Luiz was born and raised in São Paulo. He works as a life and health products actuary for Swiss Re. In 2013 he completed an MSc in Actuarial Science at Cass Business School, London. His interests include Portuguese and Brazilian literature, and good movies. He is a member of the IFoA.
Which actuarial field do you specialise in?
Life and health.
Which actuarial fields are most popular in Brazil and why?
Pensions, life and health, due to the specific knowledge that actuaries acquire during their studies. In Brazil, to qualify as an actuary you must do an undergrad in actuarial science and sit a single yearly exam with the Brazilian Institute of Actuaries. Other popular fields include property, casualty, investments and risk.
Can you tell us a bit about the industry or market that you work in?
The Brazilian insurance market still needs development in process and innovation. Life insurance products, for example, are simple and do not offer many options. The expertise of international markets and institutions are essential to improve our industry as a whole.
What led you to choose to study for an actuarial qualification with the IFoA?
I believe that studying for this international qualification will allow me to pursue better opportunities in my country.
Which of the actuarial exams do you consider the most difficult and why?
CA1 (Actuarial Risk Management), seems one of the more complex. First, because your strategic study has to change by the time you reach the Core Applications. Second, language for non-natives can be a barrier at this stage.
In how many years do you expect to qualify?
I'm not in a hurry. I still have ten exams to go. If I pass them in four years it would be perfect.
What kind of support do students get, in your company, and elsewhere in the market?
International companies with actuarial students in other parts of the world are more open to support Brazilian students. Local companies, unfortunately, do not assist their employees in their international actuarial studies yet.
What would you say are the 'hot' topics in your industry?
The reinsurance market in Brazil was a public monopoly. In 2007 the market opened to international competitors, who are still managing to fit in with our market practices and regulation. Companies such as Swiss Re and Munich Re are good examples. Therefore, I would say that reinsurance is one of the biggest topics in Brazil.
What's the reputation of actuaries in Brazil?
Most people don't know what we do. When I explain it, they answer: "Wow! This looks complicated; you must earn a lot "
What are your views on the role of an actuary now, and in the future?
The actuarial role needs to become more prominent in the Brazilian market. Companies need to realize that actuaries are experts in every business situation where risk is involved, not just pensions and life insurance.
In the UK the skill set of an actuary is being recognised across many disciplines, is this also true in Brazil?
Yes, but maybe not as much as in the UK. Many undergrad colleagues are currently working in different fields such as entrepreneurship, risk management and banking rather than traditional actuarial fields.
Can you describe a typical day at work?
The exciting thing about working for a reinsurer is that no two days are the same. One day I could be working for a Critical Illness solution for the Chilean market, and the next, trying to implement simplified underwriting in Brazil.
What were the influences that shaped your career decisions to date?
I had wonderful mentors during my studies and early days in the profession. All of them were all convinced that learning international practices would boost the actuarial profession in Brazil. I knew then that pursuing an international qualification would fit with my career aspirations.
Could you tell us about your immediate and longer term goals?
I intend to assist in promoting an actuarial career in Brazil. In a longer term I expect to be a reference for actuarial professionals in Latin America.
What do you say when asked, "What is an actuary"?
Classic question! I always try to summarise it as an expert able to understand and measure risks in business on which potential losses are associated.
How will you celebrate the day you qualify?
By the time I obtain this achievement, it will be like a World Cup championship celebration.
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