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First South African appointed chairman of global actuarial body

10 June 2008 Discovery

Emile Stipp (pictured right), General Manager: Group Health Actuary at Discovery Health, is the first South African to be appointed chairman of the Health Section of the International Actuarial Association (IAA).

“I am honoured both as a Discovery executive and a proud South African to serve in this prestigious role. My mandate is to obtain a good representation of health actuarial professionals across the world, grow the membership of health actuaries and introduce more efficiencies in the global dissemination of health-related research.

‘’It’s a great challenge and I’m up for it,’’ Stipp said.

Health actuaries, within companies like Discovery, are literally remodelling the risks and interactions in the complex and dynamic healthcare industry. They provide an invaluable contribution to the global pool of knowledge and research in the healthcare industry.

Stipp said that the interest in personal and corporate wellness is growing internationally. The work that Discovery is doing, particularly through its Vitality wellness programme in this area is ground breaking and serves to inform trends worldwide. At a recent conference of the IAA Health Section in Boston, the results of the Vitality programme were presented and lively discussions followed the presentation.

‘’China is interested in the work emanating from health actuaries internationally. The research and information, accumulated through the IAA, gives such countries the ability to tackle these issues on a global front,’’ Stipp said.

In South Africa, actuarial science is a growing profession. There is a real need to showcase actuarial sciences as a profession and prompt young people to consider it as a career, Stipp noted.

Historically, actuarial science has been portrayed as a dull line of work, but in fact actuaries work within innovative and challenging sections such as healthcare, and with companies such as Discovery.

There are currently around 700 qualified actuaries in South Africa and 60 health actuaries and actuarial analysts working worldwide at Discovery and its various subsidiaries here, in the UK and the US.

Stipp joined Discovery in March 2007 with responsibilities relating to the health actuarial work within the Discovery Group in South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States. He was Convenor of the Actuarial Society of South Africa’s Health Care Committee from 2003 to 2007. He was elected in 2007 to the Council and appointed to the Board of Examiners of the Actuarial Society of South Africa, and was also elected in the same year as the Vice Chairman of the International Actuarial Association’s Heath Section.

The Health Section of the International Actuarial Association currently has membership of actuaries from more than 30 countries. Its objective is to serve as a link between local professional actuarial associations and the individual actuaries working in a particular country, and actuaries working in the same field in other countries. The IAA encourages the development of a global profession, acknowledged as technically competent and professionally reliable, which will ensure that the public interest is served.

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