• Stephen Woelfer, Class of 2005

    Stephen Woelfer, Alumni

    Education

    • BS in Mathematics
    • Minor in Business
    • Minor in Spanish
    • Honors Program

    Employer

    WellPoint Blue Cross Blue Shield, Connecticut

    What I Do

    Currently I am an actuary for WellPoint, Blue Cross Blue Shield in Connecticut. My title is actuarial student, and I have passed three of eight actuarial exams required to be at the top of my field. There are many different focuses an actuary could have; I work in large group medical insurance pricing. Some of my responsibilities include pricing special benefits and pricing a given product for a particular group based on their demographics and statistics.

    The Role of Mathematics

    Mathematics is behind some of the core reasons why insurance works. Many aspects of insurance involve using probability and statistics to predict the likelihood of claim sizes exceeding a given amount. As the number of insured individuals goes up, the likelihood of premiums being sufficient to cover all claims approaches a probability of 1, or 100% likely.

    Not only does the theory of insurance embody mathematics, but math is also used in case by case calculations. Mathematics is used to put a starting price on a given benefit design. This price is commonly referred to as a base rate. Then statistics and demographic studies are used together to adjust this base rate for each group to be insured. Furthermore, many groups request benefits that differ from those that go into the standard benefit design. Again, math is used to adjust the price to reflect the new benefit design.

    My Background

    As a student at Monmouth University, I was a mathematics major and minored in Spanish and business, all the while following the Honors School curriculum. My solid mathematical foundation combined with a business background helps me understand new concepts that are mathematically intense while, at the same time, grasp the economic theory at hand. This gives me an edge because it is easy for me to gain an understanding of the everyday situations with which an actuary is confronted.

    In pursuit of a Spanish minor, I studied in Madrid, Spain, for one summer. This helped me gain an understanding of a culture outside of the United States, which is beneficial because I work with people from cultures all over the world.