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Emerging courses: Actuarial Science, a risk-proof career opportunity?

What are actuarial sciences and what is an actuary, how to become one, why is it called a risk-proof profession? All you need to know about the booming sector.

college reopen Despite being around for a while, actuarial sciences is a lesser known and growing sector (Representational image)

— Written by Dinesh Chandra Khansili

Life is full of uncertainty, so is business. Hence, we plan to cover contingencies and unforeseen calamities in life. Ever wondered, how businesses prepare themselves for risks and unforeseen events? This is where an actuary steps in. Actuaries are business professionals who help in assessment, measurement and management of risk and uncertainties surrounding business. This science of managing risks using mathematical and statistical techniques is called Actuarial Science.

Actuaries have played a major role in the way insurance is sold in the country. They have been instrumental in various aspects of insurance, right from devising insurance products, calculating premiums, keeping in mind policyholders’ interests or whether it is about preparing risk models by calculating liabilities and solvency ratios which protect insurance companies from risks related to future claims. However, actuaries are no longer confined to only the insurance industry.

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These days, actuarial capabilities are being given due credit in sectors including banking, investment banking, finance companies and other wider areas. Data science and analytics are another arena where actuarial skills are assuming importance.

There is a rise in the number of students applying for actuarial courses. This has come from growing demand by various sectors. As per US Bureau of Labor, actuaries are highly paid professionals with global demand. As per a study by Georgetown University, USA, actuarial science graduates had a near-zero unemployment rate in 2010 as against average unemployment rate of 8.2 per cent. Actuarial science is expected to grow 26 per cent in the next eight years. That is significantly faster than the average job growth for all occupations. A career case study found it to be in the top four best jobs.

What does it take to be an actuary?

Your love for numbers and complex problem solving ability is the first step towards becoming an actuary. Of course, hard work and dedication of time is a must for cracking exams. Further, one should have successfully cleared class 12 from a recognised board or university. Whether a graduate, doctorate or a post graduate, one should have sound knowledge of mathematics and statistics.


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There are a lot of universities and institutions in India offering actuarial courses which can provide theoretical and conceptual knowledge. However, to practice the Actuarial profession in India, you need to enroll for membership at the Institute of Actuaries of India (IAI). This is a statutory body established under The Actuaries Act 2006 for regulation and development of the profession of actuaries in India. To be a member, one needs to crack the Actuarial Common Entrance Test (ACET), which is conducted thrice a year. Once the student clears the ACET, s/he can start taking chosen actuarial examinations at their own pace; examinations are held twice a year by the IAI. Candidates can log on to http://www.actuariesindia.org to apply. Registrations for ACET are now open for the February 2020 exam.

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IAI also offers a Student Support Scheme, which aims to provide financial support to student members of IAI to pursue the examinations. The scheme provides benefits like waivers on the annual membership subscription fees, exam fee, study material cost, etc.

— The author is Executive Director, Institute of Actuaries of India

First published on: 25-04-2020 at 06:38:04 pm
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