be involved too.


I have 5 years of relevant experience. 1 year in the same role. I am among the most experienced people in the office.

This activity wasn’t in the job description nor was object of the interview.

There isn’t any critical issue in that project as my boss admitted after I scratched the surface and so there is no particular reason for which I am more involved than juniors.

So now it seems to me that I was picked (with another junior analyst) just because I am not involved in any other project with clients and because more experienced colleagues don’t want to waste their time and effort on that.

I mean… this doesn’t seem all that unusual. Most of us do work that isn’t interesting or is grunt work for at least a portion of our jobs. It sounds like you are an individual contributor, not managing a large team or something, and sometimes you’ll get work you don’t enjoy (even very senior managers spend time doing boring tasks plenty of the time - often administrative stuff). Your description of the assignment doesn’t sound that out of line. You might just be the only person who had capacity to take on this work, since other people already had other things they were working on. If there are lots of more junior staff sitting around with free time on their hands, I suppose you can ask your manager if there are any plans for those people to help out in the future or if you will be the project owner until completion. There is probably a reason they didn’t staff the project with more junior staff. Either they didn’t trust the junior staff to do it right, or those junior staff don’t have capacity right now.

It is a shame that the job responsibilities are different than what you’d thought they’d be based on your interview. That’s the bigger problem, more than this work being “too junior for you.” I’d stick it out and ask your manager what the timeline is for you to get more involved in the types of projects you thought you’d be working on. If you’re still frustrated with the job responsibilities a year from now, I guess you can always quit.

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This is a good take IMO:

If all the other people of your level are engaged in current client projects and there’s a need to get this done, there could be some sound logic in tapping you. Pulling someone else of your level out of the middle of client work and putting you in to that project would seem a bit counterproductive.

If you are a senior consultant at 5 years, I’m assuming you might hope to be a manager as your next step. If they’ve assigned you a junior analyst to help you on this project, any chance they are looking at how you handle this project in terms of future growth?


Honestly, I knew about my “senior” level after being assumed. Otoh, they clearly excluded my involvement in programming activities…

I had a call with my boss on Friday where he revealed I will “see” many projects in the immediate future before taking the responsibility of 1 of them within 3 months or so.

He changed his words in 7 days. mmm… :kissing_smiling_eyes:

I expect to conclude this internal programming project by January. Let’s see what comes next… Wait and see

I’m kind of surprised this comes as a surprise to you since you had the opportunity to ask about it in the interview…unless it wasn’t.

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But anyway just by mentioning whatever tools you use doesn’t really mean anything. Just because you use Excel (or insert tool X) for example doesn’t mean it’s too junior. Everyone from the CEO to interns uses Excel so that’s not the important part.


Hi Colonel,
Thank you. Which stat/actuarial software do you use more?

I just qualified as fully qualified actuary!!!

It seems that you are exaggerating too much; this is a normal activity, even for an experienced employee, if there is a need for it. The meaning of the work of a successful company is that each employee undertakes the work that needs to be done and is not afraid that it is too “simple” for him. Even in my company, everyone goes through the same training and reads the same articles like best practices for speed response management so that all company employees develop and improve in their business.