Oliver Bettis, chair designate, speaks about the establishment of a new resource and environment board
Why are resource and environmental issues of importance to actuaries?
Increasing globalisation and interconnectivity, recognition that the Earth's resources are finite, and the far reaching implications of global warming, all point to the need for actuaries to look beyond today's technical problems, regulatory burdens and client demands. As a profession intimately concerned with the future, nothing less should be expected of us. The world seems subject to increasing discontinuities, so simple projection of past trends is no longer an option.
What indication do you have that members will be interested in this topic?
Over the past several years, our MIG community has grown significantly to over 500 members. Derek Cribb, in his article, has already highlighted our limits to growth work; in addition we have run networking evenings, regularly presented at conferences, published a content rich newsletter and have featured in approximately 30 articles in The Actuary magazine.
How does the board intend to build on the MIG's success?
We will: help members of the IFoA recognise and develop strategies to deal with the potential implications of resource depletion and environmental change; conduct and encourage thought-provoking research in these areas; promote the role of actuaries in new areas of work arising from resource and environmental issues (RandE); and be the focus for the IFoA's views on the financial implications of RandE issues.
Derek has mentioned the resource and environment board will be encouraged to work 'cross-practice' What does that mean in reality?
A key feature of the new board is that it will include members with a background covering most, if not all, of the existing practice areas, such as life, pensions and general insurance. RandE issues potentially affects all areas of actuarial work.
The board will work closely with the other boards in identifying issues and developing responses. For example, climate change is already on the general insurance agenda, in relation to flooding and fire risks, but it raises investment issues in relation to long-term infrastructure investment to adapt to climate change or mitigate its impact. In the longer term, longevity may be affected and economic growth rates, both crucial to pension funding. Much of our work may be of interest to risk managers.
So, there are already practical ways actuaries can bring their skills to bear?
Absolutely, the board is looking for volunteers in a number of areas, so watch the volunteer vacancies page. It also intends to carry out a survey of members' views to obtain feedback on concerns and areas of interest. If you are interested in volunteering on resource and environment issues, you can also get in touch with our volunteer engagement manager, Debbie Atkins: [email protected]