Welcome to Matters of Mind (MM)

April 2024, Second Edition

“Whichever route you take, expect a struggle. Finding work you love is very difficult. Most people fail. Even if you succeed, it’s rare to be free to work on what you want till your thirties or forties. But if you have the destination in sight, you’ll be more likely to arrive at it. If you know you can love work, you’re in the home stretch, and if you know what work you love, you’re practically there.”

— Paul Graham, English computer scientist, essayist, entrepreneur, investor, and author.

The latest edition of The SA Actuary magazine boasts several articles written by actuaries who clearly love their work and continue to challenge conventional methods with new concepts.  We have highlighted some of these in our current MM format, with page references for your convenience. There are three articles on Life Insurance which are all worth reading and a very exciting read on insuring self-driving cars and drones in the future.

Regulation is a key theme in this edition and in the About YOU section we cover The Red Queen effect and two more podcasts from So what’s it actuary about? Don’t forget about the IMISA online guided meditation open to all at 08:00 on Monday mornings.

Please share and enjoy!

MM Editorial Team


Economic matters

Interest rate relief coming soon for South Africans – Alexforbes

South Africans can expect interest rates to be cut in the coming months as inflation gradually nears the midpoint of the Reserve Bank’s 3% to 6% target range.

This is feedback from chief economist Mpho Molopyane, who explained the financial services firm’s outlook for the rest of 2024 in its 2023 Alexforbes Manager Watch Annual Survey. 

Reviewing of South Africa’s 2024 monetary policy direction

South Africa’s Central Bank suggests there might be no rate cuts at all this year as the pace of disinflation is moving more slowly than anticipated. Annabel Bishop, Chief Economist at Investec, joins CNBC Africa to review the SARB’s biannual review of its monetary policy stance.

This interview is 12:35 mins and paints a picture from Investec’s perspective.

Financial Services Industry

Digital fraud surpasses physical fraud for first time

The rapid adoption of digital technologies is fuelling the rise of fraud in South Africa, according to global data and analytics company LexisNexis Risk Solutions. It yesterday unveiled the findings of its 2023 LexisNexis True Cost of Fraud Study – Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

In SA, 49% of companies reported an increase in fraud in the 12 months prior to the survey. 3min read

Gruelling Greylisting 

During October 2023, the FAFT (Financial Action Task Force) conducted an exercise to determine the progress we have made since being added to the Greylist. These findings were subsequently published in November 2023. Based on this report, South Africa seems to have made significant progress in addressing most of the concerns. Most notably, no areas of non-compliance were identified, and the areas of partial compliance decreased from 15 in our previous report to only five in the latest progress report.

Please read the update which is largely positive and feeds into a number of articles in this edition. 3min read

Life Insurance

The hidden costs of being poor… An update by the Poverty Premium Working Group

“In the extreme, the rich young woman gets almost 50 times more life cover than the poor old man, for the same premium on the same product. This extreme difference in benefits provided to different people may be considered unfair and discriminatory (in the negative sense of the word) by many observers.” AF Marais

This thought-provoking article is in the latest edition of The SA Actuary magazine (pp73 – 84) 10-12min read. It cites the paper by AF Marais “Can discrimination in risk underwriting in life insurance industry be ethically justified?” Which can be accessed here.

Continuous Risk Assessment in Life Insurance: Unveiling its true worth, or is it just hype?

Life insurance actuaries are experts in understanding mortality and morbidity risk. We classify and quantify risk at the start of a policy, and then different scenarios play out with respect to lapses and our policyholders’ health over time – which is in turn influenced by a host of factors, some of which are manageable and some not. With significant changes in the data landscape over recent years, there is potential for us to rethink how we approach our understanding of risk and what that means for the life insurance industry.

This is a must read given the advances in AI that makes new forms of assessment possible (pp 40 – 45, The SA Actuary). 7min read

Facts and Fictions: Deciphering the risk dynamics of disability products

In this article, we delve into disability products within the group risk industry, aiming to distinguish between prevalent perceptions and empirical realities. Using data from SCOR’s data pool, we scrutinise two commonly debated problem statements to unveil whether they are fact or fiction.

Another must read from The SA Actuary (pp 46- 50). 7min read

General Insurance

2024 Insurance State of the Market

This 16-page report is easy to read and well laid out for recall. For full value read it with an open mind and you will catch the detail you didn’t consider before.  If you don’t have the time, read the article below which lists the major trends.

Aon Insurance State of the Market – 2024

3min read

Actuarial Pricing for Motor Insurance in the Future

In this article, we consider actuarial pricing for motor insurance in the future where we cover the impact on actuarial pricing if we were to price Tesla cars, Waymo cars, drones, and connected fleets in hive mind and swarm intelligence mode. With all the innovation happening in motor vehicles, it is an exciting time to be in the actuarial space where the need to update from small-micro-static pricing models to dynamic pricing models utilising big data becomes an imperative.

Exciting indeed! Please read this article as it covers an extensive range of possibilities of insuring for the future, noting where the current developments are taking place (pp 62 – 73 The SA Actuary). 14min read.

Health Insurance

Market conduct in the medical schemes’ environment

Medical schemes are regulated under the Medical Schemes Act 131 of 1998 which came into force in 2000 (McLeod, 2005). While medical schemes operate in a highly regulated environment, the social solidarity regulatory framework is incomplete and has not been updated despite an extensive Health Market Inquiry conducted by the Competition Commission and completed in 2019.

Read more about the challenges encountered by actuaries in this environment (pp 30- 33 in The SA Actuary).  6min read


Making Banks Safer

A very well thought through article by Dr John Young and Iain Allan which illustrates how banks can manage unknown risks better using the collapse of SVB and CS banks as examples and referring to Basel III. Good reading for anyone in an actuarial field but especially those in banking or if you are writing F107 or F207 (pp 9 – 13 in The SA Actuary Magazine). 15min read

The Debut of Deposit Insurance in South Africa

From 1 April 2024, bank deposits in South Africa will, for the first time, be legally insured by the deposit insurance scheme (DIS) signed into law by President Ramaphosa in January 2022. The insurance will cover qualifying deposits up to an aggregate total of R100 000 per qualifying depositor per bank. The DIS fund will be managed by the newly minted Corporation for Deposit Insurance (CODI) – a subsidiary of the South African Reserve Bank (SARB).

This is a first for SA banks and will have implications for them and instil confidence among depositors (The SA Actuary pp23 – 29). 20min read.

Nedbank clamps down on rogue employees and clients

Financial services group Nedbank in 2023 severed ties with nearly 200 customers over “reputational risk” concerns, it said in its annual report published on Friday.

This article was published by BusinessDay and you need a subscription to access the full article, however it ties in with the theme of fraud and how to circumvent it within the jurisdiction of an institution.

Old Mutual has been given the initial approval to launch a bank in South Africa.

The Prudential Authority (PA), an organisation that falls under the SA Reserve Bank (Sarb) gave this approval that would allow Old Mutual to create the bank, subject to conditions. 1.5min read


SA crypto service provider licensing to stimulate market

As the number of licensed crypto asset service providers climbs to 75, this trend is a sign that crypto will become more mainstream in South Africa.

This is one of the key findings explored in a new report, titled The State of Crypto in Africa, compiled by crypto investment app Luno, a licensed financial services provider (FSP).

2min read

South Africa’s GEPF prepares the ground for a two-pot system

South Africa’s Government Employee Pension Fund, GEPF, the R2.2 trillion ($116 billion) defined benefit fund for the country’s public sector employees, is in the process of readying its investment processes for a new law that will allow people to draw down some of their retirement income early.

2.5min read

About YOU

How often do you feel that no matter how hard you work or refine your craft you seem to be in the same place?  This is often referred to as to as The Red Queen Effect and has its origin in the classic Lewis Carroll novel Through the Looking Glass.

The Red Queen Effect: Avoid Running Faster to Stay in the Same Place

In Through the Looking Glass, Alice, a young girl, gets schooled by the Red Queen in an important life lesson that many of us fail to heed. Alice finds herself running faster and faster but staying in the same place.

6-8min read

S2E14: Explaining – AI and the Modern Actuary

Caesar Balona, a qualified actuary and programming enthusiast, shares his insights on AI and the role of the modern actuary.

46min listen

S2E15: Expanding – Health Insurance, Stakeholders and Curiosity

Barry Childs, the Joint CEO of Insights Actuaries and Consultants, discusses his career trajectory, stakeholder engagement and encourages aspiring actuaries to remain curious.

41min listen

IMISA Guided Meditations

In today’s disconnected and turbulent world, our mental, emotional and relational well-being is more important than ever before. Regular mindfulness practice can be extremely valuable to how we show up in the world around us.

To benefit from the grounding effects of mindfulness practice please read more here.