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What are SOA and CAS? What’s the main difference?

Updated: Mar 14, 2021

You might be wondering which actuarial route you should pursue — CAS or SOA? Keep reading to learn more about each route!

SOA and CAS are two different actuarial organizations that regulate actuaries. The Casualty and Property actuaries obtain their credentials through CAS, while other actuaries will follow the SOA track. The main differences are in the exams and the work sector. Both institutions fall under the CIA, the Canadian Institute of Actuaries, the national organization of the actuarial profession in Canada.

Work Sector

Casualty and Property actuaries work with all non-life insurance products, such as property insurance, car insurance and liability insurance. SOA covers life insurance, health and retirement benefits, and they recently expanded in other areas such as risk management.


Upon successfully completing the first 3 preliminary exams (Exam P, FM and IFM) which are common to both SOA and CAS, you will need to choose between the two organizations.


To obtain your designation as an Associate of the Society of Actuaries (ASA), you will need to complete:

  • An e-learning course

  • Proctored project assessment

  • Validation by Educational Experience (VEE)

  • Professionalism seminar

  • 4 Exams (STAM, LTAM, SRM and PA) in addition to the first 3 preliminary exams (Exam P, FM and IFM)

Once you obtain your ASA designation, you can specialize and become a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries.

SOA offers 6 different specializations:

  • Corporate Finance and ERM Track

  • Quantitative Finance and Investment Track

  • Individual Life and Annuities Track

  • Retirement Benefits Track

  • Group and Health Track

  • General Insurance Track



While there are many paths offered within the SOA, this is not the case for CAS, as it is only responsible for P&C actuaries, and therefore only offers one exam track. The examination requirements are very similar: online courses, VEE and four exams (MAS-I, MAS-II, 5 and 6). After obtention of the Associateship in the Casualty Actuarial Society, it is possible to pursue the FCAS designation to become a Fellow.


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