Empowering collaboration between health actuaries and healthcare organisations

Empowering collaboration between health actuaries and healthcare organisations A new brochure from the IFoA highlights the skills and values of actuaries for public health systems in the UK and beyond. Members are welcome to use it to support their conversations with their contacts at health organisations.

Actuaries have been involved in health and care applications since the profession was established in the UK over 175 years ago. Despite this long history, the involvement of actuaries within public health systems in the UK has been relatively limited. Some other countries have many more health and care actuaries, demonstrating that actuaries do have a lot to offer the health sector.

There are also relatively few health and care actuaries in the UK compared to actuaries in other practice areas such as life, pensions, and general insurance. This suggests there is a large potential talent base already in the UK that could apply its skills to the health sector.

More recently, since forming 6 years ago, members of the IFoA’s Population Health Management Working Party (PHM WP) have had many conversations with leaders and analytics teams across England’s NHS.

There is a clear interest within the health service to explore how actuarial science and actuarial approaches can support analytics and financial planning within the health system. However, the PHM WP realised time and time again that, among health service partners, there is a wide mix of perceptions and limits of understanding and ideas about actuarial science and what actuaries do.

From the other side, we are aware there is a small but talented pool of actuaries already working with, or directly for, NHS organisations. But there is perhaps limited awareness of these opportunities for actuaries outside of the small group of professionals currently involved.

In the UK, IFoA members active in the health and care practice area are predominantly working within health insurance or consulting roles. We want to highlight the opportunities within the public health system to other actuaries and support them to engage with public health system organisations.

To address these 2 challenges, the PHM WP has developed a brochure that highlights the skills and values of members of the actuarial profession, and frames these to appeal to public health system organisations. The brochure has been written with the UK’s health system in mind but aims to cover the universal benefits of actuaries working for health systems globally.

We are publishing the brochure with the aim that all members of the IFoA could use it to support their own conversations with contacts at health organisations.

By health organisations, that includes, for example:

  • the recently formed integrated care boards in England’s NHS
  • health boards in Scotland
  • hospital trusts
  • community services providers
  • GPs within local primary care networks

The aim is to help promote the actuarial profession among health practitioners and leaders. It helps to explain that the combination of background training in advanced mathematical, statistical, economic, and financial fields, combined with experience of applying these skills to real-world business problems, typically within highly regulated industries such as pensions and insurance, can be highly beneficial to health organisations.

Furthermore, within the health sector domain, there is often an abundance of large datasets which are huge but incomplete. These need expertise to use and apply analytics methods to, and the expertise to recognise the limits of the data alone and fill any gaps with rigorous assumption setting and modelling approaches.

We also need to promote the fact that actuaries adhere to high professional standards, are guided by a code of conduct, and are required to act in the public interest. We can often play the valuable role of independent experts within multi-disciplinary teams within health organisations’ projects.

Get your copy

Please take the brochure, assess which slides resonate most strongly for you, and use it to support conversations you want to have with your health contacts.

Download the brochure

Share your feedback

We welcome any feedback from colleagues using the brochure and look forward to hearing how it is used. Please share your feedback in the IFoA communities platform.

This is a first version and has been kept relatively universal in its target audience. We anticipate developing future versions for more specific audiences.

Join the webinar

Members of the PHM WP will present the brochure during a live IFoA webinar on 18 June. We look forward to seeing you there.

Register for webinar


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