IFoA's Mental Health Working Party – bringing our work into the actuarial syllabus

Mental Health

Dave Matthews, Head of PRT Quote Production, Legal & General, discusses the IFoA’s Mental Health Working Party’s work on the changes to the actuarial syllabus and recaps the week of mental health podcasts from February.

9-15 May marks Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK. As part of our aim to increase awareness of mental health in the profession, the IFoA’s Mental Health Working Party has been keen to see what we could do to bring our work into the actuarial syllabus. Over the past few months, we have worked with Colin Thores, Education Actuary at the IFoA, to understand how we could contribute to the actuarial syllabus to highlight mental health issues in actuarial work.

I’m really pleased to announce that our suggested additions to the Core Reading have been accepted and, from the next edition of the syllabus (for examination in April 2023), students will learn about the consideration of mental health in Healthcare (SA1) and Life (SA2) specialist application subjects. On behalf of the Working Party, I’d like to thank Colin and the teams that reviewed and approved our suggested changes to the Core Reading. I’d also like to thank the IFoA Mental Health Working Party for their ideas, enthusiasm, and hard work to achieve this important goal.

On behalf of the IFoA’s Mental Health Working Party, thanks to all of you were able to tune into our week of mental health podcasts in February exploring the wide range of touchpoints between mental health and insurance. I strongly recommend listening to these podcasts if you missed them.

Each of the podcasts has an accompanying blog, with blogs and podcasts all linked from our new section on the IFoA’s website at www.actuaries.org.uk/practice-areas/health-and-care/research-working-parties/mental-health.

  • Our first podcast was a discussion between Kathryn Knowles and Lynn Beattie aka Mrs. Mummypenny. Lynn and Kathryn’s discussion gives personal insight into a customer’s view of managing money, life insurance, and mental health.
  • On the second podcast, Phil Jeynes from Reassure, Alan Knowles from Cura Financial Services, and Neal Cross from MoneySupermarket discussed how to approach the insurance market through advised, non-advised, and price comparison routes and the implications for people with mental health conditions.
  • The third podcast was a discussion between Kathryn and two of the IFoA Mental Health Working Party members - Lisa Balboa and Fraser Ballantine – about how actuaries consider mental health in pricing and underwriting decisions.
  • Kathryn then spoke with Vanessa Sallows from Legal & General and Monica Garcia from Monica Garcia Consulting about the insurance claims process and support for people with mental health conditions.
  • Finally, John Brazier, editor of Cover magazine, hosted a webinar with Lisa Balboa, Fraser Ballantine, and Kathryn Knowles. This session was a discussion on best practice in the industry currently when it comes to mental health in insurance, as well as what we can do to keep improving our products, practices and processes going forwards.

A very special thanks to our hosts Kathryn and John, all our panellists, and everyone who gave up their time to prepare these podcasts and blogs. The IFoA’s Mental Health Working Party relies on volunteers to undertake our work and communicate this to IFoA members and the wider insurance industry. This group has put in a lot of effort over the last couple of years. We all share a passion for ensuring the profession is actively championing considerations around mental health in insurance, whether we are thinking about product design, underwriting, how we interact with our customers, and when thinking about ourselves and our employees.

The Working Party is always keen to hear suggestions from members of the IFoA and the wider insurance industry of other areas linked to mental health that we should focus on. Please reach out to Lisa Balboa (Lisa.Balboa@hannover-re.com), deputy chair of the Working Party, or me  (David.Matthews@landg.com) if you have some suggestions.