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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Births, deaths and marriages

David Hepburn Craighead

The words “great”, “pioneer” and “father figure” are all too commonly used these days, but they truly describe one of the leading actuaries of our time, David Craighead, who died on Saturday 2 August 2008.

To summarise his greatest achievements briefly, David was responsible for actuaries having such a dominant, well respected and important place within Lloyd’s of London. He actively encouraged young actuaries into the London market. He always had time to discuss a specific actuarial problem or issue. He introduced new and innovative methods into general insurance work, but these methods had to have a clear theoretical approach and justification. Moreover, he did so much of this work when other actuaries of his age were in retirement.

David was born in South Africa in 1918 and was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship in 1938. He qualified as an actuary in 1949 while practising in life assurance. When his political involvement caused him to be banned, he came to the UK in 1966. His initial contribution to Lloyd’s syndicates and managing agents was in computer software development, and his assistance was sorely needed. His skills were recognized and he soon became involved in aspects of problem solving within the market. When the Inland Revenue believed that some Lloyd’s syndicates were over reserved in the 1970’s, David supported the estimates of reserves by statistical techniques. Of course, in these days, David had no other actuaries to turn to; he was a pioneer in the true sense of the word. At this time, David realised that he could not provide the necessary support that the syndicates required by himself, so he encouraged other actuaries to become involved and work within Lloyd’s and the London market.

At the actuarial profession’s annual GIRO conference, he would write and present interesting and exciting papers on London market topics that generated much interest within the profession. He also wrote a sessional paper and finally a book about the London market. Most importantly, in the early 1980’s, David founded the London Market Actuaries Group. Initially, the members met around a small dining table for lunch each month. (It now numbers in the hundreds.) By the mid 1980’s, the group had grown to nearly 20 including a number of dynamic characters within the market, but it was clear that the leader and father figure was undoubtedly David Craighead.

At that time, most Lloyd’s managing agents and London market companies had only one actuary at most, so it was reassuring for us to know that we could raise relevant issues at the monthly LMAG meetings, and if more urgent, we could just pop round to see David and obtain his valuable and experienced opinion. He was never too busy to see us, and he was always willing to give his opinion, to assist and to advise.

The late 1980’s and early 1990’s were a golden age for London market actuaries with their numbers, research and influence growing enormously every year. However, at this time, our father figure began to step back. David cut down on his client work and passed over the chair of the LMAG. However, he closely followed the London market and the role of actuaries within it, by attending meetings and corresponding, especially when he (often) felt very strongly about some particular issues.

David and his wonderful wife Kathleen moved to near Totnes, off Dartmoor, where they both kept in close touch with many of us. David kept a close eye on his stock market shares and naturally had his own methods for share selection and timings for purchase and sale.

In 1997, the Institute of Actuaries honoured David by awarding him the Finlaison medal, which we all believed that he richly deserved. David will be sadly missed by his many friends and the LMAG. We will especially miss his warm smile and hearty laugh. He was a great man and a credit to our profession.

Colin J W Czapiewski

Edward Maguire (Generali) and his wife Glenda are delighted to announce the birth of their daughter Ciara Éilis, on 15 July.

Jane Weiss (Aon) and Tom Weiss, are happy to announce the birth of their son, William Jack Roberto, on 29 July, a brother for Venetia.

Kevin Burgess (Punter Southall in Wokingham) and Michelle Burgess (Aon in Farnborough) had a beautiful baby girl called Gabriella Rose Burgess on 8 August.

Jack Mak (Watson Wyatt, Hong Kong) and wife Svetlana would like to announce the birth of their baby boy Alexander, who was born on 23 July.

Clare Meuren née Slater (Delta Lloyd Deutschland) and Dr Stephan Meuren (Towers Perrin) are pleased to announce the birth of their second son Dominik James on 9 July.

Nilesh Dodhia, partner in Barnett Waddingham died peacefully of cancer in the Michael Sobell hospice, located at Mount Vernon Hospital, on 4 September, aged 46. Nilesh worked for Barnett Waddingham from its very beginning in 1989, qualifying as a fellow of the Institute of Actuaries in 1996. He will be much missed by family, friends and colleagues.

Peter Charles Wickens died on 10 August, aged 96. He became a fellow of the Institute in 1942.

John Norman Darvell died on 14 August, aged 64. He became a fellow of the Faculty in 1971. John represented the Faculty on committees of the International Actuarial Association (IAA), particularly the Insurance Regulation Committee, as a member of which John made a significant contribtuion to the IAA’s risk margin work. John was also a long-serving member of the supervision committee of the Profession’s Life Board, where he was noted for his depth of contribution and attention to detail. In recent years, John served as secretary to the Scottish Actuaries’ Club.

Graham Bernard Reid died on 29 August, aged 87. He became a fellow of the Institute in 1959.

Peter James Saunders (Swiss Re) married Kirsty Liversidge on 24 May in Finchingfield, Essex.