Volunteer roles can be immensely rewarding for the individual and are the lifeblood of the profession, says David Hare
The world we live in does not stand still and the way we live and work is always changing. Technology continues to advance and to influence how we work as we rely on it so much more. We all, especially as we get older, have an unspoken fear that who we are and what we are doing may become irrelevant. As I outlined in my presidential address, during my time as president I want to ensure that the relevance of our profession is evident throughout the world.
In June, I celebrated the achievement of becoming an actuary with some of our newly-qualified actuaries, their friends and families. They are just starting their careers and have the promise of a bright future ahead of them. By grasping opportunities at every stage of our working life we can remain pivotal in the industries that we support and we can shape and direct the actuarial profession to ensure that what we do is always relevant.
A job can provide income, security and recognition - but doing something that helps further your personal development and at the same time gives something back to your profession can be rewarding too. IFoA volunteers have a significant effect on the lifeblood of our organisation and the actuarial profession's impact and influence. They hail from across the membership and from all over the world. They bring fresh ideas to the topics that we research and how we present our findings to decision-makers, in the public and private sectors, and to the wider public. The IFoA cannot operate without them. They help to ensure that the actuarial profession does not stand still as the world moves on.
As I get closer to the heart of the IFoA and see at first hand the work that volunteers undertake, I have the utmost admiration for their dedication and endeavour. The feedback that I get from talking to volunteers is universally positive. Their roles are interesting and varied and they gain much from participating.
Picking out just one volunteer from many is difficult, but David Brown, and the Third Party Working Party for General Insurance that he chairs, is well worth mentioning. They have delivered research at the GIRO conference for the past four years, looking at third-party injury and damage claims for motor insurance in England and Wales. This year he presented the findings to the House of Commons Transport Select Committee, which held an inquiry into whiplash claims. The report has also received wide publicity in the media. Well done, guys.
Another volunteer is Clare Whitelam, without whom these columns in The Actuary wouldn't happen. Many thanks, Clare.
Currently, there are a number of new working parties in ERM, pensions, finance and investment seeking volunteers to get involved in topics such as:
? designing investment vehicles to mitigate agency risk;
? 'disintermediation': the likely rise of peer-to-peer investing and alternative financing models;
? how and why to get actuaries into the wider fields - particularly that of education;
? social finance and impact investing - measuring non-financial returns;
? defined ambition pensions;
? inflation and pensions;
? state pension age;
? why retire? Alternative models to pensions.
There are also some important leadership roles that need to be filled, such as a new chair for the GI Professional Standards Committee (GIPSC), and a deputy chair for the 2014 Pensions Conference Programme Committee, who would become chair of the conference in 2015.
We are always keen to hear from our members all over the world. Would you like to act as career ambassadors promoting the actuarial profession to the next generation? Why not join our online feedback groups such as the 400 Club, the digital volunteer group and the international feedback groups for regions such as China, South East Asia and India?
Volunteering can adapt to suit an individual's needs, with the roles taking up as much time as you wish to give. Don't forget other volunteers and staff at the IFoA will be on hand to offer support and encouragement.
If the areas outlined above do not appeal to you but you have an idea that you think is worth further investigation, or there is an area that is lacking activity, please talk to us. Whether or not you wish to be engaged in undertaking the research personally, the IFoA can provide information, resources and connections with other members who may also be interested in your topic - you do not have to work alone. All roles open to members are advertised on the volunteer vacancies section of the website. Why not get in touch with Debbie Atkins at the IFoA to discuss volunteering and your ideas with her?
I look forward to meeting you at a future volunteer recognition evening.