Finance: a profile of another young star Samit Upadhyay
This 27-year young adventure biker works as a senior manager in the actuarial department of ICICI Prudential Life Insurance. Saurabh Turakhia tells us more.india Updated: Mar 25, 2008 18:53 IST
When not flirting with the breeze on his bike, this 27-year young adventure biker, born in Uttar Pradesh and brought up in Mumbai, works as a senior manager in the actuarial department of ICICI Prudential Life Insurance. In other words, he is working to become an actuary.
Act what? Actuaries are people who analyse the past to make sense of the future. According to the Oxford Dictionary, an actuary is "a person whose job involves calculating insurance risks and payments for insurance companies by studying how frequently accidents, fires, deaths, etc., will happen."
Samit elaborated: "You use data and trends from the past and then apply them to business models to ensure financially sound operations."
The use of acturial knowledge can be applied to various fields: like putting a number to a company's liabilities, managing risk and business planning.
Right now, in India, insurance companies are the main employers of actuaries. Abroad, in more mature markets, pension funds, banks and investment funds also employ people well-versed with actuarial knowledge.
The field caught Samit's eye while he was studying commerce at Podar College in Matunga and doing his chartered accountancy simultaneously.
With only between two and four percent of Indians insured, compared with 30 per cent and 40 per cent in advanced capitalist countries, Upadhyay knew the field had immense potential to grow.
Upadhyay reports to the appointed actuary at his firm, and supervises a team of seven people. He manages the significant task of ensuring that his company always has sufficient assets (funds) to discharge its liabilities (outgoings). He must also estimate the company's long-term liabilities, and regularly report on the company's financial condition.
For Samit, success means doing something that nobody has done before. That explains why he holds most dear one achievement - his team's development of a product for diabetes care, which estimated the risk rates for a diabetic population. It was the first product of its kind in the world, he claimed, and it fetched an innovation award from UK's Prudential.
The joy of putting his financial modelling skills gives him a great high. To succeed, one needs an aptitude for mathematical reasoning, he said, but added that a lot of the reasoning can also be qualitative "We have to consider various situations, such as how would a policy holder will react to a hike in interest rate, how a jump in the Sensex will impact our subscribers," he explained. "We also have to present regular reports for board meetings."
A member of the Institute of Actuaries of India, Samit has already cleared a few papers. After completing nine papers, he will get a diploma in actuarial techniques, and when he finishes fifteen papers, he will become an actuary.
But while number-crunching may be his cup of tea, he is not always lost in the world of numbers. His normal working hours stretch from 9.30 in the morning to 8 in the evening - a long working day, but he has a five-day week.
He often takes time off to immerse himself in Nature, and has a taste for adventure as well. In June last year, he took 26 days off to go on a tour on his adventure bike, a tour that started at Delhi and ended at the Pakistan border.
While maintaining a work-life balance is challenging, Samit also makes sure he plays tennis for at least two to three hours a week.