Insurance companies are engaged in a battle for actuaries, with demand for professionals rising ahead of a global accounting change expected from January 1.
Actuaries help underwriters to price policies optimally besides managing risk and maximising returns on investments.
The IFRS 17 accounting standard will change accounting for insurance contracts and aims to remove inconsistencies besides improving the comparison of companies.
Industry experts say small insurers are struggling to retain and hire actuaries due to higher costs associated while multinationals have also been faced with the exit of their employees.
“There is a lot of movement of actuaries in the insurance world, some even going to the UK. The new standards are complex and forcing companies to rework their resourcing,” said David Limo, head of the IFRS 17 Working Party at The Actuarial Society of Kenya (Task).
Gauri Shah, actuarial and risk services leader at PwC East Africa, echoed his sentiments, saying the shortage of actuaries is because the IFRS 17 demands higher skills of modelling and requires accounting specialists.
As a result, 11 out of 38 new actuaries who joined the profession in 2019 have left Kenya for the US, UK, Middle East, Hong Kong, Rwanda and South Africa.
The migration is also tied to high pay in advanced markets paying experienced actuaries Sh4 million per month.
The number of students pursuing actuarial science as a course has been increasing rapidly over the years.
However, high qualifications and competition from other sectors that use actuaries including pensions, investments and banking have increased the demand for professionals.
There are more than 10,000 students that leave universities every year but only a few enrol and qualify for Fellowship Actuarial Examination.
The number of qualified actuaries was 114 since 1994 after 38 joined in 2019, however, a total of 23 have since left Kenya to work in other countries.
The average starting salary for a qualified actuary is Sh500,000, while an experienced one can be paid between Sh1 million and Sh2 million.
The monthly salary range being offered by advanced markets for qualified actuaries is between Sh2 million and Sh4 million with an additional free visa processing and emigration bonus.