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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

COVID-19 forum for actuaries launched

A forum for actuaries has been launched to help the profession come together and learn how best to respond to the deadly coronavirus sweeping the world.

Actuaries tackle coronavirus ©iStock
Actuaries tackle coronavirus ©iStock

The COVID-19 Actuaries Response Group has 11 members, including actuaries, epidemiologists, and longevity specialists, and was launched as Italy’s Lombardy region was shut down in response to the virus.

The group’s plan is to put out materials that will be of benefit to actuaries and their employers and clients.

This might include a discussion on the virus itself, how it can be modelled, a forecast impact on mortality and health services, and various strategies that different countries are employing to combat it.

It has pledged to follow six principles, such as seeking science and data and “bringing an innovative approach in framing both the problems and solutions”.

The group has pledged to follow the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries' (IFoA) Actuaries' Code, and will make its material available to the institute as quickly as possible.

“We are living in an extraordinary time. The COVID-19 crisis will be the defining event of our lifetime and could well be humanity’s burning platform for change,” the group's LinkedIn page says.

“This newly formed COVID-19 ARG aims to share information quickly to help actuaries seeking to understand the coronavirus pandemic. 

“This is a dynamic and multifaceted subject, and we plan to stick closely to areas where we have some expertise, and which are relevant to our profession’s role in society.”

Matthew Edwards, consulting actuary at Willis Towers Watson, has published the group’s first paper on COVID-19, entitled: Is the Imperial College pandemic modelling work ‘fit for purpose’?

The paper highlights specific areas where the Imperial College modelling - one of the main models informing the UK government's response to coronavirus - looks open to challenge.

Meanwhile, the IFoA has urged members to visit its Pandemics Hub for an actuarial perspective on mitigation and control.

“At this time of heightened awareness, the IFoA is committed to providing its members and the wider public with actuarial insight and resources into epidemics, their control and what to expect during an outbreak,” said Chris Reynolds, chair of the IFoA's Health and Care Practice Board.

“With decades of data, expertise and insight to draw upon, the profession is well placed to make a substantial contribution to the debate by providing the actuarial tools and mind-set necessary to support effective and evidence-based decision-making.”

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