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Research projects

This cross practice working party has been created to examine the main implications of Climate Change for General Insurance actuaries and identify the best ways to manage those implications.
This cross practice working party has been created to examine the main implications of Climate Change for Investment actuaries and identify the best ways to manage those implications.
This cross practice working party has been created to examine the main implications of Climate Change for Life actuaries and identify the best ways to manage those implications.
This Research Working Party is concerned with looking at Solvency II's objectives and analysing the outcome of the final regulation against those goals
A Study of Major Hurricanes and Subsequent Market Response Working Party aims to address educated and inform actuaries on the nature and predictability of hurricanes and how they can cause insured loss in different classes of business. The working party will also discuss how the market is responding to hurricanes through product innovation, reserving, cat modelling and pricing.
This Cross Practice Working Party considers and examines the very large amount of money being invested by DC savers
This Working Party explores whether an actuarial approach can add value to accounting for Intangible Assets
The Achieving value for DC Pensions Working Party will meet and work with Finance and Investment Board colleagues as appropriate over 2014 and 2015
The disbanded Actuarial Function Working Party explored the work which that needed to be undertaken by the actuarial function to fulfil the requirements of Article 48 of the Solvency II Directive
The Actuaries and Income Inequality Working Party looks at income inequality caused by (or potentially resolved by) financial services and actuarial responsibility
The Actuaries Climate Index (ACI) is intended to be a resource for actuaries and others in developing predictive models for potential climate change related losses or opportunities and for risk management strategies
The Advanced Pricing Techniques Working Party explores new techniques and ideas of pricing in general insurance
This Working Party is looking at aggregation and simulation techniques in capital models, and in particular how the methods used are tested, communicated and justified to stakeholders, including regulators
PhD Studentship – This project involves research on longevity increase and its effects over the business environment. More precisely the focus will be set on covariates analysis
This Working Party studies the rise of Antibiotic resistance (‘ABR’) and how it has become an increasing concern to the medical professions, health services and governments of the world’s major economies. Given its potential impact, the subject is now of increasing concern to insurers and reinsurers from a mortality perspective, and to a lesser extent pensions actuaries.
This Working Party examines different approaches to Asset Liability Management (ALM) in Dynamic Hedging Strategies in order to make recommendations for ALM best practice
This disbanded Working Party worked to identify the opportunities available to insurers in relation to non-traditional assets and the risks and impediments to their adoption
The Banking Debt Working Party is a Cross Practice Working Party which has been set up to look at and investigate the issues affecting banking debt
PhD Studentship – This project has now been completed but reviewed the ways in which different types of liquidity affect the operations of a bank and the extent to which various regulatory requirements add additional constraints to the operations of banks
Behavioural Aspects of Institutional Investment Decision-Making
To examine ways of better detecting (‘sensing’) and responding to change
The Bond Yields Working Party will look at why bond yields are so low and if they will increase
The Cancer Modelling Working Party is developing projections of the likely future financial burden of cancer in England and Wales, covering both direct and indirect costs
This Working Party looks at the education of actuaries on the impact of central clearing of Over the Counter (OTC) derivatives on pension funds and insurance companies
This cross practice Working Party will focus on a broad range of topics covering all practice areas likely to be effected by climate change. Topics include but are not limited to; Impacts on general insurance risks, mortality and morbidity, effect on risk, growth and investment (including ‘asset stranding’) of government (and regulatory) actions to adapt to and mitigate the effect of climate change, and opportunities for actuaries being created by these changes
Formerly the Environmental Risk Reporting working party, the Climate Risk Reporting working party will undertake research on climate risk-related practices in reporting by a range of UK insurance companies and pensions funds.
The Communicating Defined Ambition Working Party builds on previous research to develop a proposal for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to shape pensions policy
The goal of this working party is to investigate best practice from a customer perspective when communicating investment returns to UK retail investors at three key stages in their journey.
This Research Working Party wishes to consider the adequacy of information provided to members of retirement plans throughout all stages of the individual's working life as well as into retirement
Consumer Risk Metrics is a cross practice Working Party shared by Risk and Life, and it's aim is to develop a simple and easy to understand risk metric that will allow consumers to understand risk in a consistent way
This working party will look at the impact of capital requirements under Solvency II, and if these relate to (UK) protection and investment insurance products. It will also investigate whether the current post-financial crisis low interest environment is causing changes in the way consumers evaluate the products that meet their needs
The Critical Illness Working Party examines the risks and pricing issues associated with current ABI+ and newer minor illness definitions in the Critical Illness Market
Transfer value activity in defined benefit schemes has increased following the introduction of the pensions freedoms at a time when transfer values are historically high due to decisions by trustees to reduce investment risk and very low interest rates. This working party will consider the purpose of transfer values and the principles for setting methods and assumptions currently used in their calculation.
This is a working party aimed at providing insight for actuaries working on realistic capital calculations and enterprise risk management for life insurers and general insurers
This disbanded Working Party examined the benefit visualisations provide in the communication of technical work
The working party is trying to raise awareness of visualisations, useful when performing risk modelling
The Working Party examines the resilience of Defined Ambition schemes against different macroeconomic conditions
This Research Working Party will seek to develop an understanding of Defined Contribution pension information in the public domain in the UK and overseas of relevance to the Working Party’s Terms of Reference
Disbanded in 2017
The purpose of the Directors and Officers Insurance Working Party is to understand the pricing and reserving risks around this class of business
The Disintermediation Working Party explores peer-to-peer (P2P) lending from the perspective of investors, borrowers and the P2P intermediaries
The Diversity Analytics Working Party was formed in 2017 and was set up to ask the question –‘What will the insurance industry workforce look like in 10-20 years? How will it develop and will it be fit for purpose?’ With the hypothesis that there is a lack of diversity in the insurance sector, the working party carries out research and analytical work to look at the current position and project the future position. They will highlight any areas that are under-represented with the overarching concern that this may impact the performance of the insurance sector.
This Working Party is now disbanded
This programme seeks to explore current approaches in economic modelling and identify gaps requiring future research
The Emerging Risks working party has been considering emerging risks in the core actuarial fields of insurance, pensions and investments.
The Environmental Risk Reporting working party will build on the work of the **‘Risk Reporting’ working party and the ‘incentives facing UK firms to adopt early risk reporting provisions of the Revised Corporate Code.
The expansion of insurers investing in the Equity Release Mortgages (ERM), and the asset’s long term use to back annuity portfolios, brings ERM into scope of the “matching adjustment” of Solvency II.
Environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) issues are increasingly acknowledged as important investment considerations. Reporting to the Resource and Environment (R and E) Board and the Finance and Investment (F and I) Board, the ESG Investment Working Party works to co-ordinate and expand the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries’ (IFoA’s) ESG-related investment activities and advance actuarial capacity in this field.
The Disbanded Risk Reporting Working Party has completed its research investigating risk reporting practices in the Global Insurance Industry
The Extreme Events Working Party is a cross practice Working Party that aims for a better and wider understanding of the various methodologies that could be used for developing benchmark figures, including the advantages and disadvantages of each methodology
The disbanded Fairness in Insurance Pricing Working Party reviewed and summarised various issues (past and present) surrounding the discrimination debate
The Finance and Investment Education Working Party was set up in August 2014 by the Finance and Investment Board to consider how the finance and investment specialist subjects can continue to meet the needs of actuaries to 2035
This working party examines the topic of ‘financial repression’ – Government measures that effectively channel funds which, in an unregulated market, would go elsewhere
This Working Party functions as a source of knowledge and expertise within the Actuarial Profession on matters relating to flooding with a particular focus on the UK
The Cross Practice FRC and Risk Reporting Working Party sought to identify how the profession could raise awareness of the role of actuaries in meeting new requirements for risk management and risk reporting by major listed companies
PhD Studentship – This project has now been completed. It's objective was to further investigate the applications of FDA in Actuarial Science and to develop statistical methodologies and theories suitable for the problems arising from this area, focusing particularly on mortality and risk selection
The Genetics Working Party is accumulating a body of evidence regarding the potential risks of anti-selection from genetic testing to allow the profession to make informed contributions to this topic
The calibration and validation of actuarial models in general insurance is often reliant on expert judgments which can be prone to biases, cognitive or otherwise. The Getting Better Judgement Working Party aims to point to more effective elicitation of information from experts
This Working Party provides a forum for GI actuaries to discuss local and international GI issues impacting members in the region, as well as the opportunity to further research in specific regional issues. 
As part of the preparation for the GI TORP Working Party presentation to the 2017 GIRO conference in October, the working party carried out a survey covering the level of automation used in general insurance reserving processes. This survey focused on the timescales and pressures of the reserving cycle and the current state of play relating to the prevalence of manual processes and the penetration of proprietary software. It looked at automation techniques as a mechanism for relieving the pressures on the reserving process resulting from solvency 2, the reserving cycle, IFRS and the pressure for faster close processes.
This Working Party investigates how actuaries might be able to apply their professional skills and experience outside the 'traditional' fields of insurance, pensions and asset management
IFR
Disbanded 2017
This Working Party (previously IFRS 4 Phase II) examines the implications of the accounting changes on general insurers and, in particular, on the work carried out by actuaries
The working party will analyse the impact of different approaches of calculating the Contractual Service Margin (CSM) at initial recognition and subsequent measurement, with respect to life insurance products under the Building Block Approach (i.e. Annuities and Protection) and the Variable Fee Approach (i.e. With-Profits) for both existing and new business.
The working party will investigate discount rates, particularly for annuity business, as they function under IFRS 17.
The working party will investigate whether IFRS 17 meets its stated objective of ensuring that entities provide relevant information in a way that faithfully represents insurance contracts, the implications of IFRS 17 on insurance accounting, profit reporting and supplementary reporting and any IFRS 17 related issues arising for UK life insurers.
Commissioned project - This project uses household survey data to examine the likely financial circumstances and behaviour of people during retirement
This Working Party will examine the emergence of e-cigarettes and their impact on insured lives. The impact will be assessed based on the latest medical research and statistics, mortality and morbidity risk and the identification of any emerging trends
This Working Party aims to look at the emergence of wearable technology and the internet of things and their current and potential usage within the health and care area
The Income Protection working party aims to investigate how incapacity and sickness vary by socio-economic factors and how it has varied over time, in particular during the recession
The Inflationary protection and investigating reporting management change Working Party looks at a number of issues, including Defined Benefit investment charges and pricing of inflation protection
There is a lack of knowledge which many financial institutions have about infrastructure investment. This working party will undertake research to uncover information about the risks and rewards which investing institutions are likely to experience
The Insurance as a Force of Social Good working party aims to explore an aspect of what it means for actuaries to work in the public interest in the insurance sector.
The Insuring Later Life Illnesses working party is working to provide a deeper understanding of later life conditions, and thus allowing insurers to develop more product solutions to help fund care and other costs in later life
The Integrated Risk Management Working Party will assess the three keys risks relating to defined benefit pension schemes – funding, investment and covenant
This Joint IFoA GIRO and CAS – CARe Working Party is exploring what makes for a good reinsurance underwriting submission
This working party explored the reasons we follow the herd seeking to quantify the impact of this, and identify what we can do to support the industry in making assumptions/choosing methods that they believe in
This working party is addressing the Inadequacy of current practices of calculating investment risk and relative return; and plans to propose a radical but intuitively correct methodology to calculate investment returns, relative returns, explanations of differences, or attribution, in a precise and relevant way
This Research Working Party seeks to understand investors as they approach retirement, and through it, the decisions they face, and the impact of those decisions and identify ways in which investors can be supported in making better decisions
The Life Office Taxation Working Party aims to keep abreast of new developments in the field of Life Office tax, to analyse their impact, and to educate and inform members of the profession who are not tax specialists regarding such developments and associated current issues
Reinsurance is commonly used by life and health insurers to manage their profitability, risk and capital, and to access services provided by third party reinsurers. The Life and Health Reinsurance Working Party was established in 2014 and has since set itself the ambition of developing into a source of practical knowledge and expertise on matters relating to reinsurance. Rather than looking at the theory behind reinsurance, the Working Party has been focused on the value that reinsurance can provide across the insurance industry.
Life Solvency and Capital Management Working Party wrote a paper on Expert Judgement (EJ) with full survey results, insights and suggestions for best practice/ standards/ templates
Under current regulations, close matching means that companies typically hold assets equal to the full face value of units or apply actuarial funding techniques. Under the proposed Solvency II regulations, technical reserves will tend to be less than the face value of units
The Liquidity Premium Working Party aims to provide a summary of how life insurance actuaries currently use the liquidity premium for pricing, valuation and risk management
PhD Studentship – The initial focus of this project is on data driven methods for establishing liquidity premia
The Liquidity Working Party raises actuaries’ awareness of the wide range of views on liquidity
The Long Term Care (LTC) Working Party analyses alternative long term care funding models, global models, and their potential applications to the United Kingdom.
A research project jointly commissioned by the IFoA and Life and Longevity Markets Association (LLMA) has developed a readily-applicable methodology for quantifying the basis risk arising from the use of population-based mortality indices for managing longevity risk.
Current actuarial approaches to the assessment of future mortality trends are heavily reliant on reference to historical mortality data
PhD Studentship - This project will look at a number of challenges in the field of longevity risk modelling
The Longevity, Morbidity and Fairness Working Party will Model the impact of different morbidity and longevity experiences of socio-economic groups on the value of annuities purchased
This Research Working Party will consider the wider macroeconomic implications of retirement savings.
This Working Party is considering what With Profit Funds will look like in five years
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. This Working Party is the former 1 in 200 working party that was formed in 2012 and it was renamed Managing Uncertainty with Professionalism in 2014
The Marine and Energy Pricing Working Party is writing a Marine and Energy Pricing specific paper to inform and educate the actuarial profession
This Working Party will consider the management of Matching Adjustment portfolios as a measure approved by PRA under Solvency II, but whose subsequent management is not laid down in all areas. The sums involved are very material but aspects of the future management and fluctuation in the measure is unclear.
The Measuring Uncertainty Qualitatively (MUQ) Working Party is developing reserve uncertainty thinking beyond percentiles and bootstrap style techniques
This commissioned research programme seeks to develop pension product designs that keep the customers' needs at the forefront, with a real income in retirement that minimises costs for the customer
Model risk is not as well defined and established as other more traditional risks, so the identification, understanding and communication of model risk is crucial.
This cross practice working party was established to investigate “Big Data”. Primarily focused on the latest and emerging thinking associated with modern mathematical tools and techniques, the working party will explore how the actuary may utilise these techniques to remain practical and add value to the businesses it serves
This programme is application driven, with impact and innovation in the pensions and insurance industries and beyond as its primary aims
PhD Studentship – This project will contribute to designing and pricing mortality-linked derivatives and offering the state of art solutions to the longevity risk
The Nat Cat Risk Validation Framework Working Party was formed in order to further examine Cat Model Validation
Operational Risk (OR) is a Cross Practice working party and acts as the conduit for Operational Risk (OR) research across all practice areas.
This disbanded Research Working Party studied how the 2014 Budget changed the retirement income market irrevocably, impacting the consumer and the regulatory environment.
PhD Studentship – The project aims to design new products that can be used by insurance companies to smooth investment returns for their customers
The Peril Based Reserving Working Party is developing a universal framework for capturing the emergence and development of insurance claims, primarily with a view to developing more granular reserving methods and comparing their performance against existing techniques
This Working Party investigates Periodical Payment Orders (PPOs) and their effects on the UK insurance and reinsurance industry
This Working Party aims to understand how extreme conditions can trigger unexpected policyholder behaviour that significantly impacts insurers. We seek to understand the drivers of such behaviour, so that companies can better manage the consequences of extreme conditions should these occur
The Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) is co-sponsoring an international research project, looking into the impact ageing populations have on asset values over long time periods and considering the potential impact on large pension plans in Canada, the UK and the United States. The research is being conducted by the University of Waterloo (Canada) and the University of Kent (UK)
Commissioned project - The Pensions Policy Institute (PPI) is publishing a series of research reports that investigate the potential impact of auto-enrolment into private pensions on individuals and their levels of pension saving but also on the shape of the private pension market
The Practical Use of the Clark Cape Cod Method for Stochastic Reserving Working Party reports to the General Insurance Reserving and Oversight Committee (GIROC).
The Practising Ruin Working Party aims to introduce practitioners to modern ruin theoretic concepts as part of the toolkit for risk-return assessments
The Pragmatic Stochastic Reserving Working Party researches the stochastic reserving methods available to general insurance reserving actuaries with the aim of agreeing a diverse selection of stochastic reserving techniques which will form the focus of the Working Party's subsequent research
This Working Party will look at different aspects of the capital regulation of Life Insurers and whether changes would reduce the tendency for Capital to be consumed or for Capital Requirements to increase in falling markets. This working party disbanded in June 2018.
A cross practice Working Party investigating the challenges of meeting long term care costs, a significant funding challenge for individuals, and both, current and future governments
A cross practice Working Party investigating the challenges of meeting long term care costs, a significant funding challenge for individuals, and both, current and future governments
The Programming for Actuarial Work working party is a cross-practice group established to explore and support the adoption of best practice computer programming concepts and techniques in daily actuarial work.
Commissioned project - This research project covered three areas; a survey of current practices, a survey of existing research and debate, and the developing of a common language for communicating current practice on discount rates and risk
The focus of this disbanded Working Party was to look at Solvency II on Defined Benefit pensions from a risk management angle
The disbanded Proxy Modelling Working Party assessed the impact of methodology and design choices against a number of relevant criteria, including accuracy, speed, complexity, ease of implementation and cost in order that a more formal understanding of these impacts can be documented and disseminated.
The Rationale for Retirement Behaviour Working Party will seek to better understand patterns amongst those retiring with regards to their pensions choices
This disbanded Working Party considered the lessons learnt from the failure of insurance companies, and how effective were the FSA reverse stress testing requirements in mitigating future failures
The RRP working group’s objective is to coordinate the development of a framework for actuaries, in both the life and non-life sectors, working to develop Recovery and Resolution Plans.
An overview of publications, presentations and press articles relating to this research programme
An overview of publications, presentations and press articles relating to this research programme
The Reserving Practice Survey Working Party is reviewing current reserving practice in the UK, covering those undertaking the reserving work (personal lines, London Market and reinsurers) but also canvassing the views of those using the output of the work such as board members, senior management, and regulatory bodies
This working party aims to develop a framework for helping customers understand risks and outcomes for insurance products and for avoiding unexpected customer outcomes
This disbanded Working Party was set up following the 2010 Risk and Investment Conference because there was little material available in relation to risk appetite and specifically developing risk limits
The working party has been created to assist professionals (actuaries as well as other professionals) employed in life insurance business in understanding the meaning of Risk Appetite, how it is determined and its application. A key aim will be to suggest the possible ways it can enhance value for different stakeholders.
Risk terminology varies from organisation to organisation and actuaries working in different organisations may use different terms to refer to the same risk, or use the same nomenclature for completely different risks. This disbanded Working Party set out a classification system that could be used as a common reference point for discussion risk
The emerging risks and opportunities associated with autonomous vehicles (AV) will need to be carefully considered by the insurance industry. The issues are wide ranging and should be understood by the actuarial profession. This is an important and high profile topic that has public interest ramifications. The actuarial profession should be in a position to inform the public debate and the insurance industry - the work of the Risk Considerations for Autonomous Vehicles Working Party is intended to help achieve this position.
The scope for this Disbanded Working Party was to consider a description of the feasibility of assessment / measurement of the culture of risk taking and the approaches to assessment / measurement. Also the assessment of the feasibility of changing the risk taking culture of an enterprise and discuss approaches to changing the culture of risk taking. Unfortunately, the research proposal failed to achieve the funding required to enable it to start
This working party was established to form views and recommendations to assist actuarial practitioners in risk management considerations relating to operating in a digital world
This Research Working Party will propose both theoretically sound and practical solutions to the current Risk Margin limitations
The procyclicality project was a joint venture between the IFoA and the Bank of England, led on our side by Ashok Gupta and Ronnie Bowie
This disbanded Working Party looked to develop proposals for enhancing our understanding of risk reporting based on the key elements, reporting to regulators, reporting to outside stakeholders, reporting for managing the business
This Working Party identifies the roles actuaries have in life offices, along with trends, threats to and opportunities for actuaries
This Research Working Party seeks to examine running off mature schemes in greater depth
The Secondary Annuities Scoping Group seeks to conduct research related to annuitants and their engagement in future secondary annuities markets in the UK
The Social Finance and Impact Investing Working Party looks at Social Finance and Impact Investing and the measurement of non-financial returns
Solvency II IMAP investigates the internal model approval process for Solvency II and the specific challenge this presents for General Insurance actuaries
The Solvency II Practical Review Working Party seeks to evaluate the practical implications of Solvency II one year post-implementation and develop improvements for the PRA to consider in respect of this regulation.
Spreadsheet Models look at the issues surrounding end user computing (EUC) tools, especially spreadsheet models, which are in common uses across most businesses including most internal models
The State Pension Age Working Party will identify the factors we would expect the bodies making recommendations to Government on an age related SPA to take into account
This working party was set up to look at stress and scenario testing in life insurance
PhD Studentship - The project will initially be following two linked themes on the topic of model validation: backtesting of risk models and the development of proxy functions
ARC PhD Studentship addressing the study of survival models and their use in actuarial practice
This Working Party is now disbanded
The disbanded Takaful Life Insurance Working Party had the aim of adding to the overall body of knowledge of takaful and advancing actuarial science
This Working Party explores how ‘Story Telling’ might improve communication of potential future developments and adverse outcomes resulting in better decision-making under uncertainty
This cross practice Working Party has been created to examine the main implications of Resource and Environment issues for Pension actuaries and identify the best ways to manage those implications
This working party is to investigate whether consumers understand the value of their with-profits policies and, in particular, is the value of inherent guarantees and potential for real asset growth recognised by consumers? It will also seek to understand what the consumer’s perspective is on the run-off of with-profits funds? Are consumers getting what they signed up for and do they understand the potential ‘end games’ of the run-off of the fund?
Third Party investigates emerging claim trends in third party motor insurance
This Working Party works in tandem with the Third Party Working Party (Data) and the PPO Working Party
The Working Party will consider how customer needs are evolving and the potential impacts on the consumer environment
This Working Party explores the governance and design of existing processes within reserving, ensuring that principles-based guidance (small ‘g’) is given
This working party will examine the management of Transitional Measures for TPs, a measure, one approved by PRA under Solvency II but whose subsequent management is not laid down in all areas. The sums involved are very material but the future management and fluctuation in the measure is unclear.
This Working Party is now disbanded, but was created to review the comparisons of the causes of death by broad classification since 1993
The UK Asbestos Working Party investigates asbestos related claims based on UK market data, investigates trends and reacts accordingly
UK Deafness Claims facilitates market data collection and investigates claims experience relating to deafness/noise-induced hearing loss in the UK
There seems to be a wide variety of opinions from practitioners in the field of capital (and in the insurance industry more generally) as to the range of uncertainty of 99.5th percentile estimates in general insurance internal models for the purpose of capital setting. This working party will develop existing work in this area, seek to refine the estimates of uncertainty and consider the practical implications of this work.
PhD Studentship – This project studies the rapidly expanding population of annuitants who have undergone knee or hip replacement
The aim of this disbanded Research Working Party was to undertake research to improve the understanding of recent developments and emerging trends in structuring unit-linked funds.
This commissioned research programme develops new methods for assessing basis risk and evaluating longevity improvement based on Big Health and Actuarial Data
This Research Working party will seek to develop an understanding of Investment Strategies. This working party will consider the following objectives:
Why Retire? explores the concept of a binary ‘retired/not retired’ status and the impact of this concept on the structuring of benefit accumulation and decumulation in later life
The general purpose of the working party is to help promote the potential for actuaries to use their risk skills to work in areas beyond the traditional practice areas. That promotion to be both internally within the profession (raising awareness of the options) and externally (showcasing actuarial skills and the value they can add in different fields).

IFoA research programme typically comprises over 100 initiatives at any one time.

A full list of current IFoA research working parties can be found here.

The IFoA supports and sponsors research through member-led working parties in various practice areas and through commissioned external research such as that undertaken in universities. By supporting new research, we continue to further actuarial science and aim to provide members with cutting edge knowledge attuned to the realities of their working lives. This listing contains all IFoA research.

Research outputs can be accessed via Sessional Research Programme recordings and Research papers.

Similarly, IFoA research papers provide a way for members and academics to communicate their findings. Research papers can be accessed via the Sessional Research Programme and knowledge exchange page and via the main site search.

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