Actuaries Institute Silver Medal Citation – John Pollard

This citation was originally published in July 2001 (in ‘Actuary Australia’ magazine) and has been converted to digital to mark John Pollard (AM) receiving an Award in the 2019 Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Emeritus Professor John Hurlstone Pollard was announced as a: Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the General Division in the 2019 Queen’s Birthday Honours. John received his award for significant service to community music events, and to education. Read his Award Extract here.

Professor John Pollard Actuary Australia – July 2001

The Silver Medal of the Institute of Actuaries of Australia is presented to someone with a long record of outstanding actuarial work in the service of the profession, business, government and community, which has brought credit to the profession and has only only been awarded three times in the 120 year history of the Institute.

There’s no more deserving Australian actuary than John Pollard. John Pollard is Professor of Actuarial Studies at Macquarie University where he has been Head of the Department of Actuarial Studies since 1977. His contribution to the education of actuaries in Australia is unparalleled. He has taught over 500 of the 1, 140 Australian actuaries and an even greater proportion of Associate and Student members of the Institute.

More to the point John has personally taught five Presidents and the current President -Elect of the Institute of Actuaries of Australia.

His influence in the education of actuaries stretches globally: he is the author of seven books; of which one has been translated into Japanese, Chinese and Spanish, and two others also have foreign editions – Chinese and Russian, another appears in Braille.

He has been a pioneer in actuarial education. He taught the first courses in general insurance, before this subject was part of the professional examinations. He was instrumental in setting up the actuarial program at the University of Melbourne. He taught the Actuarial Control Cycle subject when it was introduced in 1996, and in 2001 delivered lectures on the Control Cycle at universities in China.

John has been a leader in seminal research, with more than 80 research papers in refereed journals on topics ranging from demography and statistics to actuarial studies. He was the first actuary to develop a stochastic asset/liability model (1971) that led to the award of the 75th Anniversary Prize of the Royal Belgian Actuarial Association.

In 1966 he authored the first widely recognised comprehensive stochastic population projection model, and in 1969 was the joint author of the stochastic model of life insurance and annuity functions now widely adopted in actuarial education.

His joint authorship in 1979 of a mortality model continues to stimulate research internationally. In 1982 John proposed a method for analysing changes in the expectation of life in terms of the changes in the underlying causes of death, which was later adopted by the WHO in its analyses of international cause of death data.

John has been very active in the work of the Institute, and was President in 1987. He was President of the Statistical Society of Australia in 1974 and 1975. Chairman of the Mortality Committee of the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population from 1979-82 and Council Member of the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population 1989-93.

John gained First Class Honours in Mathematical Statistics from Sydney University in 1964, and a PhD in mathematical Statistics and Demography from Cambridge University in 1967. His actuarial education however began even earlier: he sat (and passed) his first examinations through the Institute of Actuaries (London) while still a schoolboy. His various consulting and advising positions include:

• Chief Statistician for the Federal Government’s Inquiry into National Compensation and Rehabilitation from 1973-75,

• Director of Swiss Re Australia Ltd and associated companies since 1984,

• a consultant to a number of Australian Life and General Insurers since 1981, and

• advice to other organisations including the Life Insurance federation of Australia, the NSW Government, Insurance Council of Australia and the Royal Australian Navy.

A consummate traveller, having visited over 60 countries, John and his wife Carys drove from London to Bombay in 1968 across Europe, Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. Remarkably he used the same 1964 Morris Mini to drive the 27,000 km back to England in 1999, via Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, China and Tibet, Mongolia, Siberia, Russia, Belarus, Poland and Western Europe – a unique achievement!

We should acknowledge the high quality of our actuarial education: its partnership between the Institute and the universities, its ability to attract the cream of school leavers. We have a successful model, often the envy of other actuarial bodies around the world. John Pollard has made an important and valuable contribution to the development of actuarial education. He has worked tirelessly to keep the Macquarie University program going, particularly through the 1980s when external pressures brought it to the brink. For this, as well as for his outstanding research record, the profession truly owes John Pollard a debt of gratitude, which it honours today by presenting him with the Silver Medal.

The quality of John’s academic and research papers, his leadership of the Macquarie University actuarial department and contribution to actuarial education nationally and internationally, his service as a councillor and President of the Institute of Actuaries of Australia make John Pollard’s contribution to the actuarial profession outstanding.

Presented by Tony Coleman, President of the Institute of Actuaries of Australia on Tuesday 15 May 2001 at the Gala Dinner of the Biennial Convention at Sanctuary Cove, Qld.

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