Chris Reynolds explains the role of the Health and Care Board, and the important work it is involved with
The Health and Care Board is a small but active practice board focused on the needs of the protection, health and care actuarial community. Our distinct identity is built around our key strategic objectives:
- To promote the value and relevance of actuaries within the health and care area and the role they can play in helping people to live healthy and financially resilient lives.
- To develop and foster the health and care actuarial community and improve member engagement.
- To identify areas of mutual interest and research with other practice areas, professions and communities.
- To support the profession’s international strategic objectives with particular focus on the health and care area.
In conjunction with our two sub-committees (Research and Lifelong Learning), we demonstrate value by being thought leaders in these areas through targeted and relevant research projects. We also look to increase member value by providing exposure to relevant research, learning and CPD opportunities.
So, what are the big themes keeping the Health and Care Board busy at the moment?
Unsurprisingly, COVID-19 has occupied much of our attention since early 2020, and the Board has been instrumental in supporting the health and care workstreams of the IFoA COVID-19 Action Taskforce. We’ve supported the publication of a range of reports, covering themes including:
- Identifying insured customers more at risk
- Supporting protection insurance and savings customers
- Looking at the impact on new business.
More recently we’ve supported work looking at the vaccine’s potential impact of mortality. All of these are available on the IFoA Pandemics Hub (bit.ly/3cATKdd).
The Health and Care Research Sub-committee drives forward areas of research that have become more topical due to the pandemic. One is increasing awareness of mental health and the legacy the pandemic will leave in this area, for which a new working party has recently been established.
When it comes to learning about the impact of the pandemic more widely, the Health and Care Lifelong Learning Sub-committee has planned a monthly programme of health and care-related webinars throughout 2021. These will replace our usual face-to-face events and will include consideration of mental health in a virtual workplace, analysis of vaccine impact, and an overview session covering COVID-19 work performed in the health and care community.
Another important theme is social care – brought into increased focus because of COVID-19. A workstream established last year considered the impact of the pandemic on social care. More recently, the Board responded to the UK government’s proposed Health and Care Bill, commenting that while it was a step in the right direction, more is required to save the UK’s social care sector from its funding crisis. With COVID-19 exacerbating pressures on the social care system, and the NHS under increasing budgetary strain, it was disappointing that the white paper failed to set out a clear strategy for tackling social care funding in the short and long term.
With social care set to be a defining issue in the coming decade, we remain hopeful that more will emerge from the government on this topic. We have created a Social Care Working Party that will be on standby to review any details as soon as they emerge.
Finally, our big theme for 2021 – and likely for many years to come – is around climate change and sustainability. As actuaries we need to consider how climate change could impact our work, something we’re at the early stages of understanding in the health and care community. Together with the Sustainability Board, we’ve established a sub-group to form an engagement plan for the health and care community. We have also formed a working party to review what additional information may be helpful to actuaries working in health, care and protection. While we work on this, we would encourage members to start considering the impact of climate change on their work by taking a look at bit.ly/3vmG7qZ
Get in touch
We hope you’ve enjoyed this whistle-stop tour through some of the important work of the Health and Care Board. We’re always looking for new members to join our groups, particularly our pool of working party volunteers.
If you think you have something to contribute, we’d love to hear from you. For an informal chat about ways you might want to get involved, contact [email protected]. You can also read our blogs at bit.ly/3tq4K3V
Chris Reynolds is chair of the Health and Care Board