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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Letters to the editor – June 2012

In which actuaries discuss the 400 club, the Profession's new president and how being an actuary is the second best career


The editorial team welcomes readers’ letters but reserves the right to edit them for publication. Please email [email protected]

The deadline for receiving letters for the July issue is 18 June.

The writer of the letter of the month receives a £25 Amazon voucher

Letter of the month:
Healthy options

I was struck by a comment from Andrew Dilnot in May's edition of The Actuary that 'more handrails and chairlifts will prevent higher care needs and higher costs further down the line'. Certainly true, but is this not leaving things a little late? It is by now commonplace that lifelong behaviours such as smoking, diet, and exercise have a significant impact on mortality, but their impact on disability is becoming equally well established. For example, each of the four leading causes of years lost to disability in the developed world (dementia, visual impairment, hearing loss and osteoarthritis) can be linked to one or more of smoking, obesity, lack of exercise and poorly controlled diabetes or blood pressure as risk factors. I suspect it would have been outside his terms of reference for Dilnot to have looked into ways of reducing the requirement for long-term care in the elderly population, rather than funding the future estimated need. But it may be that additional government spending on public health now could make significant future savings on future care costs. For our part, while we should certainly be saving more to fund both our retirements and our care in later life, attention to our lifestyles today could make our retirement longer and reduce our need for care.

Tom Davis, 18 May 2012

Great expectations

I am a proud member of the '400 Club'. For anyone unfamiliar with this, the profession launched the '400 Club' at the end of 2011. The club has a membership that spans the globe, varying by age, location and practice areas, with members carefully selected to give an accurate representation of the profession. The purpose of the club is to provide the profession with important feedback on new strategies and projects, allowing them to track their progress. It is integral in aiding the profession to continue its pursuit of one of the key elements of its new strategy: 'to offer excellent support that meets members' varied and evolving needs'. The profession deserves praise for introducing this exciting new initiative and being proactive in its engagement with its members.

Anuj Sharma, 18 May 2012

Presidential campaign

I see from the announcement of the next president that we have followed the Society of Actuaries in having a president, a past president and a president elect. Is it not time to adopt some of their other practices, in particular, allowing we ordinary members a say in the choice of president rather than simply being told who he or she will be? I know David Hare well from our professional work together and I would most likely have voted for him. It would, however, be nice to have the choice, in the same way that, as a member of the Society, I am regularly invited to vote for all of their officers from the president downwards.

Stuart Thompson, 3 May 2012

Silver medal

I was pleasantly surprised to see that an actuarial career was voted as being the second best, as reported on theactuary.com website. Even though this was an American survey, I am sure it would have validity in many parts of the world. Who would have thought that we'd have been beaten by software engineers, but at least it wasn't accountants! It is a good reflection of how highly regarded actuaries are, despite few people knowing what we do and the fact that many actuaries also often struggle to explain what it is we do.

Anonymous, 14 May 2012

Spreading the news

Reading the article on NHS reforms in the May edition of The Actuary shows just one example of how actuaries can extend their expert skills and knowledge and become more of a 'mainstream' profession. This is great news for actuaries, but we do need to seek out these opportunities where we can add value. We seem to be seeing a shortage of actuaries already, owing in part to regulation such as Solvency II. We need to be driving a greater supply of actuaries and this does need to be planned for. India and China may well become the frontrunners, with the growth and expansion we regularly read about.

Anonymous, 8 May 2012

The editorial team welcomes readers’ letters but reserves the right to edit them for publication. Please email [email protected] The deadline for receiving letters for the July issue is 18 June.

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