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Managing Uncertainty with Professionalism

The Managing Uncertainty with Professionalism Working Party seeks to develop general and simple principles to support actuaries in managing and communicating uncertainty in all fields.

The working party arose from a specific concern that, by quoting '1 in 200' numbers for capital requirements under Solvency II, actuaries were, perhaps unwittingly, being party to giving false confidence about the financial strength of insurers. This issue naturally led on to broader reflections on uncertainty, looking beyond the actuarial profession and even beyond the insurance industry.

We have had a particular focus on decision making where there is uncertainty and have developed six high level Uncertainty Principles that can be used in supporting, making and critiquing decisions:

  • Face up to uncertainty
  • Deconstruct the problem
  • Don't be fooled (un/intentional biases)
  • Models can be helpful, but also dangerous
  • Think about adaptability and resilience
  • Bring people with you

Our recently published paper, 'Managing Uncertainty, Principles for improved decision making' explores each of these in turn along with some case studies. These are further illustrated with additional case studies and vignettes in our GIRO presentations.


Co Chairs

Melinda Strudwick, Martin White, Paul Kaye and Andrew Smith

Membership 19
Established 2014


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Contact Details

If you want more information about this research working party please contact the Communities Team.

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E.g., 22/01/2022
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Events calendar

  • Spaces available

    Over recent months there has been a sharp rise in M&A activity involving British businesses, with interest from overseas, domestic buyers and Private Equity investors.  

  • Spaces available

    Frank Redington is recognised as one of the most influential actuaries of all time. In this talk, Craig will review some of Redington's most important ideas. He will identify the consistent actuarial principles that form a common thread across the contributions Redington made to a broad range of actuarial fields, and will highlight the ongoing relevance of Redington's thinking to 21st century actuarial practice.

  • Spaces available

    The IFoA Mental Health working party look back over their week of blogs and podcasts considering all aspects of the relationship between mental health and life insurance. The expert panel spans adviser, underwriter and actuarial experience and they  explore triggers for purchasing insurance relating to mental health, the various routes to insurance and how these may be more suited to different people depending on their conditions and preferences, the products and processes involved in purchasing these as well as what claims and support are available to policyholders and how to access them.

  • Spaces available

    Part of the 'Finance in the Public Interest 2022' webinar series. If it was ever okay to consider your business in isolation from its surroundings, today it most definitely is not. Thinking about business within its surrounding system is now a necessity. The question we seek to discuss is: How should we prescribe the boundaries in which we consider problems to enable us to create better products and more resilient companies and systems?

  • Spaces available

    What will happen to DC pension savers who see life annuities as poor VFM but still want an income for life?  Pooled annuity funds could offer them a decent lifetime income while reducing significantly the complex choices and risk inherent in income drawdown.  They could be the next generation of CDC pension schemes, slotting into the existing DC framework as a post-retirement option.