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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Obituary: Maurice Ogborn

Maurice Edward Ogborn, who died on 23 July 2003 at the age of 95, was a leading actuary of his generation best known as the joint author, with Mr NE Coe, of the first comprehensive textbook on the practice of life assurance specially commissioned for the use of actuarial students.

Having qualified as a fellow of the Institute of Actuaries in 1932, he served the Institute in a wide variety of capacities, including as a vice-president from 1955 to 1958.

His contributions to actuarial thought had their roots in the mainstream of actuarial development stemming from its earliest days at the end of the 18th century. In Equitable Assurances, the history of the first 200 years of the company to which he devoted his long career, he unfolded the story of the origins of scientific life assurance. His sense of history was similarly demonstrated in the booklet about Staple Inn, the home of the Institute. In 1966 he was awarded a Silver Medal for his services to the Institute, a rare distinction.

The whole of his working life was spent with the Equitable Life Assurance Society, of which, after many years as joint actuary, he became general manager and actuary in 1968 and its first full-time executive director, an appointment he much prized. To younger actuaries in his company and elsewhere he demonstrated a total grasp of the complex interactions which affect the financial development of a life assurance fund. He was in many ways an imaginative actuary, always looking for new ideas which could be applied in the business to which he devoted his life.

He was keen on developing international relations and in 1955 undertook a lecture tour addressing the actuarial societies in the four Scandinavian capitals on ‘The mathematical representation of the rate of mortality’. He was also elected a corresponding member of the Association Royale des Actuaires Belges in 1949.

Maurice Ogborn married Olive Frances Deslandes on 2 June 1934. They had five children and formed a tightly knit family. He and his wife were staunch Baptists, taking significant roles in both local and national church affairs. These sides of his life exemplify his warmth and concern for humanity, a quality sometimes missed by his business colleagues because it was hidden behind a shy exterior.

At the time of his death he was the Institute’s longest-serving fellow.