Actuaries Institute forms COVID-19 Working Group

In response to the ongoing pandemic situation, the Institute has formed a COVID-19 Working Group, led by Jennifer Lang. This article highlights the scope of work and current members of the group.

Two weeks ago, the Institute put out a call for volunteers to form a COVID-19 Working Group, to be chaired by me, Jennifer Lang. We were overwhelmed with volunteers, thank you to the 80 volunteers who put their hand up.

Our first task was to work out what the profession can do best. 

This is a time of crisis for the world and the Australian community. The Actuaries Institute intends to contribute our profession’s unique skills and experience to helping with the crisis.

Specific skill sets that are unique to the profession are:

  • A professional and (as much as possible) independent outlook.
  • Skill in scenario testing and modelling out to the future.
  • A cross over between statistical and financial insights.
  • Skills in long term projection and modelling.
  • Explaining risk and uncertainty to Boards and senior management.


The COVID-19 working group focuses that skillset on four main areas:

  1. Helping professionals and broader society understand what is happening in terms of statistics, alerts to appropriate research etc (which is what our Resource Centre and blogging group is already doing).
    • That includes podcasts/webinars and any other way of sharing information with the profession to help them understand what is happening so that the whole profession can be part of this response.
  2. Focusing the Resource Centre and publications on supporting actuaries support their companies, and fulfil their professional roles in how to manage through this crisis:
    • Dialogue papers for individual practice areas – What every actuary advising a financial services company should know – e.g. GI/Life/Super/Retirement/Health.
    • Providing guidance to companies on scenarios and stress testing.
    • Writing checklists for FCRs.
    • Helping think through what to do in Accounts (not just a year end issue).
    • Monitoring and interpreting APRA commentary action for the profession as needed.
  3. Helping the wider thinking of government, treasury and regulators, especially APRA, as needed, particularly on policy issues.
    • Including helping with any scenario thinking around the broader social security system
  4. Liaising with international actuarial bodies to ensure we are sharing research as much as possible (supporting the other three areas).


We have set up a Lead Team to lead all our volunteers with the following membership:


Name Role
Jennifer Lang Convenor
Estelle Pearson GI
Daniel Longden Life
Ian Laughlin Boards & Regulators
Julia Lessing Social Security & Projections
Douglas Isles Wealth & Investments
Michael Rice Retirement Incomes
Paul Nuttall Content & Banking
Andrew Matthews Health
Peter Yeates Risk
Fred Rowley International Liaison
Shami Shearer New Zealand
Oliver Wood Secretary
John McLenaghan Actuaries Institute
Vanessa Beenders Actuaries Institute
Jeff Humphries Superannuation


We have set ourselves an ambitious agenda to support the profession as we deal with crisis, at the same time as working how best to deploy our skills for good.

Next week we will be the guinea pigs for the Institute’s first virtual Insights session, where we will provide an update on the working group’s activities and facilitate a Q&A segment – you can register here.

In the meantime, please check out the Pandemic Resource Centre, including the various articles and blog posts that our members have authored, to help all of us understand the scope of the impact on COVID-19 on the world.

CPD: Actuaries Institute Members can claim two CPD points for every hour of reading articles on Actuaries Digital.