- The general duty to act with competence and care
- Attaining professional competence
- Maintaining professional competence
- Acting with competence and care
- Competence and care in non actuarial roles
- Acting with relevant knowledge and skill
- When you do not have an appropriate level of knowledge and skill
- What constitutes an appropriate level of knowledge and skill?
- Developing knowledge and skills and compliance with CPD requirements
- Ensuring that work is appropriate to the needs and instructions of users
- Taking reasonable steps to understand user needs
- When user instructions do not accord with user needs
- When user instructions conflict with user needs
- Obtaining input from other professionals or specialists
4.1 Members have a duty to ensure that they are competent to perform services in their area(s) of expertise. This is reflected in the second principle of the Code, which states:
4.2 Due to the specialist nature of the work of actuaries, and the reliance that clients or other users of their work place on their professional status, it can be difficult for non-Members to know whether a Member is competent to carry out the work they are performing. This often means placing a great deal of trust in the Member. Thus, a Member who performs a piece of work that he or she is not competent to perform would be failing in an important responsibility and betraying the trust of users and the public.
4.4 The attainment of professional competence will necessarily depend on matters such as educational qualifications, practical training and experience.
4.5 The maintenance of professional competence relies on the Member taking certain steps to ensure they continue to develop their knowledge and skills in order to be able to continue carrying out their work to a satisfactory standard, for example through compliance with Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirements.
4.6 Generally, acting with competence and care will involve such things as:
- ensuring that work is carried out accurately, in line with instructions and to any agreed deadlines;
- obtaining additional advice or training where a Member considers that it is required;
- ensuring that adequate time is set aside to carry out a piece of work;
- keeping users updated on the progress of the work as appropriate, including letting them know when there may be a problem meeting deadlines;
- ensuring that work has been subject to an appropriate level of review; and
- communicating to users any limitations in the service that is being provided, as well as whether it is necessary to instruct any other professionals or experts in relation to the piece of work.
4.7 Competence can be achieved at any stage of a Member’s career. For more experienced Members, acting with competence and care may involve ensuring that work is delegated to appropriately competent and experienced individuals and that the work delegated is ultimately performed to a satisfactory standard. For less experienced Members, acting with competence and care is likely to involve acting under the supervision of another Member who is taking professional responsibility for the work that is being carried out and ensuring that relevant advice and training is sought where they feel they do not have the necessary knowledge and skill to carry out the task being asked of them.
4.8 Acting with competence and care does not mean that a Member is prevented from branching out into new areas of practice. Members are encouraged to widen their professional knowledge and develop experience in new fields. In pursuing new areas of work, Members will be expected to ensure that they have the appropriate level of knowledge and training or are acting under the supervision of a suitably experienced individual. The onus is on the individual Member to determine what is appropriate in each case.
4.9 Members are also expected to act with competence and care when carrying out non-actuarial roles (for example honorary, volunteer or business roles), where their conduct could reasonably be considered to reflect on the profession.
4.10 The first amplification under the ‘Competence and Care’ principle provides that:
4.11 This amplification is designed to prevent Members from acting outside the boundaries of their competence. This is because users and the public trust Members to be competent to perform the services they are engaged to perform.
4.12 If a Member decides that they do not have an appropriate level of knowledge and skill to carry out a piece of work, they will need to consider whether this can be resolved, for example by working as a team with a more experienced individual, or by obtaining further training, or whether the most appropriate course of action would be to inform the user that they are unable to take on the piece of work and recommend that the user instructs a more experienced or more suitably qualified person.
4.13 It is important Members are honest with users about the level of expertise and experience that they have.
4.14 What constitutes an “appropriate level of relevant knowledge and skill” will depend on the nature and scope of the instruction. An actuarial student, for example, would not necessarily be expected to be able to carry out a piece of work that would normally be carried out by a Fellow.
4.15 The maintenance of professional competence requires a commitment to CPD and an ongoing awareness and understanding of relevant technical, professional and business developments. It is not enough simply to achieve competence and then do no further training. In order to maintain competence, Members are expected to keep abreast of any developments affecting their particular practice area as well as anything which has the potential to directly or indirectly impact the interests of users for which a Member carries out work. An example of this would be developments in approaches to risk management and application of new modelling techniques.
4.16 Members have a duty to keep their competence up to date through CPD. CPD is learning that is relevant to a Member’s work or role and addresses a personal development need. The IFoA operates a mandatory CPD scheme, and it is the responsibility of individual Members to ensure that they comply with the requirements set by the IFoA. These are a mandatory minimum requirement, and Members are expected to consider whether, in order to carry out their work, they need to undertake additional CPD.
4.17 The CPD that a Member is required to carry out is set out in the IFoA’s CPD Scheme and is dependent on the category of membership held by an individual. It is up to individual Members to take responsibility for ensuring that any CPD undertaken is relevant to the nature of their work and addresses a personal development need.
4.18 Further information about the IFoA’s CPD Scheme can be found on the IFoA’s website.
Ensuring that work is appropriate to the needs and instructions of users
4.19 Amplification 2.3 provides that:
4.20 To be able to meet this requirement, Members are expected, as a starting point, to ensure they have a clear understanding of the scope and intended purpose of the proposed work before taking on an instruction or carrying out a piece of work. This applies regardless of the environment in which Members work. It is as important to have sufficient clarity on the scope of work, whether users are within a Member’s employer organisation, external clients of a consultancy firm or other types of user.
Taking reasonable steps to understand user needs
4.21 In certain situations, the user’s needs may not be apparent. Where this is the case, Members are expected to take reasonable steps to gain an understanding of the user’s needs in order to ensure they are able to comply with the requirements in amplification 2.3. Taking reasonable steps in this context may mean speaking to the user directly to determine the purpose of the actuarial services that have been instructed. In situations where it is not appropriate for the Member to contact the user directly, this may involve speaking to a colleague or manager or whoever it is that is ultimately responsible for the piece of work being carried out.
4.22 Where a Member is carrying out a piece of work under the instruction of another Member as part of a larger project, they are expected, as appropriate, to discuss at an early stage the scope and intended purpose of the proposed work with that Member to agree who ought to be regarded as the user and ensure sure they understand how the work they are contributing fits into the larger project.
4.23 In certain situations, a user’s instructions might not accord with the user’s needs. Members will need to use their judgment in determining whether a user’s instructions have the potential to result in adverse consequences for the user, or for others, and communicate any such concerns to the user before deciding whether they are able to accept an instruction. This applies both to actuaries working in a consulting environment with an external client and to those working for a user within their own organisation.
4.24 Members will need to ensure that they do not accept instructions from a user where the instructions are in direct conflict with the user’s needs. For example, a Member would be expected to refuse an instruction from a user to dis-apply the requirements of the FRC’s TASs to a particular piece of UK work, or an instruction to ignore the requirements of a local financial services regulator. That would also be supported by the compliance principle under the Code.
4.25 Cost will often be an important issue for users and can often drive the scope of the work actuaries are engaged to perform. In circumstances where cost is a particular issue, this can be addressed by ensuring that the basis of remuneration in respect of the agreed scope of work is agreed with users before commencing an appointment or instruction. This is particularly key when users are charged directly for a piece of work (rather than the work being carried out as part of an employed role). If there is an arrangement for remuneration which is more ‘open ended’ then keeping users regularly informed as to costs will be important. Open communication with users about the basis for remuneration for professional work is key to ensuring the ongoing trust between the user and the Member.
4.26 It is important, however, that issues of cost and a limited budget are not allowed to prevent a Member from complying with the Code’s requirements relating to competence and care. Fee structures are not an excuse to provide incomplete or unbalanced advice. Once the scope of work is agreed, a Member must carry it out competently and with care. This may lead to situations where a Member has to refuse to carry out a piece of work (if they are unable to do so while still complying with the Code).
4.27 In addition to agreeing the basis for remuneration with users before commencing an appointment or instruction, it is also important that users are made aware of any issues at the outset which may impact on a Member’s ability to deliver the work that they have been instructed to carry out within any agreed time scales. This includes any limitations to the availability or expertise of internal resources (especially where a Member is working in an in-house setting) or any adverse cost implications associated with a piece of work.
4.28 Often, during the course of an appointment or instruction, the scope of a piece of work can change; a project might suffer setbacks and be delayed, or additional work might be required that was not originally anticipated. Members are encouraged, therefore, to ensure that any agreements for remuneration are kept under review and that they are prepared to communicate to users at the earliest opportunity any material change to the scope of an existing appointment or instruction.
4.29 From time to time Members may need to take advice or seek information from other professionals (both actuaries and non-actuaries) and/or experts who may have particular expertise in an area which might be required for a piece of work, and which the Member might not be qualified to advise on. Members will need to consider whether taking advice is necessary and appropriate; good practice probably entails taking advice when in doubt about this.
4.30 In such circumstances, Members might use their actuarial skills to instruct such professionals, either to advise the Member directly or to commission supplementary work that is needed by the ultimate user. In certain situations it may involve the Member advising the user to take separate advice from someone else independently from the Member.
4.31 In such circumstances, care will need to be taken to ensure that the instructions so issued are consistent with the needs of the ultimate user of the advice.
4.32 It is expected that users will be made aware when input has been obtained from other professionals and/or experts, including when advice has been received from external actuaries and has been summarised by the member for the benefit of the user.
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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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The aim of this webinar is to provide an overview of research undertaken within the Data Science Working Party on applying machine learning methods for sentiment analysis and opinion mining of UK Twitter data relating to COVID-19.
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.
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.
Over the past decades, many countries have exhibited mortality rates approximately following a piecewise linear law. This is visible in the form of steady improvements over multiple years, followed by a rather abrupt trend change, and then again stable improvements according to the new trend.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
On 25 June the International Accounting Standards Board published Amendments to IFRS 17, the Insurance Contracts global accounting standard effective 1 January 2023.
Part of the Protection, Health and Care Conference 2020 webinar series
This session will cover how we have challenged conventional approaches to underwriting and risk selection in order to develop an approach that aligns current practices, customer and broader interests with robust risk assessment.
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.
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.
Our presentation will examine the challenges arising in setting mortality improvement assumptions, exposing known but under-explored vulnerabilities of current practices.
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.
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.
This event is now fully booked. To join the wait list, please register here.
A Trusted Profession
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.
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.
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.