One reason I was keen to join the IFoA as CEO was my belief that actuaries are a force for good. Having worked with actuaries in my pre-IFoA career, I have seen this first-hand, and the opportunity to help members find their voice in some of the big issues of the day was a motivation in applying.
And I have not been disappointed! I continue to be impressed by the many ways our members make positive contributions. I have seen inputs that often go unnoticed more widely – thoughtful contributions to policy consultations that land with policymakers, support for webinars developing content that will help others, and the sharing of information so that others can benefit.
Sometimes, actuaries’ work is more publicly impactful. In the past month or so, we gained traction in a couple of areas. The first came from a new IFoA-commissioned study by the University of East Anglia which suggested that, for healthy women, taking combined hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is associated with an average 9% reduction in death from all causes. This is the first study to look at the impact of HRT on overall life expectancy using UK primary care data, and received media coverage ahead of a private members’ bill considered in parliament. It is such an important topic, and one in which our work might help save lives.
The second came from IFoA member work on the reach of the COVID-19 booster vaccine and the importance of vaccinating priority groups. Our members have become figures of authority, with their expertise sought after by policy and decision-makers in charge of the vaccine rollout. I think this work is also lifesaving.
It can sound trite when we talk of actuaries acting ‘in the public interest’, but there is substance behind this statement. I was proud to see the IFoA’s Impact Report (bit.ly/Impact_Welcome), published in September, show that we are making our voice heard. I know that many members are motivated by something bigger than their job, and it is good to be able to shine a light on the value they bring to society.
Stephen Mann is the chief executive of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries