An introduction to Practice Committees

For many of the Actuaries Institute’s younger Members, the Institute’s Practice Committees can seem mysterious and far removed. To help bridge this gap, the Young Actuaries Program (YAP) Victoria recently held a Virtual Insights session to introduce our younger audiences to them.

The Institute has a range of Committees and Working Groups servicing the needs of its members and the wider community, including those which specifically focus on the current practice areas:

  • Data Analytics

  • Risk Management

  • General Insurance

  • Health

  • Superannuation and Investments

  • Life Insurance


In the session, Rob Deutsch, from the Data Analytics Practice Committee, and Elizabeth Baker, from the Risk Management Practice Committee, joined us to provide an overview of the Data Analytics, Risk Management and General Insurance practice areas, the initiatives each Practice Committee has been working on, and how young actuaries in particular can make a meaningful contribution.

Data Analytics Practice Committee (DAPC)

The Institute’s own demographic survey estimates that 30% of its Members self-identify as working in the data analytics space, whether that be as a primary or secondary part of their job, and this number is steadily growing. The DAPC, along with the Young Data Analytics Working Group (YDAWG), aims to ensure that members can embark on a career in data analytics that is both successful and sustainable.

Rob commented on the strategic intent of the practice committee through its three key pillars:

  1. Brand – expanding the brand of actuaries within the data analytics field through publicising to employers and the broader industry, e.g. through producing thought leadership;

  2. Capability – ensuring members are well equipped with the right knowledge to succeed, e.g. through relevant exams and CPD; and

  3. Community – fostering pride in the membership and ensuring members are well supported, e.g. through running data analytics events and producing newsletters.

Key highlights over the past year have included launching the new Data Analytics Applications subject for the Fellowship Program, as well as a range of thought leadership on areas. This includes the ethical use of data, automated decision systems and privacy risk in data.

Rob also gave some excellent advice for any young actuaries out there looking to either brush up on their data analytics skills or learn something new. Together with the YDAWG, they have put together some excellent resources:

  • DataCamp – A list of data science courses relevant to actuaries. This list can be accessed via the Actuaries in Data Analytics microsite;

  • Enhanced Toolkit for Actuaries – An eight-week course developed by Macquarie Business School, tailored specifically for actuaries and endorsed by the Institute; and

  • the Driven by Data podcast series and the monthly Data Analytics Newsletter.

For young actuaries interested in data analytics who are keen to be involved with the practice committee, the YDAWG in particular is interested in hearing from you, so do reach out and register your interest.

Risk Management Practice Committee (RMPC)

Offering an alternative pathway for actuaries, actuaries are well placed to take on Chief Risk Officer roles. Elizabeth, the current Convenor of the RMPC, described how an increasing number of actuaries now work in this space, predominantly within insurers and other financial services organisations. The RMPC aims to ensure that these actuaries are well represented within the Institute.

The current RMPC has a diverse membership that spans across practice areas. Over a third are young actuaries (under 35). There are several key initiatives that they are working on this year, with a key focus being its engagement with young actuaries. Keep an eye out for an upcoming RMPC Young Actuaries Insights session in the second half of this year, which will focus on climate change risks and the ethical use of data.

Other initiatives for 2021 include:

  • Overseeing the development of the Part 3 ERM course due for release in 2022

  • Leading the development of the cross-practice Target Capital Practice Guide

  • Producing risk papers and sessions for the 2021 All-Actuaries Virtual Summit and CERA Conference

  • Hosting a Chief Risk Officer (CRO) Forum

  • Publishing semi-annual risk management newsletters targeted at senior risk professionals

  • Producing Insights sessions, podcasts and Actuaries Digital articles

For younger members looking to understand how risk management works in practice, Elizabeth suggested that exploring your own organisation’s risk appetite statements and measures is an excellent place to start.

General Insurance Practice Committee (GIPC)

The GIPC is another committee that has delved into many topical issues throughout the past year. Some of these areas have included:

  1. COVID-19 – Unsurprisingly, a significant amount of attention has been paid to the pandemic over the past year, with the Working Group producing various briefing notes and Actuaries Digital articles (via the Pandemic Resource Centre) as well as holding Insights sessions.

  1. Policy and Standards – There has been much activity in this space including:
    • Forming an IFRS17 Professional Guidance Working Group
    • ISAP4 review
    • PG4 draft in consultation
    • APRA’s consultation on IFRS17 and LAGIC

  1. Climate and weather – This area is one in which the GIPC along with the Climate Risk Working Group and GI Affordability Working Group have collaborated extensively, with recent activities including:
    • Institute paper on Property Insurance Affordability
    • Institute submission to the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangement
    • Climate Change Public Policy Statement and Information Note for Appointed Actuaries
    • Insights on catastrophe reserving

 A big thank you to Elizabeth and Rob for their insights. If you are a young actuary thinking of joining a Practice Committee, please don’t hesitate to reach out to either of our speakers or any other committee you are interested in.


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