AN actuary holds one of the most important positions in an insurance business, says P Santhosh, who founded and promoted CIFP, a niche insurance and financial planning firm in his report on sector title, ‘Careers in the Insurance sector: Opportunities & Challenges’. Graduates in Math or Statistics are suited for this kind of a job because the work is based on mathematical and statistical skills. In the coming times it has the potential to be one of the highly paid career options in the insurance sector.
An Actuary is a business professional who applies mathematical and statistical methods to deal with the financial impact of risk and uncertainty in the field of insurance, investment, etc. Actuaries mathematically evaluate the probability of events and quantify the contingent outcomes in order to minimize the impacts of financial losses associated with uncertain and undesirable events. A professional having graduation or Master’s degree in Mathematics or Statistics, along with certificate from Institute of Actuaries in India (IAI), can get seven-figure salaries in the financial sector. Entry-level salary is somewhere around Rs. 8 lakh per annum.
Demand for actuaries
An Actuary works in insurance firms like LIC, GIC, ESIC, or Banks, Financial Institutions and stock exchanges. According to experts, the opening up of the insurance sector in the country has pushed up the demand for qualified and senior actuarial professionals.
How to get in?
Around 2,000 candidates enroll with the IAI as students every year. But the total number of actuaries available in India is only about 225. Completing the actuarial course is considered a difficult task, with a 2-7 pass percentage depending on the paper. An aspirant has to first become a student member of the IAI by qualifying the Actuarial Common Entrance Test (ACET). The course runs in three stages. Student members who have passed the nine papers in the CT series and all papers in the CA series are eligible to become associate members of the institute. An associate member is admitted as a fellow member subject to certain eligibility criteria.
He or she must have cleared any two out of six papers in the ST series and any one out of six in the SA series, must have attended the two-day India Fellowship Seminar on India-specific legislation, environments, practices and professionalism, and must also have stipulated work experience.
Institute of Actuaries of India (IAI)
IAI is a statutory body for regulation of profession of Actuaries in India, established by the government in the Ministry of Finance, Department of Economic Affairs. As a consequence, the erstwhile Actuarial Society of India (ASI, established in September 1944 was dissolved. Since 1979 the ASI has been a Full Member of International Actuarial Association (an umbrella organization to all actuarial bodies across the world).
Objectives of IAI
The objectives are to promote, uphold and develop the standards of professional education, training, knowledge, practice and conduct amongst Actuaries. Promoting the status of the Actuarial profession and regulating the practice by the Members of the profession of Actuary is part of its mandate. IAI also promotes, in public interest, knowledge and research in all matters relevant to Actuarial Science and its applications.
Courses and eligibility
ACET is applicable to those who plan to enroll as student members of IAI and wish to take actuarial examinations from the IAI. A 10+2 passed, graduate, postgraduate, Engineer, MBA, CA, ICWA etc with sound knowledge in Mathematics & Statistics can enroll for ACET.A student is examined on basics in Actuarial/Mathematics and Statistics. Logic and problem-solving abilities, good communication skills and business awareness will come in handy.
Tower Watson India, New Delhi
The largest numbers of interns are seen learning professional skills in the benefits section of insurance. The employment based on the number of actuarial examinations passed and years of qualification in Non-life sector of insurance is viewed as most challenging in the Indian markets
There are four types of memberships.
Fellow: A member of the IAI, on application, is admitted as a Fellow member subject to passing exams and relevant work experience.
Affiliate: A Fellow Member, or a holder of membership considered equivalent to the Fellow Membership of the IAI, of any other institution, is admitted as an Affiliate Member.
Associate: Students members who have passed all the subjects of CT series and all CA subjects are eligible to become Associate Member of the Institute.
Student: Before a candidate starts with any examinations, he must be admitted as a student member of the IAI.
A student of actuarial sciences has the opportunity to work as an actuary while completing the examination process. Employers often allow study time, pay exam fees, provide internships, and even award raises for each exam passed.
The entrance exam is held at least twice in a year. As of now the planned months are: December and June.
Registration fee for exam: The registration fee is Rs 3,000. This covers the cost of the study material, the online exam and the online tutorial.
Mode of examination: The exam is held online. It is a computer-based examination where the examinees have to be present at their chosen testing centre administered initially in 41 cities within India at 53 centers.
Structure of the exam:
Step 1 Students need to go to the IAI website (www.actuariesindia.org) and signup.
Step 2 Fill up the online registration form and make the payment online. Before you make the payment, make sure all your details are correct because no changes would be possible thereafter.
Results: The results are normally declared within 10 days after the exam. The results would be available on the IAI website.
Passing of examination: The successful candidates are required to fill the ACET Student Membership Form and send it to IAI along with the required documents (attested true copies of education certificates). Once the membership is given students are eligible to receive the student membership number; through that they can subscribe for the study material of their selected CT subjects online.
Subjects for examination
Students are required to take 15 subjects (14+1 optional). The subjects are grouped in 100 series, 200 series, 300 series and 400 series, for details one can refer to the official website of IAI.
Duration: There is no fixed duration to complete the course as all the 15 subjects are to be cleared.
In this globalized and volatile economy, the role of actuaries is inevitable. They devise ways to handle financial contingencies. The course has international appeal and comes with a handsome salary and opportunities to work in a global market.
Prof Diwan Memorial Prize for Entrance Examination- A cash prize of Rs 750/- is awarded for each of the two subjects (Mathematics and English) of the Entrance Examination passed by candidates at his/her first attempt with highest marks.
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