23 September 2021 | Story Leonie Bolleurs | Photo Supplied
Frans Koning recently obtained a CERA accredited enterprise risk management (ERM) qualification from the Actuarial Society of South Africa.

“If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail.”

“During and after planning, ensure that you identify all risks, since it would be the risks that you did not identify that might sink you.” 

These are two of the beliefs of Frans Koning, Senior Lecturer and Head of the Department of Mathematical Statistics and Actuarial Science at the University of the Free State (UFS), whose outputs in life – whether as lecturer or risk manager – are about planning. 

Koning, a qualified actuary with an interest in corporate governance, has been investing in his growth and development for the past three years by enrolling and obtaining an enterprise risk management (ERM) qualification from the Actuarial Society of South Africa, which is a member of the CERA Global Association (CGA). Having a Chartered Enterprise Risk Actuary (CERA) credential means that he worked through a world-class curriculum that is recognised globally and transferable internationally. This qualification gives professionals greater exposure to the C-suite and leadership, while empowering them to become a more highly valued resource for a company. 

Pulling out all the stops

CGA describes itself as a body that provides accredited risk professionals with strong ERM knowledge to drive better business decisions in finance and insurance. It associates characteristics such as professionalism, ethics and trust, impeccable standards and integrity with students who have obtained the CERA credential. “These professionals can communicate ideas effectively with leadership and is qualified to play varying roles within an organisation, from risk manager to chief risk officer and more,” it states. 

He had to pull out all the stops to obtain this qualification. “This was about 400 hours of study; and absolutely worth it. Since it was very interesting, I did not consider it hard work,” says Koning, who believes in a positive outlook on life. “I have never seen a successful pessimist,” he says. 

This qualification enables him to add extra value in the classroom, teaching Risk Management. Discussing hard questions in class, linking it to practice, i.e., modelling COVID-19 and discussing its effect on life insurance, is what he loves about this profession. He misses student interaction in the classroom, saying that interaction and discussions are not the same with a Blackboard/Teams/Zoom meeting.

A multitude of opportunities 

Koning, who has been with the university since 2003, believes his motivation of students makes a difference in their lives. “Teaching students and seeing them grow into actuaries and chief executive officers of companies gives me great satisfaction,” he states.

He lectures Life Contingencies, which is about calculating life insurance premiums and reserves, as well as Asset and Liability Management, which teaches students about managing the liabilities arising from selling insurance and managing the assets backing these. 

Teaching students and seeing them grow into actuaries and chief executive officers of companies gives me great satisfaction. – Frans Koning


As an independent non-executive director (NED) at African Unity Life (Ltd), he also chairs the risk committee and serves as a member of the audit committee. Koning is of the opinion that this qualification will be useful in more board positions than NED. This is but one of his options. According to him, there are a multitude of opportunities in the private sector, as all entities manage risk.

“I also intend to do some research in the space of enterprise risk management, something which I enjoy,” he adds. 

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