Two weeks down, two to go! Having passed the halfway mark of the 20/20 All-Actuaries Virtual Summit, we take a look back at some of the highlights and key learnings of the rich concurrent and plenary program that the Virtual Summit has offered so far.
With 900+ delegates, the Virtual Summit is a testament to the profession’s commitment to learning and collaboration. We’ve had a strong opening two weeks, with 26 concurrent and three plenary sessions with up to 242 attendees per session as at Friday 14 August. Unlike previous events with a maximum capacity in the conference rooms, the virtual environment enables a much higher attendance level at each session.
Actuaries Institute President Hoa Bui opened the Summit on Tuesday 4 August, acknowledging the land on which attendees all (virtually) met and thanking the generosity of our sponsor, Gen Re.
Hoa also spoke at the Disability Income Insurance Taskforce update later that day, accompanied by Greg Bird, Daniel Levy and Ian Laughlin. The Taskforce has been making progress in the areas of a sustainability guide, sustainability assessment and benchmark product.
The program has stayed true to its theme Through the Consumer Lens, with sessions encompassing that this is an event relevant for actuaries from all practice areas. This was showcased on Tuesday 11 August, where the concurrent session Careers, Wellbeing and Productivity in the Changed World, presented by Ian and Jess Pollard, quite literally touched on points aligned with all practice areas.
In fact, a total of five sessions achieved this standard in the Summit’s opening fortnight, with a further 10 sessions over the next two weeks which are appropriate for all practice areas.
The profession has been raising its voice in the public policy space, especially in retirement incomes as we strive to develop better retirement outcomes for Australians. The mini plenary on the Retirement Income Review was chaired by Nathan Bonarius and featured three speakers who responded to the Retirement Income Review – Andrew Boal, Robbie Campo and David Knox.
“The objectives of the retirement income system are to alleviate poverty (primary purpose of the age pension) and integrate the pension in super to help Australians maintain living standards during retirement”.
On Thursday 13 August, Adam Butt and Gaurav Khemka delivered on the hype generated in the Institute’s pre-Summit ‘Sneak Peek‘ video campaign, discussing the effective drawdown and investment strategies for retirement in their presentation ‘How Optimal are Typical Decumulation-Phase Strategies?’
At the first plenary session held on Friday 7 August, Nicolette Rubinsztein welcomed Dr Tim Baynes, an expert in urban sustainability and industrial ecology from the CSIRO, to discuss The Australian National Outlook 2019: Business-led Scenarios of Australia’s Long-Term Future, an examination of Australia’s long-term future through modelling and analyses across industry, energy, cities, land use, and culture.
“My favourite definition of an actuary is a financial fortune teller… and more than anything, this piece of work allowed me to see the future”.
At the second plenary on Wednesday 12 August, Nobel Laureate Professor Peter Doherty shared his insights on Coronavirus, the latest in the search for a vaccine and the role the Doherty Centre is playing in the Australian response.
Facilitated by Jennifer Lang, Convenor of the Institute’s COVID-19 Working Group, virtual attendees were treated to a robust, upbeat and well-informed discussion.
Much of the discussion narrowed in on the development of a vaccine against COVID-19, and Peter explained how thorough the process is to make a vaccine widely available.
“You absolutely have to test it for safety and advocacy before you give it to large numbers of people, especially with a virus like this, where many younger people are asymptomatic…so it has to go through a series of trials, firstly in animals, and then you have to go through Phase One, Phase Two, Phase Three clinical trials”.
Professor Peter Doherty
To cap off Week Two, the Friday 14 August plenary session, Red Hot Issue: Climate Change and the Financial Sector brought together Jennifer Lang, Sharanjit Paddam (QBE Insurance Group), and Peter Kohlhagen (APRA) to discuss the ever-increasing importance of climate change disclosure and measurement.
The key discussion points included the release of APRA’s prudential guidance note on climate change and vulnerability testing, the Institute’s Information Note on Climate Change for Appointed Actuaries, and how Australian insurers, banks and asset owners can implement the Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on Climate Change recommendations.
The plenary session was the first of a two-part discussion, with the second instalment taking place Friday 21 August from 12pm-1pm.
The 20/20 All-Actuaries Virtual Summit is continuing this week and will conclude on Friday 28 August. Be sure to keep an eye on Actuaries Digital for further reports on key sessions and learnings from this year’s event!
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