You have probably heard or read of companies that support policyholders in the event of an injury, hospitalisation, domestic hazards, robberies, or death and still others who look after investment schemes, employee benefits, retirement benefits and pension schemes. The policy holders are required to pay a fixed amount as instalments at regular intervals and they get this money back in the event of any untoward incident or upon the maturity of the policy. Have you ever thought who determines how much a policyholder must pay in premiums or how much the company should pay out in pensions or returns?
This exactly is what an actuary does. They calculate insurance risks and premiums. An actuary’s work is to determine the financial consequences of an unforeseen event. They are sarcastically referred to as financial astrologers as they look at the financial aspect of disasters. An actuary must use methods such as probability, compound interest, regulation, promotion, and management combining the talents of a statistician, economist, and financier.
The profession of actuary was formally established in 1848, when the Institute of Actuaries, London was formed. In Pakistan, traditionally actuaries were found only in the life-insurance sector but now with the opening up of the economy they are wanted by non-life insurance companies, banks, stock exchanges, private as well as government agencies and is a field in which demand is still exceeding its supply.
Nature of work
Actuaries typically do the following:
- Work in indoor setting such as offices
- Have less interaction with people in general working in the same environment on daily basis
- Collect statistical data and information for further analysis
- Estimate the probability and likely economic cost of an event such as death, sickness, accident or a natural disaster
- Design, test, and administer insurance policies, investments, pension plans and other business strategies to minimize risk and maximun probability
- Make diagrams, tables, and reports for explaining proposals and calculations
- Explain their findings and proposals to company executives, government officials, shareholders and clients
While the role of an actuary requires a great deal of number crunching and the nature of the job is quite tiring, it does provide intellectual challenge, status, career satisfaction, and good income. Since their evaluation is the base for many company decisions, their career paths usually lead to higher management and executive roles.
How to become an actuary
To become an actuary one should have a undergraduate degree or postgraduate degree in actuarial sciences or related programs. The basic eligibility criterion for a bachelor’s degree is F.Sc or equivalent examination, with Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics.
After the bachelor’s one can go in for a postgraduate degree. The postgraduate course generally offers specialised training in Finance, Insurance, Mathematics and Computing
University offering Actuarial science in Pakistan
Currently, there are only two institutes offering bachelors degree in actuarial sciences:
- Institute of Business Management
- Jinnah university For Women
For details on institutes offering actuarial science, visit
Required skills for an actuary
- Good at statistics, mathematics, finance ans evaluation
- Able to forecast financial aspects foe disasters and loss
- Have sound communication skills
- Ability to assess profitability
- Ability to predict and quantify the risk
- Critical thinking
Job Prospects & Career Options
You may get a job both in public and private sector organizations like
- Insurance companies of different kinds like health, car, life, business and general insurance firms.
- Financial departments
- Pension departments
- Brokerage homes
- Consulting firms
- Social security departments
- Post office
- Mobile phone insurance companies
Many of these professionals work as independent consultants providing actuarial advice to clients for a fee. Some also provide investment advice.