When you are considering hiring an actuary there are a few factors to think about before you do so. This article is going to point out to you what these factors are to make sure that, you are choosing an actuary that is going to provide you with the most value for you and your business.

What kind of services do you need from your actuary?

Actuary practices generally specialise around predicting future outcomes and then translating that into financial specifications that you can understand clearly, and as a result they can help firms plan for future financial costings and plans.

However, there are many firms that specialise in different areas and this is therefore your first point of call - to know exactly what you are needing and identifying where to get it.

Do you need to get in contact with a consultancy to offer you advice on a partifuclar mergers or how much it could cost to finance a particular business project? You might need actuaries to help assess potential future business investments, and what ways can they cut the risk?

As you can see there are many avenues that actuaries can help you with so it is best to get into contact with some actuarial consulting firms, explain to them what you need and they can then identity what specific problem you have and what section it relates to in the actuarial profession. 

What is the reputation and feedback of the Actuarial firm?

An important point is actually how good are they at what they do? It would be a good idea to ask them about previous projects they have undergone and what companies they have worked with. See if you can then get in touch with these same companies ask them for honest feedback on the relationship they have had working with them. Again, it is not a bad idea just to try to find reviews and find out opinions of what are the good acturial consultancy companies and which  are the bad ones to give you some indication of who are the most reputable actuarial consultant firms and who are the least. 

It is important to both get first hand impressions as well as secondary impressions don't just rely on one or the other.

The size of the actuarial consultancy firm?

Be sure to ask yourself if the actual size of the actuarial firm is important to you, where with the smaller firms they might dedicate all their priorities on you giving the impression of a more one-to-one feel, however may not offer you as much specialization and detail as the larger firms can. Perhaps you may also feel more at ease with a large company that will have specialised teams dedicated to your particular issue, but you might not be quite paying for what you are think you are paying for, by perhaps getting junior and non-experienced members to carry out a large amount of your project. 

Do they understand your needs and your 'big picture'?

This may go hand in hand with the question above, but it is important for you to feel that the actuarial company you are working with gets you and your company and what it is about you are exactly trying to achieve, that you aren't just a number to them. You might feel that it is important to also, get a relationship that you feel works and that you actually get on with the individuals who are working for you and that when you get in touch with them it is a regular face who will be there to tell you exactly what you need to know. Also are they convincing in their means to deal with the complexity of the project, have they had experience before in doing something similar to what you are asking of them this time, ask for proof?

How much is it going to cost you to hire them?

Obviously another important factor is actually how much will it cost you, when compared with other consultancy firms and actuaries. Not just in terms of their upfront fees either but also other secondary costs.

Again, you can try to get pointed in a good direction by carrying out research not just to who is necessarily the cheapest, but which company offers you the best value for the service that they are offering you. As indicated above an actuary is there to effectively save you and make you money therefore, paying that bit more for the better service could potentially mean you are going to be saving or making more than you would by hiring the cheaper service.

It is best to approach the hiring process of an actuary as an investment more than anything - how much can you save or make by hiring this particular actuarial consultancy firm? How much value are they bringing to the table?

Where is your/are your actuary/actuaries going to be located?

This is an important point to consider as although you can get in touch with them regularly through the means of the internet and telecommunications, there will be occasions where you want to meet up face-to-face over particular issues. Therefore it is obviously beneficial for them to be in close proximity to you and your business, unless they state that they are willing to travel from afar to your meetings etc.