Opportunities in Actuarial Science
If there is one field where career prospects are abundant because the demand exceeds supply, it is Actuarial Science.
Actuarial Science is the discipline that applies mathematical and statistical methods to assess risks in insurance and finance industries. Actuaries are experts in analyzing financial impacts of tomorrow’s uncertain events. Actuaries add value by enabling businesses and individuals to make informed decisions with a clearer view of the likely range of financial outcomes from different future events.
Actuaries decide as to what amount of money a policy holder should pay as premium or what sum should be given as pension amount or returns by the company. They calculate insurance risks and premiums. The job of an actuary is to assess the financial impact of an uncertain future event. They are financial astrologers.
An actuary has to combine the skills of a statistician, economist and financier and employ techniques of probability, compound interest, law, marketing and management to predict the outcome of future contingencies and design solutions to lessen the financial severity of such events.
Actuarial profession was formally established in 1848, with the formation of Institute of Actuaries, London. In India, The Actuarial Society of India (ASI), the only professional body of Actuaries in India was formed in 1944 and was admitted as a member of the International Actuarial Association (IAA), an umbrella organisation to all actuarial bodies across the world, in 1979. To become a fellow, one has to first become a student member of the institute and then clear all the papers of the institute and fulfill other criteria from time to time.
The eligibility criteria to appear for Actuarial papers are subjective.
- 10+2 passed students having attained 85% marks in Mathematics/ Statistics
- Graduate or post-graduate students with 55% aggregate or more on Mathematics, Statistics, Econometrics, Computer Science, and Physics papers
- CA, MCA, ICWA, CFA, MBA (Finance), Engineers
There are a total of 15 papers. The study course of ASI is divided into four stages: Core Technical Stage,Core Application Stage, Specialist Technical Stage and Specialist Application Stage. Subjects include Financial Mathematics, Finance and Financial Reporting, Probability and Mathematical Statistics, General Insurance, Life and Health Contingencies, Statistical Methods, Business Economics, Financial Economics, Health and Care, Life Insurance, Pension and other employee benefits, Finance and Investment, General Insurance and Enterprise Risk Management.
There is no fixed duration of the course. Ideally, if pursued dedicatedly, the course could be completed in 3-4 years. The exams are conducted twice in a year. In India, the exams are conducted in May/June and Oct/Nov.
The course is globally recognized with mutual exemptions with a lot of other international actuarial institutes.
A good grasp of basic mathematical/statistical concepts could prove beneficial. However, in the long run, your hard work and dedication would count the most.
The work of an actuary involves a lot of number crunching and the nature of work is quite tedious, nevertheless it offers rewards in terms of intellectual challenge, status, job satisfaction and earnings. As their judgment is the basis of decision making for many business activities, their career paths often lead to upper management and executive positions.
Traditionally, actuaries were found only in the life-insurance sector. However, with the opening up of the economy they are wanted by general insurance, health insurance, reinsurance companies, pensions and employee benefits, investment consultancies, risk management, banks, stock exchanges, private and government agencies. This is one field where demand exceeds supply. Which only increases career prospects in this field.
Institute of actuaries of India, 302, Indian Globe Chambers, 142, Fort Street, Off D N Road, Mumbai - 400 001. www.actuariesindia.org