Data for good – Bringing meaningful change to people’s lives
For actuaries, data is their natural habitat – and when they use it to help shape reform in the social sector, it can be especially rewarding. The Actuaries Institute recently spotlighted Principal Hugh Miller’s work with the New Zealand government to investigate the long-term costs and outcomes for people in the welfare system.
Hugh and his team’s modelling innovations offered insights for the Ministry of Social Development well beyond a four-year budget cycle – helping to inform policies and programs to improve outcomes for society’s most vulnerable.
Creating one of the most complex models ever built in Australasia, the team gathered millions of data points on hundreds of thousands of individuals. They then forecast across the next 50 years to learn how people move through the welfare system, measuring time on welfare and applying dollar values – with a focus on person-centred design.
“It’s exciting to work in a team of actuaries affecting real change on a large scale over the long term”
In building the models, Hugh’s team assisted decision makers to isolate changes in unemployment and attribute these to government policy and operational changes. This means interventions can be better targeted to make a real difference, such as youth coaching to support young people into education and employment.
Additionally, in using a model structure that can iterate and grow, the evidence base grows continuously around understanding disadvantage and how to reduce it.
Analysing and modelling data with a human approach and a goal to improve the lives of people over generations is just one example of how actuaries are using data for good. Hugh says, “It’s exciting to work in a team of actuaries affecting real change on a large scale over the long term.”
Head to Actuaries Digital to find out more.
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