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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Q&A: Carl Anthony (India)


Carl Anthony

I am a student actuary currently working for AIG in Bangalore, India. Originally from Mumbai where I completed most of my schooling, I went on to complete my masters in actuarial science from the University of Waterloo, Canada.

I have considerable experience in the non-life insurance market, particularly in the pricing domain, and I am constantly looking to improve my technical and analytical skills.
I’m a fun-loving person and like travelling and exploring new regions. I get along with people well and also like to network with people outside my area of interest.

Which actuarial field(s) do you specialise in?

I specialise in the health and the non-life insurance domain, primarily on the pricing side.

Why did you decide to study and work in this specific field?

I was quite interested in mathematics and went on to pursue my undergraduate degree in statistics. It was during this period that I came across actuarial science as a career. The enormous application of statistics and the idea of solving complex problems got me intrigued into pursuing this degree.

Which actuarial society are you a member of?

Currently I’m a member of Institute of Actuaries in the UK, the Institute of Actuaries of India and the Casualty Actuarial Society in the US.

Which actuarial fields are most dominant in your country and why? 

The life and the pensions fields are more dominant in India as compared to other areas as these areas are quite developed and have a high penetration level within the Indian market.

Tell us a bit about the industry that you work and study in?

I work in the non-life industry in the pricing area and it is still in the evolving stage. Post the tariffing of non-life insurance products the importance of actuaries in the pricing area has increased significantly. 

It has also significantly increased the importance of analytics and risk mitigation techniques to achieve appropriate pricing.

What kind of support do students get, in your company and elsewhere in the market?

Most of the companies have an actuarial development programme policy in place for the students who wish to pursue actuarial science. The students generally get reimbursed for their exam fees and the study material along with paid time off to study. Apart from that they also get monetary benefits on passing the exams to keep them motivated.

Is there an actuarial student society in the area you work? If so, what kind of activities does it organise?

The Society for Cultural and Youth Affairs is one of the societies in India that organises activities for actuarial students. It serves as a platform for students to showcase their skills in different areas, and network with people from a similar domain.

Are you involved in any actuarial activities outside of your day job? If so tell us about its benefits and challenges.

I used to be a part of an actuarial group that constituted mainly of student members. 

I was responsible for organising doubt clearing sessions before the exams, trainings on Excel/VBA and other  relevant software to build up programming skills. I also organised trips to informative actuarial seminars.

What do you believe are the social and economic drivers for actuarial work in your region, for example, healthcare issues, pension issues, political change?

There is considerable room for development in the micro insurance and healthcare insurance sector in India, but there are a lot of challenges in order to gain penetration in these areas. 

Also due to the population’s low income levels and less awareness it’s been quite challenging to market these products. With the current passing of the Insurance Bill, foreign direct investment in the country has been increased to 49%, which should bring in much needed innovation in product lines, along with an improvement in reach and penetration.

What is the reputation of actuaries and the profession in your country? How does the professional body try to enhance their image?

Not many are aware of actuarial science as a career, and the kind of work that actuaries are responsible for. Some consider them the wizards of finance, yet others know vaguely that they deal with time value of money in some way. 

The Institute of Actuaries of India has been doing a good job in organising the General Conference of Actuaries on a yearly basis, which draws some of the most influential actuarial minds from across the globe.

It comprises all the relevant fields – property and casualty, life and health, pensions and financial economics. This congregation of actuaries delivers lectures on current hot topics and there are discussions and panel debates on the ills of longevity and technology advancements. Other topics that affect our industry and practices are discussed and debated with religious-like fervour.

What are your views on the role of an actuary in the market you work in, now and in the future?

Actuaries are highly regarded in the life and pension industry in India. Their importance is also gradually increasing in the non-life sector post de-tariffing. Currently, actuaries are mainly responsible for pricing products under different lines of businesses and reserving.

In the UK, the skill set of an actuary is being recognised across many non-traditional disciplines such as risk management and banking. Is this also true in India? 

The role of actuaries in the non-traditional disciplines has increased significantly in recent years in India. Actuaries are now considered broadly for their roles as risk officers and also as fund managers.

What were the influences that shaped your career decisions to date?

Having pursued my masters degree in actuarial science, it helped to inform in my career. Also I feel fortunate to be working in the area of my interest, which I believe will help me significantly in achieving my career goals.

Could you tell us about your immediate and longer term goals?

My immediate goal is to gain considerable knowledge in the pricing area for the non-life industry, at the same time work on improving my technical skills. 

I would also like to seek the opportunity to develop my role within this industry and achieve a position where I could take on more data-driven decisions. 

In the longer term I’m looking to achieve my fellowship and work as a consultant, and also contribute significantly to the Indian Actuarial Society.

What do you say when asked: “What is an actuary”?

I would say an actuary is someone who looks into to the future to quantify the risk that the company might face. Then be able to present an appropriate solution to mitigate it, monitor the progress and provide feedback in order to optimise the recommended solution.

How will you celebrate the day you qualify?

I would like to take my parents on a short trip to Europe to celebrate my success, as they had immense faith in my decision to embark on an actuarial journey.