Under the Spotlight Asia – Rajivan Krishnan

Rajivan Krishnan (Actuarial Manager, AIA Life Insurance Cambodia) features in the latest edition of the special Under the Spotlight Asia series.

Summarise yourself in one sentence…Someone who is always smiling even in stressful work conditions.

My interesting/quirky hobbies…I am a big fan of playing football (soccer). It’s something I look forward to every week.

I’d like to be brave enough to…To take two years’ leave from work and backpack around the world. I like exploring different countries and experiencing different cultures. Hopefully one day I can have the courage to make this happen! 

Short description of my career…I started my actuarial career while studying at Macquarie University as a part-time actuarial analyst with AustralianSuper. Upon graduating from university, I started my full-time job with RGA Reinsurance in Hong Kong and later was transferred to the Kuala Lumpur branch. I then moved to a direct insurer called MCIS Life in Kuala Lumpur for a product and pricing role. The next move was with AXA Shared services where I provided actuarial consulting services to AXA entities in Asia. After exploring different actuarial roles, I decided I would put my foot down on a pricing role. Actuarial pricing is where my interest lies and hence I decided to take up a pricing manager role with AIA Cambodia. 

I became an actuary because…I was introduced to the actuarial profession by my high school teacher, as I was good with mathematics. I later got a Malaysian Government Scholarship to pursue a bachelor’s degree in actuarial studies at Macquarie University. In university, I felt that the degree was quite challenging and decided that maybe I was not cut out to be an actuary. However, I landed an actuarial internship in my second year with Prudential Malaysia. I really enjoyed my internship experience and decided then that I would pursue an actuarial career. 

Where I studied to become an actuary and qualifications obtained…I completed my bachelor’s degree in actuarial studies with Macquarie University and obtained my FIAA and CERA qualification in 2019.

What I find most interesting about my current role…Cambodia’s insurance industry is still in its infancy. There isn’t enough data to price a product. This creates an interesting challenge for a pricing actuary. In developed markets, pricing actuaries have enough internal data. So the interesting part of my role is to find a sensible and actuarily justified approach to pricing a product.   

Who has been the biggest influence on my career (and why)…There are two people that help me with my career and made me who I am today:

  • First is my previous manager in AustralianSuper, Thierry Bareau. He provided me with the opportunity for my first actuarial role. The experience I gained with Thierry, provided me with the stepping stone to other actuarial roles including my move to RGA Reinsurance in Hong Kong.

  • The second biggest influence I had on my career was my mentor in RGA, Junaid. He is a qualified actuary with the IFoA and currently the Head of Risk for AIA Takaful Malaysia. He has always provided me with sensible advice about my career and was my main motivator for my actuarial exams. 

 

I would like to take this opportunity to show my gratitude to both of them.

The most valuable skill an actuary can possess is…As we all know, actuaries are good with numbers but often we find it difficult to translate these numbers into good insights for management. Hence an important skill that makes an actuary valuable is to be able to provide good insights from available information and communicate them effectively to the decision-makers.

My best advice for younger actuaries…Explore many different actuarial disciplines when you are a junior actuary (i.e. pricing, reporting, risk management). Not only does this help you to find which discipline your passion lies in, but it also helps you to understand how the different actuarial disciplines interact which each other.

My vision for the profession in Cambodia…The actuarial profession is very new in Cambodia, as many actuaries come from other countries. Recently a few actuaries from different insurance companies in Cambodia started the Cambodian Actuarial Working Group (CAWG). CAWG has a goal to build awareness of the profession and to encourage more Cambodians to explore a career as an actuary. My vision is to see the actuarial profession grow in Cambodia as we see more local universities offering actuarial courses. 

Members of the Cambodian Actuarial Working Group.

What advice I would give actuaries planning to work in Asia…My advice is to take the opportunity to work in Asia. The insurance industry in Asia is very exciting as insurance companies in Asia are always coming out with innovative products in the market. This is challenging for an actuary but at the same time very intellectually stimulating and rewarding.

Read more Under the Spotlight profiles.

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