The Arab Actuarial Conference Couldn’t Have Come at a Better Time!
Nearly everything in life does not come from the blue or by chance; but rather takes its natural time for circumstances to mature to fruition. Such were the conditions of the birth of the first regional actuarial conference for the Arab region! There has been a number of factors and conditions converging and forming this wonderfully favorable climate.
The most obvious of these, there have been financial standards that have become effective, such as ( IFRS 17) which require thorough actuarial examination of all insurance business and contracts, to be provided to the external auditors. Without such assessment, there will be no approval of the insurance companies’ final accounts.
These requirements and other concerns related to the quality of insurance risks underwritten made several financial/ insurance regulators in the region impose changes relating to building robust inhouse actuarial functions within operating insurance companies. This was also sometimes reinforced by talk of regulators extensively on the necessity of building actuarial capacity in local markets and within insurance companies. Driven by this new trend, some regulators even spoke about becoming the hub for actuarial training and services in the region. All of this has been happening in the last two years or so!
In the academic space, and as a reflection to the local market conditions on the ground, most Arab universities, till ten years ago, did not offer actuarial major in their undergraduate programs. Even if they existed in some countries, they were in one or two universities at most, because the actuarial profession itself was not sufficiently known, and the need did not arise at a market level as conspicuously as it is today. Now, the situation has been reversed and actuarial sciences are available in most Arab countries; if not in all universities, then they are available in at least one university in each country.
In terms of professional and trade formations, there is the recently formed and active Arab Actuarial Association, which is led by the capable and energetic Egyptian actuary, Mohamed Aly Soliman and his colleagues; and there is a new movement led by the charismatic Secretary-General of the General Arab Insurance Federation, Mr. Chakib Abu Zaid, who has great influence in the Arab insurance industry, to establish an association of Arab actuaries during the current month. A meeting is being held on 17th of this month in Lebanon. Undoubtedly, the Arab region, with its population size, number of regions, and current economic growth, can accommodate more than one actuarial association on a regional magnitude.
And last but not least, there is the relentless pursuit of international actuarial institutes and associations that grant fellowship certificates to actuaries, such as SOA, IoFA and IAA, which seek to attract new members from around the world, including Arab countries. Therefore, they look for opportunities to integrate and have active presence in every forum, initiative and institution in which actuaries are present in order to link them to the membership and training programs they offer.
For all the aforementioned reasons and parallel efforts being exerted, it was necessary to have a regional platform that embraces this movement and provides it with a point of convergence and integration. Hence, the “Arab Actuarial Conference” had to be born.