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Saturday 25 May 2019
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Caribbean actuary receives international award

Daisy May McFarlane-Coke, founding president of the Caribbean Acturial Association.
Daisy May McFarlane-Coke, founding president of the Caribbean Acturial Association.

Founding president of the Caribbean Actuarial Association (CAA) Daisy May McFarlane-Coke, has won the 2018 Max Lander Award. This award, granted every two years by the International Association of Consulting Actuaries (IACA), is a Consulting Actuary Lifetime Achievement Award given to a member of the actuarial profession who has contributed to the public awareness of the work of the actuarial profession and the promotion of the business of consulting actuaries. The award is named in honour of the late Max Lander who was a founding member of IACA.

McFarlane-Coke is the seventh winner of this award, the first woman and the first recipient outside of North America and western Europe. The announcement was made during IACA’s jubilee celebrations launched at the recent International Congress of Actuaries in Berlin, Germany. In 1997 McFarlane-Coke received the President’s Award from North America’s Society of Actuaries for her many years of contribution to the profession.

McFarlane-Coke took an active part in international actuarial development, and contributed to the deliberations of the International Actuarial Association. In 1988, while attending the International Congress of Actuaries in Helsinki, she and three other delegates from the Caribbean decided to form a regional actuarial association. She presided over the birth of the Caribbean Actuarial Association three years later in 1991, then served as president of the CAA for its first six years. She was also a charter member of the International Association of Black Actuaries in the USA and contributed towards its formation in 1992.

After receiving a First-Class Bachelor's degree from the University of the West Indies (UWI) in 1959 followed by a Master’s degree in Applied Mathematics from the University of Toronto in 1962, McFarlane-Coke was awarded a scholarship by Jamaica’s Ministry of Finance to study Actuarial Science in the UK. She read Statistics at Oxford University and started her actuarial career on secondment to the UK Government Actuary’s Department in London. While there she saw first-hand the contribution that actuaries can make to the public policy and vowed to put this into effect upon her return home to become Jamaica’s first Government Actuary.

She entered the private sector in 1972 and started her own firm in 1977, but during this time continued to serve the public interest. She was appointed a member of the Judicial Service Commission and the Public Service Commission, having chaired the latter for 19 years. She served on a number of boards of enquiry and expert committees/task forces dealing with Pension Reform, Financing Public Sector Pensions, Public Health Financing, Independence of the Bank of Jamaica, the National Insurance Fund, the Overseas Examination Council, the Statistical Institute of Jamaica, the Council of the UWI as well as director of several statutory bodies and private companies.

For her distinguished work as an actuary and for public service she was awarded the Order of Distinction, Commander Class (CD) by the government of Jamaica in 1994 and the Order of Jamaica (OJ) in 2002.

She applied her actuarial and leadership skills in diverse areas, including supporting her clients, the Jamaican Government, Caribbean institutions, retirement and healthcare systems and the insurance, banking, agriculture and housing industries. Even now, at 81 and retired, she still serves the Jamaican government when called and shares herknowledge and experience with any young actuary who seeks it.

Since she was unable to travel to Berlin to accept the award it will be presented to her at the CAA’s Annual Conference to be held in Kingston, Jamaica from November 28-30. IACA’s 50th Anniversary celebrations will make a Kingston stop on its worldwide tour.

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