Actuaries from South-East Asia: Napoom Suwannapoom
Fri, October 29, 2021
As part of our global series, we caught up with Napoom Suwannapoom, based in Thailand, to find out more about his journey to becoming an actuary.
Why did you decide to join the actuarial profession?
I have always loved math and puzzle-solving since I was a kid. After high school, I received the government scholarship to study in a field of my choice and I was recommended that the social security office needed actuaries, so it was a natural selection for me.
What do you enjoy in your role?
Here, actuaries have a major influence in social security policy development that affect over 16 million people covered. My role can be considered a start to finish process. Generally starting from listening to employees, employers, and the government for problems to solve, usually on benefit rules to change and amount to increase while working under the contribution budget. Then, I would have to review international social security standards and practices, analyse our own claim data as well as legal constraints, and come up with recommendations. The final part of the role, which is the most unique experience, is to present to the board of stakeholders and work with them to arrive at resolutions that everyone is happy with.
What are the highlights in your career?
I was heavily involved in unemployment policies during COVID-19. The policies were reviewed continuously and revised many times. The best thing we did was to implement something similar to the UK furlough scheme, by allowing employees to stay in their job while receiving income from social security instead of employers for 3 months. It turned out that employers would rotate which employees are furloughed during the 6-month duration of the policy. The scheme ended in September and now over 90% of employees furloughed still remain employed in their job.
What advice would you give to students who are just about to embark on their career as an actuary?
If you are someone who would like to make a social impact, I would encourage you to look at actuarial careers in the public sector. From my experience, social security organisations in Asia are lacking actuaries and you will be surprised how much involved you will be in the development of social security policies.