Derek Cribb looks forward to GIRO and stresses the importance of diversity
It's always a pleasure to get together with IFoA members at our annual residential conferences. I am disappointed therefore that I am not able to attend the GIRO conference this year. But on reviewing the programme of speakers - one of our most interesting and diverse yet, which includes Bank of England governor Mark Carney and author and philosopher Alain de Botton - I am very much looking forward to seeing its outputs, which will be available on the IFoA website after the event.
One of the great things about GIRO is that it attracts attendance from across the non-life community, from around the world and from outside the IFoA's membership. Bringing such a large, diverse group of professionals together goes a long way towards promoting cross-practice learning and the spread of new ideas, which in turn facilitates the development of actuarial research and thought leadership.
Non-life - and here I am including professionals who may be working in a variety of fields such as resource and environment, investment and health and care - is the most rapidly expanding area where the actuarial skillset is being put to use. Looking specifically at the IFoA's general insurance (GI) community, student membership is up over 60% in the past three years and GI members are now based in over 70 countries. Over 200 people have passed their GI Fellowship exam within the past year and GI student membership is now at 27% of the IFoA's total student population. GI is our third largest practice area - and the fastest growing.
On that note, I would like to encourage all IFoA members to look outside their current field of work and see what they can learn from actuaries working in other sectors. Let's not get hung up on practice-specific mentality: think of your actuarial skillset and how it can be used in a wider business context. One of the IFoA's key strengths is the diversity of its membership, another being the community feel which is amply demonstrated by our GI members. But there is nothing to be gained from the silo approach. We must remember to reach out, across the whole of our membership and beyond, to move forward.
The GIRO conference is taking place on 23-26 September at Celtic Manor Hotel, Newport.
Follow the event on Twitter at #IFoAGIRO2014