Farid is an actuary, graduated in 2006 from the National School of Statistics and Applied Economics of Algiers. He holds a PhD in Statistics from the same institution. He joined the Center for Research in Applied Economics in the mid-2012. He created the “Actuarial Demography Team” at CREAD in January 2018. The team is dedicated to demographic modeling for life insurance, social security and retirement-related issues. He is an expert member of the National Committee for Population belonging to the Algerian Health Ministry and a member of the technical committee of the Multi Indicators Cluster Survey (wave 6) by UNICEF-Algiers. He is also a member of the Mortality Working Group of the IAA.How many practicing actuaries do you have?
In the absence of a national actuarial association, it is tough to provide an accurate estimate of the total number of actuarial science practitioners. However, there are around 500 practitioners within insurance companies, banks, social security, the Finance Ministry and academia.
What is the word for actuary in your local language?
The Arabic translation is hassib mokhatara.
When was actuarial science first introduced?
Actuarial science was first introduced in the late 1990s within the department of mathematics at the University of Houari Boumedien (USTHB). It was a “Post-Graduation Specialisé (PGS)” (Post- Graduate Specialization Program), the first class having graduated in 1998. In 2004, the National School of Statistics and Applied Economics (ENSSEA) introduced a graduate program in actuarial science, with the first class finishing in 2006 (myself included). In 2015, the school of social security was inaugurated, including a Master’s program in actuarial sciences for social security. At the same time, many universities around the country introduced Master’s and PhD programs in actuarial science (Biskra, Annaba, Constantine, among others).
What is your favorite part about being an actuary?
Going deep into the nature of risks.
Can you share an interesting anecdote or two from your career?
Anecdotes!! There are many. Being an actuary working on mortality modeling, I started my career by investigating mortality of the global population. Then, someone who was a demographer emailed me and said “Farid, you are an actuary, not a demographer. Demography is not only about forecasting past trends into the future, etc., etc., etc.” Reading that email today, I realize I should thank the sender; he inspired me to create the “Actuarial Demography Team” which perfectly reflects the interaction between demographics and actuarial science.
Do you have any advice for young people in your country interested in pursuing this career?
If you love it, if you like risk, do it.
What are some of the highlights of the history of the actuarial profession in your country?
JAVA: Journée d’Actuariat Vie Algérie (Life Actuarial Conference in Algeria), with its first edition in January 2016, there have been 7 total up until now.
What are some of the main challenges and projects for your association over the next 5-10 years?
For our team? There are many projects: organizing an international conference, creating a national association, publishing more papers in international actuarial journals. However, there is an ongoing research project on “The Future of Health, Longevity and aging : implications for life insurance and social security.”
What have you seen from inside your company? Where do you think the changes to actuarial work in your country will happen in the next five years?
We will see changes from the move from an oil-based economy to a productivity-based one.
Who are the main employers of actuaries?
Social security (CNR, CASNOS, CNAS, CNAC), insurance companies (Tala, Amana, SAA, CAAT), insurance regulators (Finance ministry, BST, CNA) and, to a lesser extent,academia.
What qualifications do you find most important for upcoming actuaries?
Statistics & probability, mathematics, and data science.
What is the credentialing procedure like for an actuary in your country?
There are no specific requirements for an actuary in Algeria compared to a Statistician or a Banker, only a degree in actuarial science is required. Being a certified actuary would be a plus. The university programs are not yet well adapted to the educational standards of the International Actuarial Association (IAA) since there is no national association yet. Once this association comes to being, it needs to become an IAA member. To this end, adapting the Master’s programs to the IAA standards will be required. However, there are some actuaries here who have studied abroad.
What is your favorite Excel function and why?
It is useful for implementing simple models; however, for demographic and actuarial modeling, I prefer R.
Do you have any non-actuarial hobbies?
Yes—soccer, dominos, and literature.
What could people from outside of your country do to help the profession grow in Algeria?
Provide voluntary, complimentary trainings as the one we had with Ms. Arpita DAS from Actuaries Without Borders in December 2018 on “Data Science for Life and Health Insurance.”
Is there anything else you would like to add?
The Actuarial Demography Team was created in January 2018. We work with modeling demographic phenomena and their impact on life insurance, social security and retirement in Algeria. Our work is more advanced in the areas of mortality & longevity modeling and retirement sustainability. Many papers have been published in scientific journals. We are currently seeking to improve our scope in the areas of big data and data science. For more information see: http://www.cread.dz/Actuarial_Demography/Actuarial_Demography.htm