A History of British Actuarial Thought, Hardback Book

A History of British Actuarial Thought Hardback


In the first book of its kind, Turnbull traces the development and implementation of actuarial ideas, from the conception of Equitable Life in the mid-18th century to the start of the 21st century.

This book analyses the historical development of British actuarial thought in each of its three main practice areas of life assurance, pensions and general insurance.

It discusses how new actuarial approaches were developed within each practice area, and how these emerging ideas interacted with each other and were often driven by common external factors such as shocks in the economic environment, new intellectual ideas from academia and developments in technology. A broad range of historically important actuarial topics are discussed such as the development of the blueprint for the actuarial management of with-profit business; historical developments in mortality modelling methods; changes in actuarial thinking on investment strategy for life and pensions business; changing perspectives on the objectives and methods for funding Defined Benefit pensions; the application of risk theory in general insurance reserving; the adoption of risk-based reserving and the Guaranteed Annuity Option crisis at the end of the 20th century. This book also provides an historical overview of some of the most important external contributions to actuarial thinking: in particular, the first century or so of modern thinking on probability and statistics, starting in the 1650s with Pascal and Fermat; and the developments in the field of financial economics over the third quarter of the twentieth century.

This book identifies where historical actuarial thought heuristically anticipated some of the fundamental ideas of modern finance, and the challenges that the profession wrestled with in reconciling these ideas with traditional actuarial methods. Actuaries have played a profoundly influential role in the management of the United Kingdom's most important long-term financial institutions over the last two hundred years.

This book will be the first to chart the influence of the actuarial profession to modern day.

It will prove a valuable resource for actuaries, actuarial trainees and students of actuarial science.

It will also be of interest to academics and professionals in related financial fields such as accountants, statisticians, economists and investment managers.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 345 pages, 20 Illustrations, black and white; XIII, 345 p. 20 illus.
  • Publisher: Springer International Publishing AG
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Insurance & actuarial studies
  • ISBN: 9783319331829

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