Actuarial science is no longer confined to traditional fields such as life insurance and the retirement fund industry.
Instead, actuarial skills are now also sought after in industries as diverse as banking, healthcare and mining.
"As all these industries rely heavily on data and systems integrity, cyber security has become a key challenge for actuaries," explains Mia Geringer, chair of the Systems and Technology Practice Area Committee of The Actuarial Society of South Africa.
The Actuarial Society of SA established the committee with cybersecurity high on its list of priorities.
"Actuaries around the globe are getting to grips with quantifying and managing cybersecurity risk and making provision for the potential financial implications of cyberattacks. South African actuaries are no exception," the society said in a statement.
It noted that the World Economic Forum (WEF), in its Global Risks Report for 2018, highlighted cyber security as a growing issue with disruptive potential. According to the report, attacks against businesses have almost doubled in the last five years, and the financial impact of cyber security breaches is rising.
"In SA, a number of companies have experienced embarrassing and worrying data breaches - including one life insurer," said the society.
"As risk professionals, actuaries are well positioned to cost and price for financial losses following a cyber attack. This is, however, a new field, and actuaries need to be made more aware of how they can reduce cyber risk within a company."
"At the same time, actuaries could find themselves being the targets of cyberattacks, and they owe a duty of care to clients to minimise the risks of any data breach, and to mitigate the consequences should such a breach occur."
Geringer said a key challenge for the committee was the issue that there were no one-size-fits-all protocols on technology and cybersecurity, as different industries and companies operate different systems. The committee has, therefore, established sub-committees that will deal with the risks and challenges unique to each industry.
The committee is on track to release the first set of systems and technology guidance notes for actuaries early in 2019.
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