In the spotlight this month is Mbali Maipeng Thubisi (33), one of the few female actuaries in the country.
I finished school in 1998 and studied a four-year degree in Bachelor of Economic Science at the University of the Witwatersrand (WITS).
My career kicked off at Hannover Life Reinsurance Africa. Reinsurance companies insure insurance companies; one of my responsibilities there included calculating various financial results based on the reinsured business.I interacted with and reported data to our auditors, assisted in calculating the value of the company to the shareholders and reported various financial results to the head office in Germany. I spent seven years with the company.
As an actuarial specialist I am part of the Insurance Profit Management team at Liberty. Many people don’t know exactly what my job entails. Simply put, an actuary is a person qualified to calculate commercial risks and probabilities involving uncertain future events for companies, especially in such contexts as life assurance. Most actuaries work for life and health insurers, but some may work for auto and property insurers. Actuaries who work for insurance companies perform many duties, including data research and setting premium rates.
An actuary’s survival guide. Actuaries and actuarial students fulfil various roles in companies. Some focus on work that is mainly back-office (technical calculations) and others interact with a variety of people within the company (product development and pricing). Being analytical, curious, hardworking and confident is an advantage.
Monthly salaries vary by financial sector (e.g. insurance, banking, investments etc.), company policy and work role. When an actuarial student starts working their starting salary could take into account the number of exemptions they received in their qualification exams at university. So, it’s difficult to say how much you can expect to make because monthly salaries vary from those received by actuarial students to those received by actuaries who are CEOs of companies.
My advice to aspiring actuaries is to speak to those who are already part of the profession, visit websites such as the Actuarial Society of South Africa (www.actuarialsociety.co.za). Find out what the entry requirements are in order to be accepted into the actuarial science course at university or to start writing the qualification exams. My advice is to excel in maths and science.
Did You Know?
A newly qualified actuary could earn between R550 000 and R700 000 per annum excluding bonuses and other incentives. Experienced actuaries (not top management) could earn up to R800 000 and R1 200 000 per annum excluding bonuses and other incentives.
Pictures: Shaun Smith Make-up: Kele Kegakilwe Stylist: Nondumiso Mazwi