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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries
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Q&A: Nikolas Kefallinos (Greece) 


02 JULY 2015 | BY Nikolas Kefallinos  


Nikolas Kefallinos


I was born and live in Greece and work for Ernst & Young in Athens. I am a student actuary specialising in non-life and risk – mostly related to the quantitative elements of the Solvency II framework.

Outside the actuarial world, I am one of the shareholders of a company that promotes music and the arts in general. When I find some free time I spend it playing basketball and other sports with friends, listening to music and watching movies.

 

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

Given the theoretical nature of a pure mathematics undergraduate degree I was keen on specialising in a field that is closely related to applied mathematics and statistics and so I continued to study by pursuing a MSc in actuarial science and risk management.

 

Which actuarial society are you a member of?

I am a member of the IFoA.


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

In past years the life business would be considered as dominant. However, more recently growth in the non-life actuarial field has been observed since companies have begun to use more ‘sophisticated’ methods. The non-life sector is expected to develop significantly in the near future. 


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

I have already worked on projects for the largest insurance companies in Greece, Italy, Turkey and Cyprus covering a wide range of different assignments from technical reserves estimations to embedded valuations. 

 

What kind of support do students get in your company?

There is a structured plan for study leave, which depends on the course the student will be examined on. The costs of exam fees and study materials are also covered.


Is there an actuarial student society in the area where you work?

Not a student society as such, but there is the Hellenic Actuarial Society which established the profession in Greece.


What do you believe are the social and economic drivers for actuarial work in Greece? 

The main social-economic drivers are related to healthcare and pension issues. Until recently, the main healthcare coverage was provided by the state but due to the recession, the government’s budget for the healthcare system has been decreased dramatically. 

Therefore, the private healthcare insurance business has already seen notable development, which is expected to increase in the near future. Similarly, the pension system is expected to be restructured, which in combination with an ageing population, can be considered a very hot topic. 


What’s the reputation and image of actuaries Greece? 

In general, the profession is highly regarded – at least by other professionals who know what an actuary does. During the last year, possibly due to the upcoming Solvency II implementation, the number of actuaries has begun to increase. 

The Hellenic Actuarial Society is currently under reorganisation in order to enhance the quality of its study programme.


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

Most actuaries work in insurance companies in actuarial and the risk management functions. They have a very important role within an insurance company, as they have a wide range of responsibilities, such as pricing, reserving, capital modelling.

 

Is the skill set of an actuary being recognised across many non-traditional disciplines in Greece?

It is true for the insurers’ risk management departments, which mostly consist of actuaries. On the other hand, the banking sector has not yet absorbed professionals with actuarial experience; that is expected to happen in the near future.


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

From day one I tried to learn quickly, in depth and with minimum supervision in order to improve my skills and develop professionally. In general, this is something that is encouraged by the company.


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

The immediate goal is to become a qualified actuary. In the long term I would like to specialise in capital modelling related to non-life underwriting risk.


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

A professional that uses applied mathematics and statistics to assess an insurance company’s risks.


How will you celebrate when you qualify?

I will probably organise a multi-day party.