4 minute read 6 Mar 2024
Fingers touching AI screen.

7 questions for actuaries in an AI-enhanced world

By Florian Liebe

Partner, Business Consulting | EY Switzerland

Experienced actuary with a demonstrated history of working in the global insurance industry.

4 minute read 6 Mar 2024

AI will reshape the actuarial profession, boosting capabilities and broadening activity scope.

In brief

  • Like other industries, the insurance sector is set to be revolutionized by AI.
  • AI, combined with human qualities, will offer powerful new capabilities in the actuarial world.
  • While expertise in certain core areas will remain vital, actuaries of the future will also need a range of technical skills and personality traits.

Actuarial science, the backbone of insurance and financial risk assessment, has stood the test of time by continuously adapting to new technologies and methodologies. The incorporation of artificial intelligence (AI) – including machine learning and data analytics – into actuarial practices marks a significant leap forward, promising to revolutionize how actuaries predict risks, model scenarios and devise insurance policies.

However, the rise of advanced AI also introduces new challenges and uncertainties. The same tools that empower actuaries to refine their predictions can also obscure the transparency of risk models, leading to complexities in understanding and managing the models’ outputs. Moreover, the increasing sophistication of AI could potentially disrupt traditional actuarial roles, necessitating a reevaluation of the skills and knowledge required in the field. As the actuarial profession navigates this transformative era, it is crucial for its practitioners to remain vigilant and adaptable to the evolving landscape. That way, they can ensure that AI serves as a complement to, rather than a replacement for, the nuanced judgment and expertise that have long defined actuarial science.
In this article, we explore seven questions for actuaries operating in an increasingly AI-enhanced world.

1. Which aspects of the traditional actuarial function will be most impacted as AI evolves?

Actuaries can expect a profound shift, requiring them to redefine the profession. Multiple aspects will be affected, including capabilities, activities, services and interaction with others.
Actuaries in the future will need to have enhanced analytical capabilities. AI will help actuaries process and analyze vast datasets more efficiently than before, providing users with deeper insights and the ability to tackle more complex problems. AI will also enable increased automation of the numerous manual and repetitive tasks that actuaries currently still perform every day.

2. How can actuaries remain relevant in an AI world?

Actuaries will need to adapt and integrate new skills into their repertoire. This includes understanding and leveraging AI and machine learning technologies to enhance their analytical capabilities. Developing skills in programming, data science, and AI ethics can also be crucial. Furthermore, focusing on areas where human judgment and contextual understanding are paramount – such as strategic decision-making, ethical considerations, and personalized customer service – can ensure actuaries continue to add significant value beyond what AI can provide.

3. Will this impact new profiles and recruiting in insurance companies?

The integration of AI in insurance companies will lead to a shift in the profiles and skills sought after in new recruits. There will be growing demand for candidates with a blend of traditional actuarial skills and expertise in data analytics/AI. Soft skills will also becoming increasingly important as companies may look for individuals who are adaptable, continuous learners and capable of working effectively at the intersection of technology and business. This evolution will likely lead to more interdisciplinary teams combining actuarial science with data science and computer programming roles.

4. If AI knows all the actuarial techniques and calculation methods, do actuaries still need to study mathematics and statistics?

Yes, proficiency in mathematics and statistics remains essential. Understanding the underlying principles of these disciplines is crucial for designing, interpreting, and validating AI models and algorithms. Actuaries need these skills to ensure models are accurate, reliable, and ethical. Moreover, a strong foundation in mathematics and statistics allows actuaries to critically assess AI outputs and make informed decisions, ensuring that human insight and ethical considerations guide the use of technology.

5. Which skills will become critical for successful actuaries using AI?

Beyond traditional actuarial skills, successful actuaries using AI will need to be proficient in programming languages such as Python or R, have a solid understanding of machine learning algorithms, and be skilled in data manipulation and analysis. Critical thinking and problem-solving skills will be more necessary to navigate the complex scenarios presented by AI. Additionally, communication, ethical judgment and adaptability will be key qualities, as actuaries will need to explain AI-driven insights to non-technical stakeholders and ensure ethical use of AI.

6. What are the main risks for the actuarial professional in the context of emerging AI?

Besides the advantages and opportunities of AI, there are also some risks, including:

  • Job displacement: automation of routine tasks and decision-making processes could lead to a reduction in demand for traditional actuarial roles.
  • Ethical and bias risks: the use of AI could introduce or exacerbate biases in decision-making, raising ethical concerns and potentially harming consumers.
  • Skill obsolescence: rapid advancements in AI may render some actuarial skills obsolete, requiring professionals to continuously update their knowledge and skills.

As in other industries, the insurance sector will need to carefully analyze, monitor and mitigate risks associated with increased AI use.

The key to mastering AI lies in enhancing your human skills—creativity, ethical judgment, and empathy—making you indispensable in this exciting journey.
Florian Liebe
Partner, Business Consulting | EY Switzerland

7. What advice should young actuaries heed to best embrace the AI revolution?

Dive into AI with curiosity and an open mind; it’s your most potent tool in reshaping the future of insurance. Embrace continuous learning as AI evolves, blending your actuarial expertise with new technologies to innovate responsibly. Surprisingly, the key to mastering AI lies in enhancing your human skills – creativity, ethical judgment and empathy – making you indispensable on this exciting journey. At the same time, use a decent amount of skepticism in challenging and validating the outputs of AI. Finally always remember that AI for is just a fabulous tool, that cannot substitute one’s critical thinking.


AI is set to enhance actuaries’ capabilities, allowing them to analyze large amounts of data efficiently, automate tasks, and play a larger role in strategic decisions. Actuaries must adapt by acquiring skills in AI, programming, and data science while focusing on strategic decision-making and ethical considerations. They will also need to develop soft skills and remain adaptable to navigate complexities and ethical challenges that will arise as AI evolves.


We kindly thank Jonathan Victoire for his valuable contribution to this article.

About this article

By Florian Liebe

Partner, Business Consulting | EY Switzerland

Experienced actuary with a demonstrated history of working in the global insurance industry.