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Will the Future Blame Us? Bringing future generations into today’s politics

On 19 April we hosted an event in collaboration with the Foundation for Democracy and Sustainable Development, bringing together actuaries and those from the policymaking community to talk about how we might embed long-term thinking in public policy, and how the actuarial skillset could be used to make this happen.

Image of panel at the eventWe were joined by Joerg Tremmel, Editor-in-Chief of the Intergenerational Justice Review, Clare Moriarty, Permanent Secretary at the UK Government’s Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra), and the IFoA’s own Louise Pryor, who is Chair of the Resource and Environment Board. The central question for discussion was how we might bring more long-term thinking into policymaking, to manage risks and uncertainties that transcend generations, and what this would mean for democracy today.

Joerg kicked off by pitting the actuaries in the room against a profession of much longer-term thinkers: geologists. We know actuaries are accustomed to dealing with long-term time horizons, but these pale in comparison with the millennia under consideration by geological epochs. The current buzzword in geological circles is the ‘Anthropocene’. This is the geological timeframe in which some argue we are currently existing, which reflects the relatively recent history of the earth’s ecosystems being significantly impacted by human activity – think mass extinctions of plant and animal species, oceanic pollution and changes to the composition of the atmosphere.

In this new epoch, do we need new political institutions to reflect the lasting impact that the human race is having on the earth, now and into the future? Joerg defined this in terms of the way our political leaders react to changing times:

The difference between a politician and a statesman is that the politician thinks about the next election while the statesman thinks about the next generation. In the Anthropocene, the need for more statesmen is imperative.

The climate is arguably an area where longer-term thinking has been allowed to flourish. In recent years, you could say that climate change has become one of the few ‘mainstream’ long-term risks. For most people in the developed world, at least some of the potential impacts of climate change are well understood, and are increasingly becoming part of the national conversation. And in the developing world some of the consequences of these risks are already showing themselves.

It is no surprise then that we were given a range of examples where Defra, a department focused heavily on the natural environment, already incorporates long-term considerations into its work, and why it feels that much of its work in considering environmental impacts of policy leads to thinking about how decisions might play out over longer time horizons.  The Thames 2100 project for example, is based on climate change modelling looking into the next century. And on an international level, the Paris Agreement, while the true impact of which is yet unproven, represents a global effort to make substantive policy changes in the interests of future generations.

Clare Moriarty also provided the example of Patrick McLoughlin MP, who as a junior minster in the Department for Transport in 1989, was involved in the planning for Crossrail, which was only being constructed when he returned to the Department as Secretary of State in 2012.  The first travelers on the new Elizabeth Line will be at least one generation on from those who dreamt it up.

So there are some success stories, and examples of policies made with long time horizons in mind. But there is still a basic conundrum which lies at the heart of this decision-making process, which is how to convince the current generation to pay a cost in the short term when the benefits will be realised only by future generations.

All of this will of course be nothing new to actuaries. Understanding the long- term implications of decisions made today is at the heart of actuarial science. And we think these skills could be utilized more broadly by policymakers to help them make better decisions. Louise for example told us

I rarely talk about expected outcomes to my clients – I try talk about possible outcomes, and give some idea of how possible they are. And it’s possible outcomes that policymakers should be thinking about in the context of the long term.

We also discussed a number of ideas for reform, which could help to bring these concepts into decision-making in a more tangible way. The IFoA will be exploring these in more detail throughout 2018. If you have any ideas or want to contribute towards this work please get in touch using Policy@actuaries.org.uk.

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Events calendar

  • TIGI 2019 (Technical Issues in General Insurance)

    Royal College of Physicians, 11 St Andrews Place, Regent's Park, London, NW1 4LE
    25-26 April 2019
    Spaces available

    This General Insurance CPD offering has been changed from former years of individual one day seminars to include individual sessions for IFRS 17, Pricing, Capital Modelling and Reserving over a two-day event  packaged as Technical Issues in General Insurance, providing attendees with a varied program . The event is suitable for anyone who works, or are interested, in these areas.

  • Fully booked.

    Data Visualisation helps to communicate information clearly and effectively through graphical means.  This talk will showcase some visualisations that the working party has found useful for common actuarial situations.  The event is now full, however if you would like to join a waiting list, please email Barry_shannon@standardlife.com

  • Francophone Actuaries Meeting 2019

    Aviva, Saint Helen's, 1 Undershaft, London EC3P 3DQ, UK
    2 May 2019

    Spaces available

    L'Institut des Actuaires and French actuaries in the UK, partnered with Aviva, are delighted to be hosting their annual "l'afterwork" event for French speaking actuaries in the UK. The event will mix French and English interventions.

    Register via this link to be added to the guest list:  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/rencontre-annuelle-des-actuaires-francophones-londres-tickets-59758941603

     

     

  • Spaces available

    CPD

    CPD
    1.00 hours

    The CMI SAPS Mortality Committee and Mortality Projections Committee will be holding a joint webinar, aimed primarily at pension scheme trustees, describing considerations relating to setting longevity assumptions in 2019.

  • SIAS EVENT - Hurricane Clustering: A New Reality?

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ
    7 May 2019

    Spaces available

    The 2017 North Atlantic hurricane season was one of the most active on record. We saw multiple hurricanes coming close together causing significant damage and human loss. The talk discusses whether 2017 was an exceptional year or indicative of what we expect to see in the near future, and the implications for (re)insurers.

  • IFoA Asia Conference 2019, Chengdu

    Crowne Plaza Chengdu Panda Garden, Poly Park 198, No. 1980 ShuLong Avenue,Xindu District, Chengdu
    09-10 May 2019
    Spaces available

    IfoA Logo for eventsOffering a diverse selection of plenary sessions and cross-practice workshops, the annual Asia Conference is the perfect opportunity to discover and discuss current and developing actuarial topics in Asia, whilst providing excellent opportunity to grow your network of contacts.

  • DAG event - Can we overcome unconscious bias?

    KPMG LLP  Saltire Court,  20 Castle Terrace, Edinburgh EH1 2EG
    9 May 2019

    Spaces available

    This session will examine our biases, look at what it feels like to be an outsider and give attendees practical tools and actions we can all take to support and grow diversity and inclusion, within the profession. This session is also designed to meet the objectives of the IFoA’s Stage 3 Professional Skills Training for experienced members.

  • KSS event – IQ+EQ = Future Success

    Royal London, 1 Thistle Street, Edinburgh
    14 May 2019

    Spaces available

    In this interactive session, our facilitators, Russell Borland and Thomas Chalmers, Partners of UK-based coaching consulting firm, Leading Figures, will explore how we can enhance our EQ to make the most of our IQ. They will introduce an Emotional Intelligence framework developed by psychologist Daniel Goleman and provide participants with an opportunity to personally assess their own Emotional Intelligence.  To register please email Caitlin.stronach@royallondon.com

  • CILA 2019

    30 Euston Square, London NW1 2FB
    14 May 2019

    Spaces available

    CILA is one of the pre-eminent events in the annual Life calendar. It is aimed at practicing life actuaries from life offices, consulting firms and other employers of actuaries. It will also be of interest to all those who work in or advise on, the life assurance market in the UK and Europe.

  • KSS event – Bulk Annuity Market Update

    Willis Towers Watson 2 Lochrin Square, 96 Fountainbridge, Edinburgh EH3 9QA
    15 May 2019

    Fully booked.

    This KSS talk will give a bulk annuity market update over 2018 and for 2019 and beyond.  The presenters will also consider bulk annuity options as part of pension scheme de-risking strategies, and how pension schemes can best prepare when requesting a quote in order to achieve a favourable outcome. Please note this event is now full, however, if you wish to join a waiting list, please email Dawn.Neil@willistowerswatson.com.

  • KSS event – Bulk Annuity Market Update

    Willis Towers Watson 2 West Regent Street Glasgow G2 1RW
    16 May 2019

    Spaces available

    This KSS talk will give a bulk annuity market update over 2018 and for 2019 and beyond. The presenters will also consider bulk annuity options as part of pension scheme de-risking strategies, and how pension schemes can best prepare when requesting a quote in order to achieve a favourable outcome. To book a place please email Dawn.Neil@willistowerswatson.com

  • How to protect SMEs from Cyber Attacks

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ.  
    16 May 2019

    Spaces available

    The aim of this interdisciplinary symposium is to gain understanding and awareness of UK private SMEs about their insurance need as a part of cyber risk management and mitigation strategies.

  • Risk and Investment Conference 2019

    Amba Hotel, Charing Cross, Strand, London WC2N 5HX
    20-21 May 2019
    Spaces available

    This year's event begins with a Professional Skills Training plenary to help build your CPD, followed by a formal drinks reception and dinner on the evening of 20 May.  The following day will then be a programme full of topical plenaries and workshops covering the latest trends and topical issues in the risk and investment sector with plenty of opportunities to network with colleagues and build your CPD.

  • LMS Invited Lectures 2019

    ICMS, The Bayes Centre, 47 Potterrow, Edinburgh EH8 9BT
    20 May 2019 - 24 May 2019

    Spaces available

    On May 20-24 2019, Prof Søren Asmussen (Aarhus University) will deliver a course on lectures on advanced topics in life insurance mathematics.  This will be held at the International Centre for Mathematical Sciences, Edinburgh, and will be accompanied by supporting lectures from Prof Corina Constantinescu (University of Liverpool) and Prof Andrew Cairns (Heriot-Watt University). To register, please visit https://www.icms.org.uk/LMSAsmussen.php.

  • Mortality and Longevity Symposium 2019

    ICC Birmingham, Broad St, Birmingham B1 2EA
    04-05 June 2019
    Spaces available

    The Mortality and Longevity Symposium aims to expand delegates’ horizons by giving a better view of the scope of current mortality research in a wide variety of relevant disciplines, and by providing a forum to discuss the implications for actuarial practice and it will be of interest to all actuaries concerned with setting or reviewing mortality and longevity assumptions, underwriters, demographers, epidemiologists, policy-

  • Protection, Health and Care Conference 2019

    ICC Birmingham  Broad St, Birmingham B1 2EA
    04-06 June 2019
    Spaces available

    The Protection, Health and Care Conference is an annual conference aimed at all insurance professionals with a passion for harnessing insurance risk in their organisations. The conference uses a combination of workshops by individuals who work at the coalface and ‘big name’ experts to explore how innovation, technological/medical advances, the political landscape and other market development will impact the Protection, Health and Care markets.

  • NED Event: Behavioural Finance and Boards

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ
    18 June 2019

    Spaces available

    Substantial work has been undertaken in the field of behavioural finance to explore the psychological factors affecting investment decisions made by individuals.  In contrast, “behavioural” factors (such as politics or human psychology) affecting decisions and actions made by institutional investors, such as insurers or pension schemes, are less understood.

  • Pensions Conference 2019

    Bristol Marriott Hotel City Centre, 2 Lower Castle Street, Old Market, Bristol, BS1 3AD
    18-19 June 2019
    Spaces available

    Covering current topics and industry trends, the conference also includes a pre-conference evening dinner (18 June) giving you the opportunity to develop your network. 

  • KSS event – FinTech and The Actuarial Profession

    EY, Atria One, 144 Morrison Street, Edinburgh
    19 June 2019

    Spaces available

    This KSS talk from FinTech Scotland's CEO will explore the mission to create an integrated Fintech ecosystem through provision of funding, support, infrastructure and talent that recognises and responds to the needs of all stakeholders - and the overarching aim for Scotland to be one of the top 5 Fintech global leaders by 2020.

    To book your place, please email Barry_Shannon@standardlife.com 

  • Current Issues in General Insurance (CIGI) 2019

    Inmarsat, 99 City Road, London, EC1Y 1BJ
    19 June 2019

    Spaces available

    CIGI will provide an excellent and diverse line-up of speakers, each providing their insight and knowledge on a range of topics.  The programme will be broad in nature, so will be of most value to those with some experience in the industry. 

  • AGM and Presidential Address 2019

    The Hub  Castlehill Edinburgh EH1 2NE
    26 June 2019

    Spaces available

    Notice is hereby given that the ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING of the INSTITUTE AND FACULTY OF ACTUARIES will be held at The Hub, Edinburgh on Wednesday 26 June 2019 at 16.30 (Preceded by tea from 16.00) and followed by a PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS given by John Taylor.

  • SIAS: The Impact of Air Pollution on Health and Life Expectancy

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ
    2 July 2019

    Spaces available

    Air pollution has gained increasing attention lately. Nicola Oliver, head of longevity and mortality research for Medical Intelligence, will discuss not only the impacts of air pollution on health and life expectancy but also how as an industry we should be addressing it.

  • GIRO Conference 2019

    EICC, The Exchange, 150 Morrison St, Edinburgh EH3 8EE
    24-26 September 2019
    Spaces available

    GIRO is attended annually by over 800 delegates and speakers who are keen to discuss key topics such as Pricing, Reserving, Modelling and the future of the insurance industry. GIRO 2018 was a huge success and we have opened bookings early for what we hope will be another brilliant conference at the EICC in Edinburgh this year.