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A rate analyst studies and evaluates existing rates in any number of industries. Based on her conclusions, she will propose changes or suggest restructuring the way they are calculated or charged. The position often exists at insurance companies and at utility companies, such as energy providers or utility regulatory agencies, such as those governing freight carriers. Regardless of where she works, her findings and recommendations typically are reviewed by a panel or board prior to being implemented.
Rate analysis is required for many reasons. Rates may need to be adjusted based on an increase or decrease in services. If new taxes are imposed, restructuring rates to reflect the increase is often necessary. Reduced overhead costs may incur rate reductions. If new competition enters the marketplace, rates may be reviewed to determine how competitive they are.
A rate analyst’s job entails making predictions and projecting circumstances that may positively or adversely affect future rates. This necessitates studying the consequences of government actions and legislative decisions. Reviewing similar cases and their outcomes helps the analyst reach rational conclusions on which her recommendations are based.
A position as a rate analyst requires first-rate research skills. Proposed rate changes require well-documented facts to justify changes. Since these rate change proposals are reviewed by industry professionals as well as non-professionals, the rate analyst is expected to prepare reports and summaries that can be easily understood and are free of industry jargon or confusing language.
Excellent communication skills are highly desirable for a rate analyst. She must confer with politicians, providers, customers and regulatory agencies to determine their main concerns. As she addresses these matters and recommends revisions, negotiations and concessions are a large part of the discussions. Discerning personal wants from requests made in the public interest is important for the rate analyst to make sound recommendations.
Advanced math acumen in areas such as cost accounting and statistical analysis help a person in this position understand how rates affect cash flow and revenues. A rate analyst normally oversees an accounting staff that provides her with facts pertinent to her research. A good knowledge of the policies and procedures governing rate adjustments is helpful in efficiently performing her job.
For a rate analyst position, companies normally require a bachelor’s degree in business administration, economics, public policy or accounting. A minimum of three years experience in the areas of budgeting or accounting is commonly required, including at least one year in auditing, rate analysis or rate regulation. Experience in related fields involving regulatory agencies or statistical analysis or similar educational background is sometimes acceptable in lieu of the other preferred requirements.