Actuarial Science

by Gopalan Raman

When you take a family or single insurance cover, be it life, health or property, the premium amount is calculated based on various futuristic events, which are largely evaluating risk, using statistical techniques. An actuary is a professional employed to do just that.
Actuarial science, an established field in the west, is gaining growth in India, due to popularity of insurance and investment products. In addition, with over a billion population, requirement for pricing insurance and other futuristic products covering large populations, will only increase. So, this field is poised for good growth.

Where do actuaries work?
An actuary will work in insurance, and pension type products, both in Government and private sectors too. Many MNCs, based in India but providing actuarial support to other countries, do employ actuaries.
Actuaries also work on pricing, developing financial models to make financial decisions, amount of liabilities, capital requirements, about future (uncertain) events.
If you are interested and good in applied Mathematics, this is a good field that pays well and provides lot of job satisfaction.

Basic educational eligibility to enter the field: completion of 10+2, somewhat similar to a foundation course in CA.
You can choose commerce stream (with Mathematics as a primary subject) in + 2, to start the path in this career.
The next step is to become an official member of the Institute of Actuaries of India (IAI) and be a student of actuary. To do so, an applicant must pass the Actuarial Common Entrance Test (ACET). The minimum eligibility to appear for the exam is to be a high school graduate. ACET is a 100-mark exam and it is taken online.
Then you will need to complete 15 exams to become an actuary and have 3 years of practical work experience. (Again, similar to pursuing CA.).
Overall, it takes 6 to 8 years to complete these exams.

The exams are segregated as
i) 9 core exams,
ii) 3 core applications, (Level 1)
iii) and 2 (out of 6 subjects) specialist technical
iv) and 1 specialist application connected to the 2 specialist subjects chosen above ( Level 2)

Good skills required for this profession are, strong in mathematics, statistics and good modeling skills (which also come with understanding the business well).

Where to study?
Clearing actuarial exams alone will be required to be a professional in the field. While clearing the 15 exams will require coaching (institutes are available for the same) or self-study, there are good colleges around the country, where one can get actuarial degree and they also help you prepare in the subject matters in these actuarial exams. (Partial list of colleges offering degree program are given below.)

The partial list of those:
1. Annamalai University, Tamil Nadu 2. Bishop Herber College, Tiruchirappalli 3. University of Madras, Chennai 4. Andhra University, Visakhapatnam, etc..
you can search online, for some more institutions, as more institutes are being added every year, offering these courses.
It is good to earn a minimum of bachelor degree, for practical purposes; and while earning bachelor degree, you might as well go for actuarial degree, or in related fields, such as Math, statistics or finance, as a choice after + 2, to continue with Actuary field.

How to enter the field:
Clearing first 5 exams may be enough land on a job.
Levels 1 and 2 will be sufficient to start the career, whereas last 2 levels can be achieved with job experience.