21 September 1999
Government Actuarys Department
London WC2B 6LE.
Genetics and Insurance
Further to my letter of 5 September I have now read the Institutes press release dated 26 July 1999. I am sorry to see that the Institute fomenting hostility and prejudice against disabled people for allegedly taking advantage of insurance companies. I think this is rather perverse in the light of the largely negative results from actuarial modelling produced to date, which tend to suggest that there is not a great deal of advantage that could be taken.
I have also read your article in the August edition of The Actuary in which you suggest that actuaries need to divert the research agenda of geneticists into producing some figures helpful to the insurance industry.
The comments in the press release, and your agenda as envisioned in The Actuary, are essentially political. They are concerned with promoting the interests of insurance companies, and harming the interests of disabled people. They have little to do with what I would regard as proper actuarial questions, such as the viability and stability or instability of insurance systems under alternative sets of restrictions.
The Faculty and Institute may wish to pursue this sort of political agenda, as actuaries often do. But I think that it is wholly disingenuous to do this and also to claim, as in the press release, that actuaries are safeguarding some of the most vulnerable members of society. In what way do you think actuaries are safeguarding them? They would be much better off if actuaries stopped fomenting prejudice against them, and the conclusions reached by other European governments and the HGAC prevailed. It could not be clearer that actuaries are doing them harm.
Yours sincerely, RG Thomas