Actuarial Science is a discipline that assesses the risks in the financial and insurance sectors by mathematical and statistical models. It is an interdisciplinary study that involves mathematics, statistics, economics, finance and computer science. The focus of this course is to predict the future ups and downs in the market and minimize the risk of the investors. Fundamentally it revolves around mortality analysis, production of life variables and compound interest.
What Is Your Job Role?
Actuaries have to prepare the insurance schemes and frame it in a way that the premium collection should lead to sufficient profitability within a 3-6 month period. New product launches in the finance and insurance sector depends on the actuarial analysis. As an analyst, you would have to talk and meet with the senior stakeholders and frame policies that benefit the company in the long term. Also, you need to work with a lot of data for simulation exercises and use multiple trial and error methods to figure out highly accurate models that can convert to business growth.
The most important skill you need as an actuary is a very strong grip in mathematics, statistics and calculus. You need to implement these concepts into creating the models. Analytical ability is an obvious requirement as most of your time you would be solving problems. Things like MS Excel and SPSS/R software should be known to you as its functions will be the guiding force in working in this sector. Along with these, a very good communication and programming skill is necessary. Today, most companies will be using Python and you need to have thorough knowledge with it.
The Institute of Actuaries of India, provides the degree for Actuarial Science and is one of the toughest exams all over the country. Apart from that there are multiple universities like Christ University (Bangalore), NMIMS and Pune University which provides the MSc degrees in actuarial science. To get there, you need to have a graduate degree with either mathematics, statistics, finance, economics, computer science or engineering. This is because your proficiency in mathematics will be a deciding factor in being able to complete the course and working for big corporates later on.
The actuarial science curriculum will start with the core technical papers in part 1. These will include financial mathematics, statistical methods, probability, models, financial economics and financial reporting. The focus here is broadly to develop your ability on using the mathematical approach in real world problems along with financial awareness.
Once you clear the first part, there are three core application papers in part 2 which includes actuarial risk management, model documentation analysis and communication. The last 2 papers would have a practical examination, testing your ability to document larger data sets and build a sustainable model from there.
Part 3 of the exam will allow you to choose your specialization and give a technical paper on that. Options will include healthcare, life insurance, pension, finance, general insurance, enterprise risk management etc. In the final segment, part 4, you have to choose 1 subject for the specialist application module.
Once you successfully pass in all the 9 CT and 3 CA papers, you will be an associate member of the institute and be able to practice anywhere in India.
Actuaries can start their career at around Rs 15-20 lakhs per annum and those who are experienced for 5-10 years the range can go up to 50-70 lakhs as reputed insurance companies will hire you. Moreover consultancy firms like Mckinsey, BCG also hire actuaries in multiple roles. Outside India, the average salaries of actuary range from $100,000 to $250,000 and is one of the highest paid professions across the world. As the demand supply gap is huge, newly recruited actuaries are also given a very high payout owing to the critical nature of the job. With very few students actually opting, getting a good salary is quite normal in this profession.
Actuarial science has a great future and is one of those professions which are not very popular even today. Unlike IT and finance where the market is almost stagnant with millions of students passing out every year, there are only 8700 actuaries out of which 375 are fully qualified. This gives you an idea how hard it is to become one. This is only for those exceptional students who are prodigies in Mathematics, Statistics and Economics, can take up the course.
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