The term actuary, commonly referred to as insurance, is a promising area for those with an affinity for the financial sector. Actuarial science deals with the application of mathematical principles to assess risks of insurance and premium, and actuaries are organisations that provide services in sectors like finance and investment, insurance (health, life, general) and several benefit plans with reference to employee retirement.
Actuarial science includes a number of interrelating disciplines, including probability and statistics, finance, and economics. It is built on the statistical evaluation of the financial and economic implications of possible contingencies. Rakesh Verma, who is a Senior Manager at a life insurance company, asserts, “Insurance or actuary is now being considered as a very proficient course, unlike its earlier image of being the common man’s cup of tea. Traditionally, actuarial science used deterministic models for constructing tables and premiums. But in recent times, due to advancement in technology and use of high speed computers and the synergy of stochastic, actuarial models are used with modern financial theory.”
The innumerable courses on actuarial science that have mushroomed are, in fact, testimonies to the boom being witnessed in this area. These courses provide students with valid certifications to take a lead in this profession. Mahesh Sondhi, who teaches actuary at a Delhi-based private institute, informs, “Actuary is taught in India as a three-year degree course, though several short-term courses are also offered by many institutions. The courses on actuary are BA (insurance), BA, with insurance as a subject, PG Diploma in Certified Risk and Insurance Management and a certificate course in intermediaries in specific insurance subjects. Also, there are several courses for insurance agents, insurance managers, foundation in financial planning, etc.”
Mahesh Kumar Gopalika, who heads an actuary institute, asserts, “It is very important for students to know that the courses offered by private colleges in actuary, in spite of their valid recognition, are neither at par with the ASI (Actuary Society India) certification, nor can they provide a similar kind of professional standing. Thus, it is crucial for a serious student to take up the 15 papers of ASI, in addition to the institutional teaching to become a fully accredited actuary.”
Abhinav Sarkar, also teaches actuary in Mumbai. He says, “The ASI papers can be taken at different academic levels, and the general qualification parameters are that the person is eligible to be considered for admission, if he or she has completed 18 years of age, has passed 10+2 or an equivalent, with at least 85 per cent in mathematics/ statistics, or graduated or completed postgraduation with mathematical subjects, or specialised in any of the mathematics branches, or statistics or applied statistics or econometrics.” He also explains that one has to clear the following stages in order to become a full-fledged actuary. The stages comprise the core technical stage, core application stage, specialist technical stage and specialist application stage. If you have a PG degree in actuary from a private or government university, you need to meet the minimum qualifications of the concerned university.
Starting pay package after a course in actuary from a private institute: Rs 15,000 to Rs 25,000 Senior level pay package package: Rs seven to eight lakh per annum. Package after clearing all 15 ASI-approved papers: Rs 25 to Rs 45 lakh per annum. Package after clearing a couple of ASI papers: Rs seven to eight lakh per annum