One of the organizers and teachers of actuarial courses, Head of Fundamental Mathematics Department of the Faculty of Mechanics and Mathematics of Al Farabi National University, Doctor of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, acting. Prof. Mirbulat Sihov told Lifeinsurance.kz about the peculiarities of these courses.
- Mirbulat Bakhytzhanovich, how do you assess the level of participants of the first basic courses this year?
- The requirements to participants in the first year were tougher, so their level of preparation was also quite high. And this was confirmed by the results of examinations: about half (13) students out of 27 people from the first group passed successfully. The requirements for participants in the second admission of the first course were reduced due to a small number of listeners, so the students admitted to study were less prepared in terms of mathematics.
In contrast to the first admission, the representatives of various companies in the financial sector, including insurance who had graduated from universities a long time ago, and therefore simply forgotten some academic knowledge were involved. This also affected the exam results: about 20% of the total number of listeners passed the exams. About 20 people took the second course.
- Has the curriculum of the second course of actuaries training been expanded?
- The second level course, which also lasts three weeks, was taken by the students who successfully passed the exams of the first level. The peculiarity of the second course is that they will study many different topics not always interconnected, which the actuaries need to know including the main tasks of general insurance, life insurance, investment theory, pensions, health insurance and others.
- What do these courses give to the audience and market in general?
- The only sponsor of these courses is JSC LIC "NOMAD LIFE"; it intends to finance the 3rd and 4th courses under the actuary training program in Kazakhstan this year. We are grateful to the company for contributing to the market development and training of specialists; as they are mostly students, undergraduates of Mechanics and Mathematics Faculty, have got a chance to learn a decent, necessary and well-paid profession, get a good job on the insurance market in particular and the financial market in general.
The cost of actuarial courses is considerable, and it is unlikely they would have had the opportunity to take them this year. As practice shows, the graduates of first two courses are usually hired by insurance companies as actuary assistants, underwriters, or risk managers. They have the opportunity to take further training in the future, even paid actuarial courses, and usually at the expense of their companies that are interested in qualification upgrade of their employees. Thus, these two courses gives great opportunities for both listeners and the insurance market.
The second course classes are held in the Faculty of Mechanics and Mathematics of Al Farabi National University. We would like to thank the faculty management. I would also like to note that the training of actuaries should, in general, be carried out within the walls of universities in future. We are now working in this direction. In particular, this year the "Actuarial Mathematics" major has been opened on the Faculty of Mechanics and Mathematics of Al Farabi National University under the Bachelor's program, and also the preparation of graduate students on this trajectory is on.
Kairat Chegebayev, the Chairman of the Board of JSC LIC "NOMAD LIFE", told why actuaries should be prepared now.
- Actuaries are often employees in other sectors, including underwriting, reinsurance, payments, document support and others. An actuary as a specialist with a deep training in basic things will become a good assistance to any other specialist.
Besides, we expect that the life insurance industry in Kazakhstan, as well as all over the world, will be growing in the long term. If we compare the current fees of life insurance companies with global ones, then, of course, they differ by times. This is partially due to the fact that the level of knowledge, qualification of the industry requires more development to meet world standards. But our advantage is that local actuaries trained by western standards actually bring ready-made knowledge of developed countries, and insurance companies do not need to reinvent the wheel anymore. Their task is simply to take a good actuary for every sector and pass on responsibility to him.
And that is why we initiated such training necessary for our field. By investing in education today, we invest in our common future.
I would also like to add that sometimes students-mathematicians, while studying for a long time on Faculty of Mechanics and Mathematics immerse deeply in science and draw back from solving practical, vital needs. Therefore, by teaching such students to actuarial science, we, on the one hand, give them the opportunity to successfully apply their mathematical knowledge in life, and, on the other hand, we prepare good specialists in the trade.
- Is there any statistics on how many actuaries the market needs?
- There is no such statistics. But, for example, in our company we are constantly recruiting specialists, so, there are about 60 employees work in the head office; many heads of departments, units and the Board have basic actuarial knowledge. Besides, each company needs 3-4 licensed actuary specialists who have completed all six actuarial courses. Such professionals have very good salaries and requirements.
- What is the reason for your decision to finance not just two basic but all of the training courses for students?
- Such a proposal came to us from the Society of Actuaries of Kazakhstan during our discussion with them of the studying process. The fact is that the industry is now very short of licensed actuaries. And if we limit ourselves to only the first-second courses, then, firstly, the salaries of our graduates will not be as high, although they will find where to apply the knowledge they have received. Secondly, they are unlikely to be able to improve their qualifications in the nearest future in connection with the job placement as well as the existing actuaries in the market with a basic education. After all, more advanced from the 3rd to 6th courses in Kazakhstan are held less frequently due to a lack of funding.
Having realized this situation and the fact that these young specialists would give tone to the market in the future, we have decided to finance the following actuarial courses.
But the organization of the third and fourth courses will take a longer time, about half a year, due to the need to agree on training and vacation schedules of specialists with a basic actuarial education that already work in the market and want to continue their education in this science.
- Are the actuarial courses organized by your company this year a trial or you still planning to run them in the following years?
- Of course, we would like to see other market participants support our undertaking and cooperation in terms of training with the Society of Actuaries of Kazakhstan in the future. But we would like to conduct the first two basic and one advanced courses annually. This year, we planned to run more courses, but everything depends on the difficult process of coordinating teacher schedules, class rent and other important points. That is, many things do not depend on us, but we are ready to provide financing.
In the photo:
- Students of actuarial courses together with their teacher Mirbulat Bakhytzhanovich Sikhov;
- Kairat Chegebayev, the Chairman of the Board of LIC "NOMAD LIFE".