As the late, great actuary Frank Redington said: “The actuary who is only an actuary is not an actuary”.
It is our role to make a positive contribution in solving the world’s biggest challenges.
COVID-19 propelled actuarial methods into the mainstream. Our expertise contributed to societal decisions as we shared evidence-based information on the pandemic – in particular, the COVID-19 Actuaries Response Group (ARG), a group of actuaries, epidemiologists, longevity specialists and individuals who came together to educate actuaries and other audiences on actuarial aspects of the pandemic. Its bulletins on topics such as excess deaths, vaccinations and hospital admissions have been required reading for many, and in March this year the group won the Insurance ERM Judges Award for its contribution to the industry.
The IFoA created the IFoA Thought Leadership programme to help tackle society’s biggest issues. Through the programme we promote innovative thinking, debate and discussion within and beyond the profession, ensuring we are at the centre of societal issues both actuarial and beyond. In the lead-up to COP26, the programme has focused on sustainability. Actuaries are playing a leading role in the policy conversation here: from climate change policy briefings to risk alerts and guidance, they are helping societies and businesses choose sustainable pathways. These pathways have been explored in the IFoA Sustainability Thought Leadership webinar series, which connected experts, thinkers and decision-makers with our membership to debate sustainability issues at the intersection of actuarial work and society’s interests.
The IFoA is seeking to recognise thought leadership in actuarial fields through the new Frank Redington Prizes. These essay prizes are looking for bold ideas on two 21st-century issues: a sustainable economic and finance system that works in the public interest, and a sustainable and effective pension system. I look forward to seeing what entrants come up with to challenge orthodoxy and encourage fresh thinking.
LOUISE PRYOR is the president of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries