Introduce Yourself: Harish Pawagi


Harish Pawagi

1. Why did you become an actuary?

In high school I was good at subjects involving math—calculus, physics, etc.—and was looking for something math related. An actuary visited our high school and I was able to visit a family friend at work who was an actuary. I got to talk to his co-op student, who really enjoyed her current job and her program at university. So off I went to become an actuary!

2. When you tell people you’re an actuary, what do they think you do?

They know we’re number crunchers and we’re really good at math. Some of the more savvy people complain about their premium rates.

3. Who has inspired you the most during your career? Did you have a mentor in your early career?

Early in my career when I was with Equitable Life, I had a chance to work with Ron Beaubien, the Appointed Actuary. Exposure to his attention to detail and his knowledge of the entire company’s operation were a great starting point for a young actuarial student.

4. What do you enjoy most about your job?

I enjoy helping our clients—whether it's with timely information and advice or the challenge of new calculations or new ways of doing things.

5. What career would you follow if you weren’t an actuary?

Nuclear physicist—at least that was one of the plans in high school. Now it would likely be in the performing arts.

6. What are your hobbies?

Collecting hats! Over 550 and counting. I also enjoy singing and hamming it up on stage whenever I get a chance.

7. What is your favourite music, book, and film?

Favourite group: Rush. Favourite book/author : Tolkien. Favourite film: Star Wars (and in case there are any young people reading this, the Star Wars—the one from 1977).

8. Where is your dream vacation destination?

To visit the Canadian territories. I’ve visited all the provinces—just need to get a warm coat and get going.

9. What do you do better than anyone you know?

Collect hats.

10. If you could be anybody else, alive or dead, who would it be, and why?

Mozart—to be right there in the middle of that incredible music.

Harish Pawagi is an actuary at K-W Actuarial Services.

Canadian Institute of Actuaries/Institut canadien des actuaires