An Actuary for Mercer

LCM Helped Abbie Jakubovic Land Prestigious Job

February 11, 2018
LCM alumnus Abbie Jakubovic is an actuary at Mercer.
LCM alumnus Abbie Jakubovic is an actuary at Mercer.

“LCM prepared me for what I needed to know for the actuarial exams,” stated Jakubovic.

A native of Toronto, Jakubovic attended Darchei Torah for high school and then Derech HaTalmud in Israel. After Israel, Jakubovic studied in Ohr Hachaim in Queens and took classes at LCM.  

“The math department was great,” explained Jakubovic. “The classes were small, and I was able to get to know a lot of the professors,” he said.

He interned for Mercer in the summer before his graduation and after a referral by LCM’s Professor Moshe Snow, a former chief actuary at the firm, landed a full-time position after graduation.

What does an actuary do? Jakubovic explained the actuarial field thus: “There are many different types of actuaries. My focus for now is employer health benefits consulting. Our clients are employers who need to put together a health benefits package for their employees. You weigh the options: you want your cost to be as low as possible, but you also want a competitive benefits package to attract top talent. You’re worried about the constantly evolving healthcare system, you want to prevent premiums from increasing exponentially as well. And of course, everything must be compliant with government regulations. That’s where we come in: we analyze everything from historical claims, employee demographics and the impacts of changes to regulations to employer health plans. We come up with strategies to mitigate risk and reduce cost in line with the client’s objectives.”

What are some prerequisites to becoming an actuary? “You need to be good at math,” said Jakubovic. “That’s obvious. But more importantly, you need a good work ethic and be ready to put in lots of study hours. You have to be able to see the big picture when you’re looking at the problem and keep your finger on the pulse of every variable that could impact your decision.”  

Jakubovic’s commitment to his Jewish studies helped as well.

“Learning teaches you how to think,” explained Jakubovic. “If you can think and see the big picture than it puts you ahead of a lot of people. You’re basically trained to ask the right questions and that is a step in the right direction.”

Jakubovic admitted that one of his favorite classes at LCM had nothing to do with math.

“Speech with Professor Alan Rodin was very different and practical,” said Jakubovic. “Everyone in the class had to present speeches on what they were interested and what they thought others would be interested in. It was a big change from a math and finance course. It was a class where you could relax and work on a skill that was going to be helpful for the rest of your life. What good are numbers if you can’t communicate them?”