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Actualizing actuarial studies

[photo]
Lutfi El Zein (left) receives a recognition trophy from Dr. Jabbra (middle) and Provost George Najjar (right).

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May 16, 2014—

In a world full of risk and speculation, there will always be career opportunities for an actuary.

Actuaries are risk management experts who work across a broad spectrum of fields, from insurance, banking, healthcare or investment firms. They use their knowledge of mathematics, probability, statistics and financial theory to predict the likelihood of scenarios and to minimize risk.

But despite playing such a crucial role, there are very few actuaries in the Arab world and even fewer actuarial degree programs. Recognizing a gap in the regional market, LAU officially launched an Executive Master in Actuarial Science (EMAAS) on May 15. The program, made possible by a generous donation from MEDGULF comes as demand for qualified actuary professionals soars. “Employment of actuaries is projected to grow 26 percent from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations,” notes the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Actuaries can also look forward to enviable salaries too, with an experienced fellow earning north of $150,000 a year.

Lutfi El Zein, chairman of MEDGULF, said he had been keen to partner with LAU for the program as a way to better serve the needs of the industry. “I was appalled to learn some years ago that in the whole Arab world there are only two or three dozen actuaries, while in the country next to us in the South there are at least 200,” he said. “I came to LAU to ask for help because I wanted to protect the industry. Thank you for listening to me and be assured that we will always be there next to you.”

While the program is primarily targeted at those already working in the insurance industry, Dr. Samer Habre, associate professor of mathematics and assistant dean in the School of Arts and Sciences, says the course will also benefit professionals looking to broaden their knowledge of risk analysis and statistical analysis.

Habre worked closely with Samer Abi Ghanem, lecturer of actuarial studies at LAU, and Antoine Wakim, from the Board of Directors at Allianz SNA, to put together a curriculum for the program, which has been designed to be completed over two years of part-time study. “The Arab region is in dire need of more qualified actuaries and this degree program, which is one of very few Master’s in Actuarial Studies programs in the region should go a long way in redressing that need,” said Habre. “Until recently, the actuary field has been perceived as quite obscure.”


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