The Actuaries Institute’s policy principles guide the development of our Key Policy Positions and Submissions.
The Public Benefit
As a professional body, the Institute holds the ‘public interest’ or ‘common good’ as a key principle in developing policy. The public benefit may include the best interests of:
- the Australian community as a whole, sometimes referred to as the ‘common good’; and/or
- a part of the community, such as a particular group of consumers.
In developing solutions to public policy problems, actuaries take an evidence-based approach that focuses on risks.
- What are the risks?
- Who carries the risks?
- Who should carry these risks?
- How can we ensure that the risks are carried more appropriately?
This also incorporates a range of sector-specific principles, for example, the right to underwrite in insurance.
Transparency and Disclosure
The careful analysis that actuaries can provide is underpinned by the availability of data. Broadly – the more data that is available and the better quality of that data, the more accurately risk can be assessed. Actuaries also value clear, concise and standardised disclosure of information to consumers on the basis that such disclosure enables consumers to exercise choice.
Equity and the ‘Level Playing Field’
Individuals should be given fair treatment, and should not be subject to unlawful discrimination. For commercial enterprises, this policy principle means that all entities are allowed to compete on a ‘level playing field’. This should translate into avoidance, where consistent with the other policy principles, of policies that inhibit competition such as unnecessary barriers to entry and unequal treatment across sectors.
Excessive or unnecessary regulation can obstruct an efficient market from functioning and can undermine the ‘public interest’. Some key elements of ‘good’ regulation include:
- proportionality – between the regulatory solution and the problem that it intends to solve; and
- appropriate regulatory tools – using self-regulation where possible while acknowledging that prescription can sometimes be appropriate.