The COVID-19 Actuaries Response Group was one of the winners at InsuranceERM's 2021 annual awards for Europe last week following its contribution to the industry during the pandemic.
Launched in March last year, the group comprises a diverse range of talents, including actuaries and medical experts, who have volunteered their time to help understand the nature of COVID-19 and its implications for society.
It produces a report every Friday, along with a handful papers during an average week, and last month published its 100th bulletin.
This work has been widely cited, notably by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), and one paper regarding the mortality benefit of vaccinating priority groups was quoted from by UK prime minister Boris Johnson.
“We are delighted to receive this award,” said Matthew Edwards, actuary at Willis Towers Watson and one of the group's founders. “It’s a reflection of the enormous amount of time and effort a lot of people have given as their way of helping in the crisis.
“The original purpose was to help actuaries in thinking and responding to the pandemic but audience has grown well beyond that.
“We believe we have been successful at clarifying complexity in many important areas relevant to the spread and impact of the pandemic and the effect of the vaccines, attracting coverage across the national and trade media.”
The group’s story began when Stuart McDonald, head of demographic assumptions and methodology at Lloyds Banking Group and Fellow of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA), posted a tweet on the possible impact of COVID-19 on mortality if left to spread unconstrained.
This caught the eye of IFoA president Tan Suee Chieh, and the pair had a quick discussion of ideas before making contact with others who had similar concerns, and the group met for the first time in early March 2020.
Chris Cundy, editor at Insurance ERM, said: “The judges' award is usually made to an individual, but this year the panel decided to award it to the group of people who have contributed to the COVID-19 Actuaries Response Group.
“All the volunteer members of the group have made a superb effort to research and communicate crucial information about COVID-19.
“They have really showcased the risk management and modelling skills of actuaries, and their work has been recognised throughout the industry and to the very top of government.”
Image credit: iStock
Author: Chris Seekings