Kelvin Chamunorwa considers developments across the world and the possibilities for actuaries
The global financial crisis changed the course of the economy, with some commentators expecting a 'new normal' of sustained low growth. It has certainly been interesting to observe the adjustments policymakers, business and the public have had to make post-crisis. Surprisingly though, in the West, Europe has only just arrived to the quantitative easing (QE) party, as others are leaving.
QE in the Eurozone has been part of the reason for negative sovereign bond yields recently, as actuary Cathal Rabbitte suggests in his article. The negative yield phenomenon defies convention around the time value of money. Rabbitte discusses the difficulties this causes for actuaries in capital allocation and valuing loss reserves (Negative thinking).
In this special issue of The Actuary, which has an international focus, we include other articles that look at interesting developments in other parts of the world. The implications of some of these trends demonstrate increasing possibilities for actuaries in grappling with the issues. Lisa Morgan and John Rogers look at the advent of m-Health in Africa and telehealth in the US. Mobile devices have been a boon to healthcare delivery in physically hard-to-reach areas. Morgan and Rogers describe how the benefit to the public, providers and insurers of these technological developments is not only access, but much more far-reaching (m-Health: remote access).
Moving geographically east, Hugh Miller, a consulting actuary in Australia, describes his data analytics work for Qantas Airways' loyalty programme and the value it creates. He argues that although actuaries face stiff competition from others in this area, we have particular strong points. Our combination of technical skills, business insight and integrity can be applied to data analytics in any industry where there is a lot of data and decisions have longer term implications (So you've just been bought by an airline?).
Fiona Morrison, new president of the IFoA, shares a similar optimism for our profession during her interview. Morrison points to the wide range of possibilities for areas in which actuaries can have valuable input (Peak of success). The articles in this edition amply testify to this view.