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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Editorial: Quarterly review

The first quarter of 2009 has stormed by, literally in some places, though not without leaving significant financial debris in its wake. Yet more institutional giants have been felled and the rating agencies, caught napping last year, have had their wake-up call. AIG reported the worst quarterly loss in corporate history and outrage over unjust compensation packages, political drama and more government bail-outs continue to dominate the headlines.

There are, however, different angles to every story. If I imagine myself at my (admittedly distant) retirement age, I would consider my situation less than wretched if my £700k pension, in today’s terms, was the cause of national debate. Tilting the lens, Paul Thornton and Richard Hall highlight in their article the concerns of sponsors and trustees in a deep recession.

This month’s issue focuses on healthcare, reinsurance and general insurance. I see glimmers of hope in these industries as general insurance and reinsurance rates show signs of hardening. Visit our website (www.the-actuary.org.uk) for an informative piece on the history of reinsurance, and for readers attending the Health and Care Conference in May previewed on page 34, our healthcare features provide some relevant refreshers.

Thank you to the well-wishers from all corners of the globe that have made my first month as editor a delight. Please continue to send in your letters and articles; the success of this magazine is highly reliant upon contributions from readers, and the diversity of content makes the magazine a pleasure to both edit and read.

Finally, good luck to all the students preparing for their upcoming exams. I hope that you find the tips on this month’s student page a useful supplement to your diligent studies.

Marjorie Ngwenya