Navigating COVID-19 as an Actuarial College Student
Michael Mosley

Navigating COVID-19 as an Actuarial College Student

Michael Mosley June 30, 2020 Posted in: Blog Posts, General

I will be a senior at Indiana University (IU) next year. I am double majoring in accounting and finance, with minors in economics and mathematics. I will also serve as the vice president of IU’s Actuarial Club next year, and I currently serve on the Kelley School of Business Equity and Inclusion Committee. The COVID-19 pandemic had a substantial impact on my summer plans, as I am sure it did for every single person around the world. What stood out about the entire situation was how quickly everything moved. There was seemingly new information every single day, and the majority of it wasn’t good. Everyone at IU went on spring break, and two days later we were notified that classes for the remainder of the semester would be conducted online. 

The pandemic served as an added obstacle to passing the Society of Actuaries’ (SOA’s) Exam FM in April 2020. After the semester was suspended, I prepared as if the test was going to happen, but a week later Prometric (technology-based testing site) closed all of its centers for a month and a half. The next sitting would be in June, and it was pretty discouraging since I was planning to sit for the July Exam IFM sitting before my senior year started. However, I completely understood the reasoning behind Prometric’s decision at the time.

After I found out I wouldn’t be testing until June, I naturally let up on my studying and focused more on my college classes. At the end of April, however, the SOA announced that it would allow a special Exam FM sitting at the end of May. I thought this would be a lot better than testing in June, and I think it showed that the SOA were extremely conscientious of the importance of these exams to test takers. I ended up taking and passing the test at the end of May in Indianapolis.

Two of the main impacts that COVID-19 had on my preparation for the exam were studying and location. I normally like to switch my study spots because studying in the same place all the time can get repetitive and depressing. I was limited to studying in my room, the dining room table, or on the patio. This was a difficult adjustment to make. Location was also an important factor because I was in Bloomington, Illinois, at the time I registered for the exam. The closest testing center that was available was in Indianapolis; a couple of days before my test I drove back to my apartment in Bloomington, Indiana. This turned out to be pretty convenient, as I only had to drive an hour on the morning of the exam. I have heard different stories about test takers having to drive over 6 hours on the day of the exam! 

Despite the inconveniences, I feel like it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. I am currently scheduled to sit for Exam IFM on July 21, so I am in the process of frantically studying a month before the test date. Places in Illinois are slowly starting to open back up with mask requirements and social distancing guidelines still in place. I will be on the lookout for some discrete places where I can study that don’t have a lot of customers. Any suggestions are welcome!

One positive that came out of COVID-19 was that I was able to return to Pinnacle for a short stint! I really enjoyed my internship last year, and I’m glad to have the opportunity to learn a variety of different skills. I have been able to work on some industry benchmarking projects involving loss adjustment expense ratios, homeowner’s loss development patterns, and loss ratios using insurance company financial data. I have also been able to assist some of our senior actuarial analysts on their client projects such as group captive funding studies and loss reserve analyses. At first it was pretty overwhelming seeing how much I still had to learn, but I am slowly starting to see how everything ties in together. COVID-19 definitely had a profound impact on my day-to-day life, and I am slowly beginning to adjust to what will be the new normal for the foreseeable future. 

Michael Mosley is an actuarial intern with Pinnacle Actuarial Resources in the Bloomington, Illinois office. He plans to graduate in 2021 from Indiana University with a finance and accounting degree. He serves as vice president of IU’s Actuarial Club and has passed Exam Probability and Exam Financial Mathematics in the Society of Actuaries (SOA)/Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) examination process. 

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