Three students in Grace College’s actuarial science major, Houston Haney, Philip Wertz, and Bret Wilhelmi, were recently recognized for successfully passing preliminary exams required by the Society of Actuaries and the Casualty Actuarial Society to become credentialed actuaries. Haney passed the first three exams, while Wilhelmi and Wertz successfully passed the first two.
“These exams are very rigorous as the pass rates even for candidates with strong mathematical ability are still only around 50-55 percent,” said Assistant Professor of Actuarial Science Christopher Moore, who has served as an actuary for 18 years. “To pass an actuarial exam is a significant achievement. To pass two or three while still in school is highly significant and gives students a real advantage when trying to land their first actuarial position,” he said.
Haney, of Shipshewana, Ind., double majored in actuarial science and mathematics and computing at Grace. He recently landed his first role in the field as an actuarial analyst at Brotherhood Mutual Insurance in Fort Wayne, Ind., after graduating in May.
Haney served as an actuarial intern at Cincinnati Insurance Company last summer and credits his early career success to his applied learning experiences and the thorough exam preparation he received through his classes.
“The actuarial program provided key coursework that built the mathematical foundation needed to pass exams. Dr. Ryan Johnson and Professor Moore went in-depth on each subject to ensure that we understood the material on a deeper level,” said Haney.
Wilhelmi, from Rockford, Ill., agrees.
“Dr. Johnson and Professor Moore are always so willing to be there to help us with any questions we might have while studying,” said Wilhelmi.
“The small class sizes and the low teacher-to-student ratio at Grace enable students to get help much more readily than they could in a much larger program,” added Moore.
Wilhelmi is a current senior working toward both an undergraduate actuary degree and a finance degree. He is simultaneously taking online courses to get an MBA at Grace. He will earn all three degrees in a total of four years through the school’s bachelor’s and master’s dual degree program.
This summer, Wilhelmi is interning with KeyBank to gain experience in the banking industry.
Wertz also has an exciting internship opportunity this summer. He is working remotely in the actuarial department with Pekin Insurance out of Pekin, Ill.. Wertz is a senior double major in actuarial science and mathematics from Goshen, Ind.
“I would highly recommend that anyone with a passion for math checks out an actuary degree. Too few people know about the career, and it’s a really great option for people with math-oriented brains,” said Wertz.
U.S. News reports that actuarial science jobs consistently rank among the top jobs in business for salary, growth opportunity and job satisfaction. While these benefits are attractive, Moore acknowledged that faith is the chief motivator in the actuarial science program at Grace.
“The actuary degree at Grace begins with an acknowledgment that our loving Creator has blessed many with an aptitude to acquire the knowledge and skills to make sound decisions in the face of uncertainty. In response, we encourage our students to work hard to make the most of those talents with which God has blessed us,” said Moore.