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Insuring lives

education Updated: Jul 17, 2013 10:00 IST

Hindustan Times
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The lowdown

An actuary is an expert who applies statistical and ­mathematical methods to assess financial and other risks ­relating to various contingent events such as mortality, sickness, injury, retirement and property loss from theft, accident, fire or any other hazard. An actuary uses data analysis for valuation of financial products in the field of insurance, retirement and other employee benefits, investments, etc. Since contingent events by their very nature are hard to accurately predict, an ­actuary is also entrusted with the responsibility to ensure ­security of ­policyholders. He/she does that by ensuring the company is ­maintaining adequate financial resources so as to withstand higher than expected claims. The actuary designs insurance and pension plans, determines insurance premium rates and ­contract provisions for each type of policy offered. He/she also ­creates new and attractive policies for organisation’s growth.

Clockwork
9.30am: Reach office
11am: Assign work to the team
11.30am: Analyse risks
3pm: Meet clients
4.30pm: Review meeting with junior colleagues
5pm: Write reports
6.30pm: Call it a day

The ­payoff
At entry level for persons straight out of universities, one’s income could be Rs. 4 lakh to Rs. 5 lakh per annum. After gaining experience of three to five years, with a wide skill set and clearing a good number of the possible 15 papers, an actuary can earn Rs. 8 lakh to Rs. 35 lakh per annum. Immediately after becoming a fellow of Institute of Actuaries of India (IAI) and two years after the qualification, one can earn anything from Rs. 45 lakh to Rs. 1.5 crore per annum

Skills/TRAITS
* In-depth knowledge of statistics
* A good head for mathematics
* You need to have ambition and dedication to become an actuary. Those with a background in math and economics have an advantage - but that does not count you have the aptitute for this kind of work

Getting there
Begin by joining the Institute of Actuaries of India as a student member for which you need to clear an actuarial common entrance test. This exam is conducted twice a year. Visit www.actuariesindia.org for details. Candidate must have passed Class 12 exam or an equivalent exam with English as one of the subjects at Class 12 level. After becoming a ­student member one needs to take up to 15 actuarial exams

Institutes and URLs
* Institute of Actuaries of India, Mumbai
www.actuariesindia.org/

Pros and cons
* Requires dedicated self-study
* The course is very specialised. “Actuaries apply their statistical and business skills to make ­financial estimates of future ­economic and demographic uncertainties. This opens up the door for actuaries to work in areas that require long-term financial planning such as insurance and pension. Globally, actuaries are also involved in financial risk ­management and investment ­consultancies to provide advice to corporate clients. In India, the actuarial profession has been growing since the opening up of insurance sector with actuaries working in ­insurance companies, consultancies, pension ­management, KPOs, ­general insurance and investment,” says Srinivasan Parthasarathy, chief actuary, HDFC Life

In India, opportunities are growing in the health sector for actuaries. They work in areas where there is demographic risk and financial uncertainties ---- Srinivasan Parthasarathy, chief actuary and appointed actuary, HDFC Life, Mumbai

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