An Actuary Like Me – Prechhya Mathema
I am proud to be an actuary because I have been able to contribute positively to Nepalese society.
Prechhya Mathema qualified as FIA in 2004 , and has 20 years of actuarial, reinsurance and risk management experience in the UK, and three years in Nepal. Currently a Consulting Actuary for Nepal Insurance Authority (Insurance Regulator), she is the founding President of the Actuarial Society of Nepal, which was established in 2019, and the only qualified Fellow in Nepal. Prechhya has been privileged to work for the Nepalese Government to help bridge the technical gaps and build capabilities to make the insurance sector more resilient, and to aid in the transition towards a risk-based approach.
What is the most valuable skill an actuary can possess?
What is your advice for younger/rising actuaries?
Keep persevering to achieve your goals. Always be curious and ask questions. Find your passion and use your skills and knowledge to fulfil that passion.
What’s something an outsider wouldn’t know about your industry?
Something an outsider wouldn’t know about our industry is how all of the actuarial work in Nepal is currently outsourced to actuarial consultancy firms abroad. None of the insurance and reinsurance companies have actuarial models in-house as well as there is no resident actuary in any of the 35 insurance companies.
Any other cities/countries you have worked in?
Prior to moving to Kathmandu in 2018, I worked in London for 20 years.
What’s the most interesting trend for 2023?
ChatGPT and other generative AI tools. This will change the world, and our profession.
Where do you see the biggest growth opportunities for actuaries?
The use of actuarial skills and knowledge to tackle climate-related issues and further develop sustainable insurance.
What is your favourite random fact?
My Dutch Rabbit, Snowblack, is toilet-trained and waits patiently by the bathroom door when he needs to go but the bathroom is occupied!
What is on your bucket list?
To visit the Seven Wonders of the World in next five years! I have already visited Petra, Christ the Redeemer, Colosseum and Taj Mahal — three more to go! Also, to go to Everest base camp and visit Bhutan.
If you had millions of dollars, what would you do every day?
I would worry less about my finances! I would work to improve the education and health of women and girls all over Nepal.
If you lived 500 years in the future, what do you think your profession would be?
My profession would be an actuary…but calculating the risk of crop failure on Mars and some of Saturn’s moons!
What’s the phone app you use most?
Hamro Patro (a Nepalese calendar app), which helps to convert Nepalese calendar dates to/from Gregorian calendar dates. Nepal follows Bikram Sambat, a lunisolar calendar, combining both the lunar calendar, which follows different phases of the Moon, and the time of the Solar year. Every time we have meetings with international organisations, which we frequently do, we need to keep converting the dates and ensure they don’t clash with public holidays in Nepal, as there are around 40 to 50 public holidays in a year!
What do you do to recharge each day?
I listen to music, go for a short walk and, best of all, spend time with our family bunny, Snowblack.
What do you like to do in your free time? What are your hobbies?
I enjoy going out with my friends, and go hiking with my kids around the hills on the outskirts of Kathmandu.
Which session/s at ICA2023 are you most looking forward to?
Sessions focusing on climate risk-related topics (e.g., Climate Finance Framework and the role of actuaries, factoring climate and sustainable risks with capital requirements), and IFRS 17 topics (e.g., running an ORSA on IFRS 17 financial statements).
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