The Future of the Actuarial Profession in Africa.
The actuarial profession has found its place in the corporate world where the operational and financial risk factors are put into consideration for the success of the organisation. Most corporate organisations, especially insurance companies and the banking sectors, have an established risk department which is basically the platform through which actuaries are presented with the opportunity to provide their invaluable services. Over the years however, many organisations have been overlooking the importance attached to having such a department, which has in the long run translated to inevitable business failures. The directive by Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA) to have all insurance companies have an actuarial department simply comes as a definition of the crucial role the actuaries have in handling of risks. If we are to go by the skill set needed for any Insurance company, it would trickle down to the similar point, the actuaries play the larger, most sensitive and crucial roles.
A keen eye on the reason behind the lack of an actuarial department reveals that the management in such companies have been looking into cutting costs spent on the workforce. The honest bit to accept is that hiring an actuary would be expensive for any insurance company that doesn’t consider the paramount importance of the actuaries. Such would be the logic applied by corporate heads overlooking the fact that risk as a factor is always constant.
About ten years ago, little was known of this profession and not even the African students had their ambitions directed toward s being actuaries, let alone knowing of the existence of the profession itself. With time however, the knowledge has become widespread among the African students. Standing at the present moment, one thing is clear, there is sufficient knowledge about the profession and its significance is beyond the need for justification. Universities and higher learning institutions have experienced a great increase in the number of students enrolling for the study of Actuarial Science as a course. The numbers of universities being certified to offer the course are also growing by the day.
The recent past years have come with a dynamic shift and creation of emphasis on entrepreneurship. Enterprise sectors have been mushrooming all around and with access to loans and sources of funding, it has been easier to expand such enterprises. . The current competitive economic growth rate of African countries supports the growth of enterprise sectors. In the long run, this too has worked to enable actuaries define their skills set since these sectors just like the larger corporate bodies require an (Enterprise Risk Management) ERM department.
The prevailing fact is that actuaries’ futures could not get any brighter. The ever growing recognition of their profession and the constant need of their skills in the corporate sectors is the actual proof of how lucrative the profession is getting with time. Another supporting fact is the enrolment of a higher number of campus students to undertake the Actuarial science course. This actually shows that there is a ready supply of the demand created by today’s risk-prone business environment.
Future actuaries have a stronger foundation set for them by the day with the nature of work done in the present world by the existing actuaries. There is however need for actuaries in all African countries to have a convention like the CAS Spring Meeting held in 2012. In the CAS Spring Meeting, the actuaries concurred on the urgency for the redefinition of the scope of work that actuaries should handle in enterprises and corporate worlds. The main reason behind making such a comprehensive move was to ensure that the actuarial profession is secured from competitive new breed of graduates possessing quite advanced mathematical and statistical skills which if left to take root in the corporate world would pose a threat to the actuarial profession. However promising the future may appear, this fact should not be overlooked by actuaries in Kenya and Africa too. There should be some urgency with which the scope definition should be addressed with to boost the confidence of the many scholars who are in the process of forging their way to earn the prestigious title and profession too. The professional standard s set by actuaries should always be a bar higher than that of statistical experts who design predictive models.
All said however, actuarial departments are a must have for all corporate institutions regardless of the high costs incurred in hiring the actuaries, which is actually justified by the nature of preparation at scholarly levels and the nature of skills necessary for such businesses that are in their possession.