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Thought leadership: actuarial science research and knowledge hub

Current research activities

The IFoA places the advancement of actuarial science at the heart of its activities by commissioning and funding research that:

  • advances actuarial science as a subject
  • supports industry practitioners
  • helps inform evidence-based public policy development

Cutting edge Actuarial Research Centre (ARC) research projects have produced interesting outputs addressing some of the key challenges in actuarial science.

Find out more on:

Modelling measurement and management of longevity and morbidity risk

Using big health and actuarial data for understanding longevity and morbidity risks

Minimising longevity and investment risk while optimising future pension plans

Behavioural finance

Future research activity

Over the next few years the IFoA has identified two additional areas it would like to research:

Economic modelling

Actuarial practitioners have traditionally utilised conventional economic theory to identify the approach to adopt in economic and financial issues. The experience of the 2008 economic and financial crisis challenged conventional economic tools, with other schools of economic thought brought into sharp focus.  In the first instance, a survey of current practice amongst actuarial practitioners has been commissioned, with a view to undertaking a wider research project later.

More on economic modelling

Equity release mortgages

The Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) and the Association of British Insurers (ABI), through the Actuarial Research Centre (ARC), has recently commissioned a research project on Equity Release Mortgages: No Negative Equity Guarantee. The call for tender closed on 7th September 2018. Read the call document

 More information on this jointly commissioned research project will be available shortly.

Periodical Payment Orders

Periodical Payment Orders (PPOs) are a significant feature of insurers' and reinsurers' balance sheets already. PPOs are having an impact on the UK insurance and reinsurance industry and on pricing and capital modelling efforts of GI actuaries. In the first instance, a feasibility study will be carried out which will: a) lead to the compilation of mortality tables for lives who have suffered the types of traumatic injury that give rise to PPO awards and b) Identify the most appropriate health database(s) that can be used to compile these tables, e.g. the THIN and/or CPRD GP data sets.

More information on  the PPOs project will be available shortly.

Further reading, videos and audio recordings:

IFoA Actuarial Knowledge Hub and electronic resources

Resources in the IFoA eLibrary are available to members and affiliates who login using their IFoA website credentials. Member users then join the IFoA Actuarial Knowledge Hub, an integrated search resource that can assist with study, research and Lifelong Learning. (The Actuarial Knowledge Hub is free for all to search, with a login at the top enabling IFoA members to access full text in search results.)

The Hub brings together several distinct sources of research in actuarial science in one search:

  • the online journals and ebooks available to IFoA members
  • the IFoA library catalogue and its 20,000 records of pronted books and resources and over 30,000 abstracts and references to journals worldwide, built up over many decades by library staff
  • the catalogue includes rare books and historic pamphlets collected by the Insitute and Faculty since their formation - a unique archive devoted to the origins and development of actuarial science
  • thousands of relevant references from research databases across the world

Find out more about the full range of library services, both online and on-site. 

To support Lifelong Learning, keep abreast of current actuarial work and its impact.

Increase your knowledge and awareness of current topics in these areas:

The IFoA's Actuarial Knowledge Hub, Library Catalogue and Subject Search offer prepared searches to find recent publications across the practice areas.

Keep up to date in scholarly research by reading the IFoA's journals:

Recent event:

Actuarial Research Centre -  2018 Webinar Series    

Following the successful launch of the 2017 ARC webinar series, the IFoA ran a further successful series in 2018 to once again showcase its most cutting edge research programmes addressing some significant challenges in actuarial science. Details of the 2018 webinars are available on the ARC webinar page.  Recordings are available to view now on the IFoA’s on line resources web page for members and the ARC's YouTube channel for non-members.

Want to stay up to date with the latest in ARC and IFoA research? View our ARC webpages, and sign up for our quarterly newsletter by e-mailing research@actuaries.org.uk.

Lifelong Learning and Continuing Professional Development

When this learning is relevant to your work or role and addresses a personal development area, this can also be used to meet your Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirements.

Review the CPD Scheme requirements

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Events calendar

  • Current Issues in Life Assurance (CILA) Webinar series

    Webinar Series
    15 July 2020 - 3 August 2020

    Spaces available

    CILA is one of the pre-eminent events in the annual 'Life' calendar. Due to COVID-19 we are running the programme as a series of webinars covering topics aimed at practicing life actuaries from life offices, consulting firms and other employers of actuaries and those who work in or advise on, the life assurance market in the UK and Europe.

  • Spaces available

    Current Issues in Life Assurance - For annuity writers, a key challenge is the need to fund capital-consumptive new business strain (NBS) as a consequence of writing the business intended to fund future distributions. Reinsurance, investment strategy and capital provision all have roles to play which we will investigate in this webinar

  • Spaces available

    Current Issues in Life Assurance – Mortality in 2020 is now dominated by one thing, although – in our future-focused world – the pandemic is just one of many mortality considerations.  In this session, three well-regarded mortality/longevity specialists provide an overview of implications and impacts of COVID-19, recent and imminent CMI developments and more 'future focused' work in the MRSC

  • Spaces available

    Because of Covid-19, forecasters predict a severe recession in 2020, followed by a V or U-shaped recovery. This impacts both individuals and companies. However, compared to previous recessions, the impact on banks of higher credit losses should be mitigated to some extent by government actions. 

  • Spaces available

    Part of the Protection, Health and Care Conference 2020 webinar series

    This session will provide an overview of the Population Health Management Working Party's research including defining impactability and impactability modelling, discussing some examples of specific modelling approaches, considering the practical challenges across the NHS as well as wider public perception and ethical issues.

  • Spaces available

    Many actuaries consider career opportunities in the Finance and Investment practice area after having started off in more traditional actuarial roles such as valuations, capital management or pricing. This session is aimed at helping actuaries to better understand roles in Finance and Investment and how they can fine tune their skills to pursue such careers.

  • Mortality and Longevity Webinar Series 2020

    Webinar Series
    22 July 2020 - 10 August 2020

    Spaces available

    Due to COVID-19, we are running this programme via a series of webinars commencing 22nd July.

    This webinar series will provide topical and practical updates and discussion on the latest thinking and innovations in mortality and longevity, and is designed to be very accessible to a broad range of experience.

     

  • Spaces available

    Insurers are making increasing use of medical research to help with assumption, models and underwriting. Experienced mortality/ longevity specialists discuss the issues in the interpretation of  medical research papers, using a range of case studies. The case studies will include COVID-19 points of current importance. Many of the concepts discussed (data bias, inference of causation) are also applicable to equivalent questions in 'big data' and advanced analytics.

  • Spaces available

    Members of the Mortality Working Group of the IAA have analysed changes in mortality for about 30 causes of death  and will discuss how causes of death are classified, and the problems of long-term data, appropriate metrics, including "years of life lost" (YLL), causes of death - a "measure of cohortness", the changes in dominant causes of death at older ages, and how can these types of studies enhance mortality forecasting.

  • Spaces available

    Predictive risk assessment and risk stratification models based on postcode-level consumer classification are widely used for life insurance underwriting. However, these are socio-economic models not directly related to health information. Similar to precision medicine, precision life insurance should aim to tailor policy pricing/reserving to the individual health characteristics of each client.

  • Spaces available

    This discussion, the fourth in the Extreme Mortality Events webinar series, will look at what poor model selection and calibration could look like – using inappropriate historical data; using incorrect 2020 mortality data; and inappropriate stochastic model recalibration (or lack thereof). Presented by Chair of the Life Board of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, Colin Dutkiewicz. 

  • Spaces available

    This webinar has been re-scheduled from its original date of the 1st July. Although ESG has many buyers across the asset allocation community, from pension funds to sovereign wealth funds, it still hasn’t found its place within the core asset management strategy desks where the money is actually invested. The problem as well as the opportunity is Fixed Income. Plenty of strategies exist for incorporating ESG within Equities, from screening, integration to a combination. ESG has picked up relatively quickly within Equities with rating,indices created using ESG factors. This talk will discuss how we price a quantifiable ESG credit risk premium and make it alpha worthy in a strategy. 

  • Spaces available

    Part of the Protection, Health and Care Conference 2020 webinar series

    With the rising prevalence of dementia, how can we manage this risk effectively and can insurance do more? Matt Singleton, Ageing Lead at Swiss Re, will cover these topics and demonstrate how insurance could help people address their concerns.

  • Spaces available

    Current Issues in Life Assurance – Join us for an exploration session on the use of data science in insurance companies today including how insurers are making sense of and using new data sources and technologies, exploration of practical applications of data science within actuarial work, benefits of data-driven decisions to solve business problems using the power of data and technology, and the role that actuaries can play to harness the benefits of data science.

     

  • Spaces available

    Current Issues in Life Assurance

    This talk will look at a range of such techniques (e.g. mass lapse risk transfer, contract boundaries, risk margin relief, non-standard longevity risk transfer) that have been applied or considered by UK and EU insurers, and the pros and cons of each.

     

  • Spaces available

    Current Issues in Life Assurance.

    The International Association of Insurance Supervisors announced on 14 November 2019 the adoption of v2.0 of the global Insurance Capital Standard (ICS) which will undergo confidential reporting for 5 years starting from 2020. This session will include specific experiences from Legal and General (L&G) as well as global industry perspectives from EY.

  • Spaces available

    Current Issues in Life Assurance

    This session will cover the PRA supervisory statement on financial impacts related to climate change, industry insights into PRA climate risk business plans, examples climate risk strategy setting out key workstreams and activity steps for successful execution, an overview of a climate risk strategy execution timeline and the future.     

  • Spaces available

    Part of the Protection, Health and Care Conference 2020 webinar series. Using new and unique research and data from the UK, US, Sweden and China, this presentation investigates how consumers use the internet through their insurance journey and analyzes the role culture and generation plays in their online behaviour. We use this research to show the online landscape for insurance sales in the UK and suggest ways to shape new products and effectively engage with the consumer who is buying them.

  • Spaces available

    Chief Medical Officer (CMO) for Gen Re Life/Health Research and Development, Dr John O'Brien, will discuss the impacts of Gene Modification for life/health insurance. 

  • Spaces available

    As an industry, it has been important to be able to look to the future to identify the next quantifiable risk. In this session, I will explore some of the less tangible, but none-the-less concerning risks to future health, such as the health risks associated with exposure to pesticides, ingestion of plastic in the food chain, and the hazards of indoor air pollution through exposure to volatile organic compounds.

  • Spaces available

    The working party will help the industry to update and enhance how potential risk from diabetes and excess mortality is considered, including the need to understand the underwriting implications as treatments improve, and potentially to develop new products that are tailored to those with diabetes.

  • Spaces available

    Part of the Protection, Health and Care Conference 2020 webinar series. Modelling the structure and trends of cancer morbidity risk is important for pricing and reserving in related health insurance fields such as critical illness insurance and care provision. We model the dynamics of cancer incidence over time in different regions in England, using 1981-2016 ONS data. The modelling allows estimation of cancer rates at various age, year, gender and region levels, following a Bayesian setting to account for statistical uncertainty. Our analysis indicates significant regional variation in cancer incidence rates. 

  • Spaces available

    Part of the Protection, Health and Care Conference 2020 webinar series. In this talk we will outline the steps Aviva took in pulling together our first large-scale disclosures on the exposure of our business to climate change published in March 2019; in line with the recommendations of the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures. After touching on why insurers have such an important role in climate change, we'll cover a brief “how-to” guide for those who have not yet embarked on thinking about these topics before giving a case study of how the learnings from a TCFD disclosure exercise can be applied to investment portfolios.

  • Spaces available

    Part of the Protection, Health and Care Conference 2020 webinar series. 

    The insurance industry currently underwrites customers with diabetes based on a range of factors, medical expertise and various medical studies. The work undertaken by the Diabetes Working Party would help the industry to approach this using current research findings to update and enhance how potential risk from diabetes is considered. This includes the need to understand the underwriting implications as treatments improve, and potentially to develop new products that are tailored to those with diabetes. This webinar will present our latest findings in the management of this important chronic condition which will include research in collaboration with the ARC.