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An article by Geraldine Kaye on FT Adviser

FT

Actuaries should establish MPs expenses allowance

Actuaries have the skill set to establish an average expense allowance for MPs, believes Dr Geraldine Kaye, managing director of actuarial recruitment consultancy GAAPS Actuarial. “Based on past legitimate expense claims coupled with the size of an MP’s constituency and distance from London it should be possible to create a model which calculates what their individual expenses should be within a given range.

“With all the publicity and criticism surrounding MPs expenses this to me would make sense and settle public unease over this volatile issue. The actuarial profession looks at probability and developing statistical data from a long term perspective so is very well qualified.”

Actuaries calculating Bankers bonuses

“Actuaries should be involved in calculating banking bonuses as they are trained to determine where there are any unacceptable risks being taken. As actuaries it is the long term that concerns us,” says Dr Geraldine Kaye, an actuary herself and managing director of actuarial recruitment consultancy GAAPS Actuarial.

“Where there are enormous bonuses for profitable performance and with no downside for poor performance, you can only encourage risky and in some cases even irresponsible behaviour.

“With-profit life policies fell out of favour because non-actuaries could not understand the smoothing techniques that were used and required. A variation of those techniques, but with much better communication of what is being done, would be very well suited to smoothing bankers’ bonuses. Once bonuses are accurately spread over several years, then traders would have to be much more careful that the risks they take will not result in large or even catastrophic losses.

“All it requires is for a few actuaries to enter this area of work and to be seen actively involved in calculating banking bonuses, then others will be able to follow.”

Presentation by Dr Geraldine Kaye at the Regional ASHK ERM Conference Macau on 29th April 2013

Actuaries are absolutely suited for Chief Risk Officers (CRO) posts and analysing ‘Big Data’ according to Dr Geraldine Kaye, managing director of actuarial recruitment consultancy, GAAPS Actuarial.

At a speech given to The Actuarial Society of Hong Kong in Macao in April, Dr Kaye told delegates “For some time the newly introduced position of CRO was seen as requiring someone of qualitative mode. It is now more appreciated that it needs a more quantitative approach using the modelling skills of the actuary. I feel sure it will eventually settle somewhere in the middle. Similarly we are beginning to see the revival of actuaries as CEOs.

However, the greatest challenge to an actuary who aspires to be a high flyer, is that to succeed they must also be able to communicate their ideas at Board level and be able to zoom in and out effectively from one aspect to another when questioned. They must be able to distil issues and explain, and also convince the recipient why the point is important.

Similarly, in many of the actuarial consultancies we are seeing the merging of the actuarial and risk teams. But this is a two-edged sword for actuaries since although it provides greater breadth of opportunities for actuaries, it also allows those without the qualification to encroach on traditional actuarial territory.”

Turning to the vast increase in legislation with financial services, Dr Kaye feels abilities connected with risk management and governance are required, and in these areas is becoming more accepted that actuaries are ideal. She added “Changes in financial services regulation whether or not it is good or bad for Society in general, will always increase jobs for actuaries in the short to medium term.

As actuaries, it is the long term that concerns us. Over the past few years we have seen crisis after crisis increasing job opportunities for actuaries, but for the moment there appears to be a brake. Will the actuaries no longer needed for these regulatory and compliance roles find other roles more suited to their abilities and more productive to Society. The short answer is yes. A new area that is suddenly opening up and becoming fashionable is ‘Big Data’.

Actuaries talk about analytics and have not pushed the areas of use to its full potential and seem to be missing out to other professions such as statisticians who simply call it ‘Big Data’. What many insurance companies are beginning to realise is how important is the accuracy and accessibility of the data they retain. The more accurate the data, the less risk associated to calculations associated with it and therefore there is a knock on effect to solvency calculations and thus to level of reserves required under Basel etc.”

Dr Kaye concluded by telling delegates, it was heartening to hear from the consensus of speakers that the world is in recovery and she would like to concur with this message and add that jobs for actuaries are definitely on the increase.

Below are some of the pictures from the conference.

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Presentation by Dr Geraldine Kaye at the Regional ASHK ERM Conference Macau on 29th April 2013

Presentation by Dr Geraldine Kaye at the Regional ASHK ERM Conference Macau on 29th April 2013

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Increasing care provision would allow more family carers to work, boosting the economy according to report

A report by Cass Business School commissioned by Carers UK states that a fundamental shift’ in the adult care system would not only help to support struggling families, but would also add significant value to the UK gross domestic product (GDP).

Carers UK commissioned the report to examine the challenges families are facing and to give an independent view on how to improve the lives of family carers.

Leslie Mayhew who wrote the report believes that before the government can reform the current care system, they must understand ‘the economic costs of failures in care’.

More than half of the UK’s 6.4 million family carers attempt to juggle the demands of caring for a disabled or elderly relative whilst maintaining a job. According to the report, if external care was provided, these people would be able to work full-time, contributing approximately £47,800 to the GDP each year.

Chief executive of Carers UK, Helena Herklots said: ‘Too often the debate around reform of care for older and disabled people is framed as a drain on public finances. It is time we recognised that helping families to juggle work and care and stimulating a new generation of care services can act as an engine for economic growth.’

Survey looks at UK life and pension choices for new generation of customers.

Research by Cable&Wireless Worldwide has found that 90% of consumers express some dissatisfaction with the methods of communications from UK financial services providers.

Almost half would like more comprehensive websites which include video explanations and calculators, and17% of those asked wanted an instant message service whilst using the site. With younger consumers looking for more interactivity from providers, insurance providers need to respond to accommodate these needs or risk alienating future customers.

Nicola Dicks, director, General Insurance, Life & Pensions at Cable & Wireless Worldwide comments “Running multiple communication channels is simply not good enough if the customer experience is poor and disjointed, that’s why it’s vital for insurance providers to improve existing communication channels before rushing to invest in new ones. To engage with and retain their customers, insurers should be providing the right information and advice at first point of contact, whatever method that is.”

“Whilst at the moment technology leadership is strongest amongst younger customers, communications requirements will continue to shift as generations move through different life stages. Insurers therefore need to make sure they get their communication channels right–or they could find themselves restricted to a diminishing segment. Improving communications infrastructure will have a fundamental role to play in delivering the transformation required.”

Global insurance prices continue to rise

Global insurance prices increased by 0.9% in the third quarter of 2012, continuing the gradual increases that began in the second half of 2011

The latest quarterly insurance market briefing by Marsh, also found a 1.4% increase in renewal rates in the third quarter. This was the same level as seen in the second quarter, which Marsh said was evidence that price increases might be stabilising.

Andrew Chester, chief executive of the firm’s placement brokering division Bowring Marsh, said: ‘While the global insurance market continues to be in a state of clear transition, the results for individual insureds vary significantly. With capacity and appetite for well-managed risk still strong, insureds are still able to achieve favourable results on renewal in many lines of business.’

Insurance rates for financial and professional business rose by an average of 1.9% for renewals in the third quarter. In particular, concerns over the eurozone crisis among underwriters saw financial institutions in every major eurozone country experience increases in their liability insurance rates.

Casualty insurance rates rose by an average of 1.2% globally – higher than the 0.8% increase seen in the second quarter of 2012. However, a lack of natural catastrophes so far this year has helped to stabilise property insurance rates.