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    Career Option - Actuarial Science
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    Introduction

    You must have seen, heard and read about companies which provide insurance cover to policy holders in case of any eventuality like accidents, hospitalization, household hazards, thefts or death and still others who look after investment schemes, employee benefits, retirement benefits and pension schemes. The policy holders are required to pay a fixed amount as installments at regular intervals and they get this money back in the event of any untoward incident or upon the maturity of the policy. Have you ever wondered who decides 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?. 

    Well, this exactly is what an actuary does. They calculate insurance risks and premiums. Technically speaking the job of an actuary is to assess the financial impact of an uncertain future event. Roughly speaking they look at the financial aspect of disasters, sarcastically speaking 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, management etc 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, traditionally actuaries were found only in the life-insurance sector but now with the opening up of the economy they are wanted by non-life insurance companies, banks, stock exchanges, private and government agencies and this is one field where demand exceeds supply.

    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 organization to all actuarial bodies across the world, in 1979. It was registered in 1982 under registration of Literacy, Scientific and Charitable Societies Act XIII of 1960. Its objectives include the advancement of Actuarial profession in India, providing opportunities for interaction among members of the profession, facilitating research, arranging lectures on relevant subjects and providing facilities and Guidance to those studying for the professional Actuarial Examination.

    The Institute of Actuaries Of India (IAI or formally ASI) was initially started as a non-examining body when Actuaries used to get qualified from Institute of Actuaries or Faculty of Actuaries of UK. The Institute of Actuaries of India started conducting Entrance Examinations in India for students of Institute of Actuaries, UK, in 1975. In 1989, it started conducting examinations for its Indian qualification up to Associate ship level, and in 1992, it started conducting Fellowship level exams. The IAI has been following the UK pattern of examinations since November 2000 with an eye to be a part of global standards set by the International Actuarial Association (IAA). 

     

    To become an actuary one must be a Fellow of a recognised professional examining body like the Actuarial Society of India (ASI), Mumbai or the Institute of Actuaries, London. 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.

    Eligibility

    The Actuarial Society of India and Institute of Actuaries, UK are professional examining bodies which conduct certificate, associateship level and fellowship level examinations and on passing these examinations candidates become eligible to be admitted as an Associate Member of the society and can use AASI against their name as a registered actuary. On passing all the subjects up to and including 400 Series and upon satisfying the other criteria specified for the purpose, candidates become eligible to be admitted as fellow member of the Society and can use FASI against his/her name as a recognized fellow.

    A number of universities are offering graduate and post graduate courses in actuarial sciences. Mere completion of such courses does not make one eligible to practice as an actuary, but such courses give students better conceptual clarity and training by experts in a classroom environment which makes them better equipped than if they directly write papers of ASI through self study. To qualify as an Actuary, a candidate has to pass all examinations in the prescribed subjects conducted by the professional examining body such as the Actuarial Society of India and the Institute of Actuaries, UK. 

     

    Any person with minimum 18 years of age and having a high degree of aptitude for mathematics and statistics can take up the course and become an Actuary. Courses available include Post graduate diploma in Actuarial Science, MSc. in Actuarial science etc.

    A person is eligible to be considered for admission as a student member if he/she satisfies one of the following criteria.

    1. Should have passed 10+2(HSC) or equivalent with at least 85% in Mathematics/ Statistics
    2. Graduates or Post Graduate with not less than 55% marks in Mathematical subjects (i.e Mathematics or any of its branches; Statistics or any of its sub classifications such as Mathematical Statistics and Applied Statistics; Econometrics; Computer Sciences; Any discipline of Engineering; Subject in Science such as Physics or its branches).
    3. Candidates with CA/ CS/ CWA/ MBA (Finance)/ PGDBA
    4. Fully qualified members of professional bodies such as the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), The institute of Cost and Works Accountants of India (ICWAI) and Certified institute of Financial Analysts of India (IFAI) and Fellow of Insurance Institute of India (III)- passing with the subjects Mathematical Basis of Insurance and Statistics
    5. A student member of actuarial bodies such as Institute of Actuaries, London; Faculty of Actuaries in Scotland and Institute of Actuaries, Australia
    6. Students from Society of Actuaries, USA and Casualty Actuarial society, USA , provided that they must have passed at least one subject from these bodies. 

    Course Areas

    Students must take 15 subjects (14+1 optional) in preparing for the actuarial examinations. These subjects are grouped into 100 Series (CT), 200 Series (CA), 300 Series (ST) and 400 Series (SA). 

    The subjects in CT Series cover Mathematical, statistical, economic and financial techniques, which are applicable internationally. The CA series contains a question of general actuarial interest and aims to test communication skills of the students with regard to application of actuarial technique learnt in the CT Series subject. The ST Series cover investment, Life-Insurance, General Insurance and Pensions and other Employee benefits. The SA Series subjects focus on the practical application of the Principles covered in the corresponding ST Series subjects and earlier subjects.

    There are 9 Subjects in CT series, 3 subjects in CA series, 6 subjects in ST series out of which the student will chose 2 subjects and 6 subjects in SA series out of which the student will chose 1 subject.

    CT series (Core Technical Stage)
    CT1 - Financial Mathematics 
    CT2 - Finance and Financial Reporting
    CT3 - Probability and Mathematical Statistics
    CT4 - Models
    CT5 - General Insurance, Life and Health Contingencies
    CT6 - Statistical Methods
    CT7 - Economics
    CT8 - Financial Economics
    CT9-Business Awareness Module

    CA series (Core Applications Concepts )
    CA1-Core Applications concepts consisting of assets and liabilities
    CA2-Modelling,CA3-Communications

    ST series (Specialist Technical Stage)
    ST1-Health & care Insurnce
    ST2-Life Insurance
    ST3-General Insurance
    ST4-Pension & other employee benefit
    ST5-Finance & Investment A
    ST6-Finance and Investment B

    SA series (Specialist Application Stage)
    SA1-Health & Care
    SA2-Life Insurance
    SA3-General Insurance
    SA4-Pension & other Employee Benefit
    SA5-Finance
    SA6-Investment

    Certificates in Actuarial Techniques

    A student member becomes eligible to get the Certificate in Actuarial Techniques (CAT) on passing all the CT Series subjects.

    Associate ship - A student on passing all the subjects up to and including ST Series becomes eligible to be admitted as an Associate Member of the society and can use AASI against his/her name as a registered actuary.

    Fellowship - A student on passing all the subjects up to and including SA Series and upon satisfying the other criteria specified for the purpose becomes eligible to be admitted as fellow member of the Society and can use FASI against his/her name as a recognized fellow.

    Examination Centres

    The examinations are held every year in the month of May/June and Ocotber/November at the following centres.

    India : Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kanpur, Chennai, Bhopal, Bangalore, Lucknow, Coimbatore and Cuttack.

    Examination are held at centers outside India if there are candidates desiring to appear at such centers. Below mentioned centers are those where examinations have been conducted in recent past but they are not permanent centers. Candidates who wish to appear from Overseas centers should make a formal request to IAI.

    Outside India : Dhaka (Bangaladesh), Colombo(Sri Lanka) and Port Louis (Mauritius)

    Duration

    There is no fixed duration to complete the course. The aspirant has to clear the Entrance Examination and the 15 subjects prescribed. A student can attempt any number of subjects at a time and in any order. However, it is a better option to take the subjects in the numerical sequence in which these are numbered and not more than two or three at a time.

    Personal Skills

    A person with a high degree of aptitude for mathematics and statistics can become an actuary. The other necessary skills include good communication skills, ability to use computers and related technology, business sense, a practical outlook, a curious bent of mind, the ability to work on ones own and also be a team player as the situation demands and to be self motivated.. However an aspirant should have single minded devotion, total dedication and a systematic approach towards problems in order to successfully complete the various stages of the course and be registered as a fellow.

    Job Prospects & Career Options

    Traditionally actuaries have been associated with insurance sector but in present scenario with the economy opening up actuaries are needed in sectors like non-life insurance, employee benefits, health insurance, asset-management, reinsurance, insurance broking houses and consulting companies.

    The job of an actuary involves formulating policies and calculating the premium to be charged. For this they assemble and analyse data to estimate the probability of such eventualities as death, sickness, injury, disability and property loss and formulate a sum which is advantageous to the customer as well as the company. In areas where employee benefits and retirement/ pension schemes are dealt, the actuaries have to calculate the amount of money to be paid as contribution to pension fund in order to generate a certain income level post-retirement. Actuaries in administrative positions have to explain technical matters to executives, government officials, shareholders, policyholders. Actuaries working in tandem with government/ government agencies are responsible for designing social security and Medicare plans. Many of these professionals work as independent consultants providing actuarial advice to clients for a fee. Some also provide investment advice. Actuaries have scope for career growth not only in India but also in countries like USA, UK, Canada and Australia where they already have the necessary infrastructure and support system available.

     

    Some of the potential employers are :

    Life Insurance

    1. AMP Sanmar Life Insurance CoLtd; 2. Allianz Bajaj Life Insurance Co Ltd; 3. Birla Sun Life (Distributor Co Ltd); 4. Aviva Life Insurance Co Ltd.; 5 HDFC Standard Life Insurance Co Ltd.; 6. ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Co Ltd.; 7.ING Vysya Life insurance Co Ltd; 8. Om Kotak Mahindra Life Insurance Co Ltd.; 9. Max New York Life Insurance Co Ltd.; 10. Met Life Insurance Co Ltd.; 11. SBI Life Insurance Co LTD; 12. TATA AIG Life Insurance Co Ltd; 13. Life Insurance Corporation of India

    Non-Life Insurance

    1. Bajaj Allianz; 2. HDFC Chhub GIC ltd; 3. ICICI Lombard General Insurance Co Ltd; 4. IFFCO-TOKIO General Insurance Co Ltd.; 5. Reliance GIF; 6. Royal Sundaram GIC; 7. Cholamandalam GIC; 8. TATA AIG; 9. Oriental Insurance; 10. United India Insurance.; 11. National Insurance Co; 12. General Insurance Corporation; 13. New India Assurance Company

    Actuarial Apprentices with LIC

    The Life Insurance Corporation of India takes in candidates who are Graduates/ Postgraduates with Mathematics and Statistics as main subjects with 60% or more marks in aggregate and coming in the age-group 18-25 years. The selection is based on a written test conducted by LIC which consists of two papers. Paper I includes Essay Writing (Hindi or English) and paper II comprising of Mathematics or Statistics or Actuarial Science. Candidates who have passed one or more examination of the ASI or Institute of Actuaries (London) or those having PG Diploma in Actuarial Science with more than 50% marks in aggregate are exempted from appearing for the exams.

    Remuneration

    If you can survive the grilling tests, there is a payoff - the median annual salary for an actuary is handsome. Actuaries are globally in demand and can command hefty pay packets, salaries and perks. No wonder then that this profession has been rated among the best jobs

    in the US. In India the trend is slowly picking up. Stipend for an actuarial trainee per month in India is around Rs 25,000 per month. Insurance companies and consulting firms give merit to experience and qualifications with salary packets ranging from 8 lacs per annum for beginners to around 40 lacs per annum for those in senior positions. In UK a qualified actuary can earn 20 lacs per annum.

     


      
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