Since 2018 the IFoA has attended the Labour Party and Conservative Party conferences, which offer an opportunity for us to engage with political and policy stakeholders on our key policy priorities. It was great to see that our fringe sessions drew large, engaged audiences and fostered excellent discussions.
First was the Labour Party conference in Liverpool, where delegates, buoyed by the party’s polling lead, were optimistic about returning to power at the next election. Our fringe event focused on our Poverty Premium campaign, where former General Insurance Board chair Sameer Keshani was joined by Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Jonathan Ashworth MP and Treasury Select Committee member Emma Hardy MP.
The mood at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham was gloomier, with many MPs staying away. A highlight was our panel discussion on ‘demographic dilemmas’ and how we can provide long-term sustainable support for an ageing population. IFoA member Stuart McDonald spearheaded the discussion, and panellists included Financial Times columnist and former head of the No 10 Policy Unit Camilla Cavendish and Alzheimer’s campaigner John Teeling, who gave a moving account of his own experience.
Overall, the conference season once again showed the value of face-to-face engagement, allowing us to continue building the IFoA’s reputation as a trusted voice and increase awareness of actuaries’ expertise on some of society’s biggest challenges.