The Covid-19 Actuaries Response Group (ARG) has been named as winner of the Judges’ Award for contribution to the industry in the Insurance ERM 2021 awards. This recognition of ARG’s work comes almost a year to the day since the group came together and just as it passed a key milestone of publishing its 100th bulletin.

ARG’s story began when a tweet from IFoA Fellow Stuart McDonald about the possible impact of Covid-19 on mortality if left to spread unconstrained caught the eye of IFoA President Tan Suee Chieh. They had a quick discussion of ideas and within days, had made contact with others who had similar concerns and the group met for the first time in early March 2020.

Matthew Edwards, one of the founders of the Actuaries Response Group alongside McDonald and Nicola Oliver, said, “We are delighted to receive this award. It’s a reflection of the enormous amount of time and effort a lot of people have given as their way of helping in the crisis. The original purpose was to help actuaries in thinking and responding to the pandemic but audience has grown well beyond that. We believe we have been successful at clarifying complexity in many important areas relevant to the spread and impact of the pandemic and the effect of the vaccines, attracting coverage across the national and trade media”.

ARG is made up of actuaries and non-actuaries with a range of relevant specialisms, many of whom had been individually tracking the pandemic and working on possible outcomes before being approached to join the group. Edwards described ARG’s focus as one of ‘response not research’ providing this group of experts with a minimum of formality and by its nature, a limited shelf-life.

Chris Cundy, Editor at Insurance ERM said. “The Judges Award is usually made to an individual but this year, the panel decided to award it to the group of people who have contributed to the Covid-19 Actuaries Response Group. All the volunteer members of the group have made a superb effort to research and communicate crucial information about Covid-19. They have really showcased the risk management and modelling skills of actuaries, and their work has been recognised throughout the industry and to the very top of government”.