Leading Actuarial Service Provider Bets on Capacity Building to Promote Profession

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Ezekiel Macharia, Chief Actuary & MD, Kenbright

In addition to providing consultancy services, Kenbright Actuarial and Financial Services has partnered with various stakeholders to unlock the actuarial profession and capacity

Established in 2015, Kenbright Actuarial and Financial Services (KAFS) has continued to grow over the years to become one of the leading financial and actuarial service providers in the Kenyan market.

According to Ezekiel Macharia, Chief Actuary and Managing Director at Kenbright, the subsidiary was set up to boost and support the provision of actuarial services in the East and Central African market.  “We felt there was need for actuarial capacity building, hiring of actuaries, improving data in Africa in terms of analytics and risk management.”

The actuarial firm was established at a time when most Kenyan companies still relied on outsourcing actuarial services from foreigners. This, according to Ezekiel, is however changing and he is delighted that Kenbright is part of the change.

“I believe there is more knowledge about the actuarial profession in the market. We are also offering additional services, besides having a greater understanding of the African market,” he offers. Essentially, local actuarial support goes a long way to provide solutions based on local knowledge and insights.

The actuarial industry is currently growing promptly and the number of students pursuing actuarial science has been increasing rapidly over the years. There are more institutions of higher learning offering a degree in actuarial science. Besides, the Insurance Regulatory Authority is sponsoring at least five students every year to pursue their masters in the United Kingdom, boosting actuarial capacity in the country.

Today, Kenya holds the second highest number of fully qualified actuaries in Africa, from South Africa.

Home-grown firm

KAFS is a subsidiary of Kenbright Holding Limited, which also provides insurance brokerage, reinsurance brokerage and health administration.

Founded in 1993, Kenbright is the only insurance brokerage house that is home-grown and locally owned with fully qualified actuaries. The firm is banking on the long existence of the mother company, and is focusing on leveraging on its actuarial capability to support the market.

The firm offers a wide range of consultancy services on key areas that include enterprise risk management, product development, actuarial, pension, investment and other related areas.

“We help insurance companies develop actuarial valuation report that has become a key requirement in Kenya,” says Ezekiel.

Furthermore, the firm provides capacity building, and it’s currently in a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Strathmore University to increase knowledge base of the insurance and reinsurance market and investment opportunities.

KAFS also trains local actuarial students by signing up interns from various universities, besides supporting students programs, events and boot camps.

Additionally, the establishment of the Actuarial Academy of East Africa will play a major role in training and mentorship.

As an active member of The Actuarial Society of Kenya (TASK), where Ezekiel once served on the council, KAFS is determined to play a major role in promoting the actuarial profession in the country. This will also be achieved by creating collaboration with regulators across the East African region.

Roles of an actuary

An actuary is a combination of an accountant, statistician and modeler. They have technical skills in finance, mathematics and statistics. Actuaries are actually in the finance world and their role is to measure the probability and predict risks in various sectors including insurance, banking, healthcare, pension, climate change among others.

To become an actuary, one is required to complete a degree in actuarial science, complete and pass a series of professional papers and have requisite work experience.

However, Ezekiel says that actuarial is one of the least understood professions in the market. In this regard, the firm is developing partnerships with universities and other stakeholders to unlock the actuarial profession and capacity.

“TASK is 25 years old now and we expect in the next five years, capacity building will be much broader both for the financial and non-financial sectors,” says Ezekiel. “For me, the future is actually data analysis, which is bread and butter for an actuary,” he adds.

Bright future

So far, Kenbright has achieved major milestones including celebrating 25 years in business, working with the government in the health sector, product development for insurance companies, and opening up branches in Uganda and Tanzania to provide support to the East African market.

For Ezekiel, the company’s future is bright. “In the medium term, we want to provide the first block chain based financial products in Kenya that actually work, besides developing tools to help analyze risks.”

Kenbright also plans to develop tools for the small and medium-sized enterprises (SME), as Kenya is basically an SME market; and pricing tools for the insurance sector.

In the short term, the firm wants to provide strong capacity in the market. “We want the market to become a one stop shop for all your financial, risks, and training needs.”

As part of expansion strategy, the company wants to open an actuarial consultancy branch in Rwanda. This is as per its vision of becoming an East African based company.

In the long term, Kenbright hopes to develop more multiple based tools in order to tap into the already existing talent.

TASK AT 25

The Actuarial Society of Kenya is celebrating its 25th anniversary, and this, according to Ezekiel, is a major milestone. “We’re very excited and we see TASK maturing in the next five years.”

The Society has also become more dominant in terms of market support, and commenting on national issues. This is a key achievement for a professional that is over 100 years old globally, but relatively new in Kenya.

“We are however happy with the growth, and if the country can get 100 actuaries by 2020, we can play a bigger role in actuarial provision not only in East Africa, but also in Sub-Saharan Africa.”

We are very happy to be in the market and congratulate TASK for its achievement.