An actuary is a person who assesses financial risk and uncertainty for others. The individual typically focuses on such matters as the correct premium to charge a client and how to mitigate the risk associated with a prospective or current financial investment. In the insurance industry, actuaries analyze such matters as the mortality rates of clients and the size of the premium reductions that may be offered to clients if they quit smoking.
Actuaries are professionally certified. Insurance companies employ a large number of actuaries, though actuaries can also work as consultants, providing advice on a project-by-project basis.