Janelle Lautzenheiser

What she does

  • Position: Associate Actuarial Technician
  • Company: Auto-Owners Insurance Company
  • Industry Sector: Insurance

Janelle works in the actuarial department that is responsible for determining rates for personal property insurance. As a technician, she is in charge of the rates for Homeowners, Mobile Homeowners, and Dwelling Fire insurance in four different states.

Math on the job

While many of the calculations that Janelle performs are automated, she uses the analytic thinking process and problem solving skills she developed while working through her math classes at Grand Valley State University. When it is time to review the rates in a particular line of insurance, she analyzes the profitability of different aspects of insurance coverage and creates a proposal for pricing changes. She then presents this proposal to several committees and eventually takes the proposal before the executives at Auto-Owners for approval or modification. Once a proposal is approved, she then helps implement the changes.

Background

Actuaries at Auto-Owners are required to have a Bachelors degree (usually in Mathematics or Actuarial Science). Passing the actuarial exams is not required, but it does help to have passed the first exam. After her sophomore year at Grand Valley, Janelle had an internship at Auto-Owners in one of the programming departments. She interned there again the following summer in one of the actuarial departments. At the end of that internship, Auto-Owners offered her a full time position with the company contingent upon finishing her last year of college, and she started working at Auto-Owners shortly after graduation.

Advice for students:

"Internships are a great way to get experience in different areas and to get a full time job after you graduate. I would recommend taking advantage of different internship opportunities that many companies offer so that you learn firsthand about a specific career."