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Global focus for GI actuarial practice

In the second of our series on the work of the IFoA’s Practice Area Boards, Martin Noble, outgoing Chair of the IFoA’s General Insurance Practice Area Board, sets out recent achievements and his ambitions for the Board. 

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Martin NobileThis session brings to an end the five years of my personal involvement with the General Insurance (GI) Practice Area Board, which I have thoroughly enjoyed.

Like all volunteering work, this has given me the opportunity to make a difference and to connect with many other passionate volunteers who give their time to push our profession forwards.

Research brings GI actuaries together

It is often said that research is the life-blood that brings GI actuaries together and this year we’ve seen some incredible outputs from the GI Board.

Highlights – for me at least – of new, recent and on-going work under the GI Practice Area Board are the focus on autonomous vehicles, data science, a fresh look at inflation and the game-changing topic of IFRS17.

Alongside a guiding role on research, we have spent significant time on public policy issues, including the Ogden discount rate, the wider bodily injury claim settlement framework and the Financial Conduct Authority’s focus on price discrimination.

The topic of Periodical Payment Orders (PPOs) as a claim settlement option has generated many differing views within our profession. Through engagement with our community and by working closely with the IFoA Policy team, we have helped the IFoA to reach a balanced policy position.

Aside from these core areas, we have spent time on a wide range of matters – including the impact of Brexit, actuarial education, IFoA strategy and the role of GI in meeting these goals, generating engagement via social media, reaching out to early-in-career members, actuarial employer engagement, IFoA awards criteria, among much else.

Board meetings are always built around a varied agenda and there are no shortage of topics!

As a Board, our aim is to canvass member views, take stock of the wider market context and the (often several) angles of public interest, then support the IFoA with its consultation responses and stakeholder engagement. This is rewarding work, which can and does have an important impact on shaping the future regulatory and legal landscape.

Widening involvement

The work of the GI Board provides a bridge between practising GI actuaries and the IFoA.

I would encourage the GI Board going forward to take on a stronger role, to tap into the views and expertise of GI actuary practitioners, and use this to deepen and broaden the IFoA’s influence and its subject matter expertise.

I would like to see GI actuaries – of all accreditations, memberships and nationalities – work more closely together.

I see the same or similar topics being researched globally by different actuarial organisations; by collaborating more closely we can improve the efficiency of research and push the boundaries of innovation more quickly.

On this, it is great to see an increasing level of collaboration between IFoA and other actuarial associations.

One of the changes we made during my five years serving on the GI Board was to introduce a position on the Board with a focus on ‘early-career’ actuaries.

This has not only brought a fresh new perspective to the Board, but has also enabled us to better understand the needs and passions of current students and recently-qualified GI actuaries.

The IFoA’s first working party based internationally – the GI Asia working party – is going from strength to strength. After an initial focus on Nat Cats and better equipping GI actuaries in the Asia–Pacific region to improve their practical management of Nat Cat risk, the working party turned its attention to cyber risk, and more recently the topics of IFRS 17 and other emerging risks in the region.

What’s next?

I encourage the Board to continue to support a balanced, big-picture response to public policy and regulatory consultations. I really feel this has made and will continue to make a tangible difference – our external stakeholders look to the IFoA as leaders in our field, and our voice is listened to.

We should remain on the front-foot, pro-actively identifying and acting on areas where actuaries and the IFoA can make a difference – for example by maintaining strong two-way relationships with regulators and Government departments, and by engaging in pioneering areas of research.

On this latter topic, I feel the Board can devote more time to cutting-edge and developing topics, for example supporting the IFoA in keeping education relevant and up-to-speed with the needs of modern actuaries – recent offerings on data science and its analytical techniques is a prime example of this.

We can also spend more time thinking further into the future, not just on today’s issues but on the things that will keep actuaries busy in 2025 and 2030. It is easy to hypothesise about the future, but hard to put tangible actions in place that will better equip ourselves and our profession in this digital age and beyond – the GI Board has a key role here.

And finally, I thoroughly and wholeheartedly recommend you watch the IFoA’s volunteer vacancies for an opportunity to join the GI Board or any of the many other ways of volunteering.

Find out more about the GI Practice Area Board.

Other blogs in this series