Breaking with tradition
Louise Pryor tells Chris Seekings how actuaries are advising the financial world to make sustainable decisions, facilitating a global shift towards a low-carbon economy
When considering the professions at the forefront of tackling climate change, few would envisage actuaries playing an important role. Traditionally concerned with the maths and probability behind insurance premiums and life expectancies, the role of an actuary is rapidly transforming into one where climate change is increasingly central.
While not obvious at first, the issue is at the heart of forecasting risk, encompassing everything from investment returns to human health, with actuaries occupying a unique role in advising the financial world on how to respond.
I meet up with Louise Pryor, an actuary and consultant who specialises in climate change, to learn more about how the profession is evolving, and why the decisions actuaries make today could be vital in ensuring a more sustainable future.
A trying transition
I begin by asking what has caused this shift in environmental awareness among her colleagues? “Climate change has huge financial risks associated with it – we think it’s going to change the economy and how the world operates.” She explains how actuaries use sophisticated models to try to predict the outcomes of various different scenarios. “We are very interested in understanding the worst-case scenario so that we can handle ...