James Dodson's First Lecture on Insurances is a landmark original text that first set down the actuarial basis for a mutual life assurance company to operate

Dodson demonstrated how a 'Corperation for Insuring Lives' could be created and sustain a profitable business that would deliver claim payments to beneficiaries of policyholders paying level premiums for the whole of life or for limited term. Premiums payable according to age were calculated mathematically from mortality experience and projections of future claims on the overall fund were demonstrated. 

James Dodson's manuscript

The original text by Dodson, however, disappeared in the years after his death in November 1757 and our knowledge of it comes from two handwritten copies transcribed from the original for the Society for Equitable Assurances on Lives and Survivorships

The Archive holds both copies. In an appendix to his history of the Society, Equitable Assurances (1962), Maurice Ogborn explains how James Dodson's original outlines were written out for the Society's use by arrangement through Dodson's executor, William Mountaine, who also advised the Society on mathematical questions.

The lectures may have been written out by Dodson's son, also James Dodson or by John Edwards, both of whom were 'actuaries' to the Society. The 'Lecture' was the 'first investigation into the principles of operation of a life assurance business' (M E Ogborn, 1962). 'Dodson indulges in a certain amount of sensitivity testing both the mortality rates and the investment assumptions ... A proposal for the distribution of surplus is included too. [Dodson's] insight into the workings of his projected life insurance office... is remarkable.' (S. Haberman and T A Sibbett (editors), History of Actuarial Science, 1995).

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  • The Growth Mindset for Actuaries

    13 October 2021 - 8 December 2021

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    This practical course is aimed at actuaries at any stage of their career who want to develop their own growth mindset and apply it to their work setting and personal or professional lifelong learning. The content of the course builds on the lecture given by Dr Helen Wright on Growth Mindset as part of the President’s 2021 Lecture series, and will be delivered over a period of 2 months, from mid-October to early December.

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    8 November 2021 - 19 November 2021
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    This is a free webinar with an expert panel providing their views on the ongoing IFoA consultation for proposals regarding changes to the regulatory framework on climate change and sustainability.

    The regulatory consultation sets out, for feedback some proposed approaches that the IFoA are considering in relation to charter commitments under the UK’s Green Finance Education Charter (GFEC) and the regulatory framework, including the Actuaries’ Code.

  • Life 2021 Webinar Series

    22 November 2021 - 26 November 2021
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    Join leading experts to discuss key issues, emerging ideas, and new research across the Life insurance sector.

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    Content will be aimed at all actuaries looking to understand the issues surrounding mental health in insurance and in particular those looking to ensure products and processes widen access for, and are most useful to, those experiencing periods of poor mental health.

  • The Many Faces of Bias

    2 December 2021

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    This webinar looks at the many types of biases, both conscious and unconscious and the impacts they can have in the workplace.  Raising our own awareness and understanding of the issues can help us avoid the pitfalls of unconscious bias in particular.  We’ve all heard the phrase ‘office banter’ but are we sure that’s how those on the receiving end perceive it and is it ok to go along with it?