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IFRS 17 Insurance Contracts is a new accounting standard currently expected to come into force on 1 January 2023. It supersedes IFRS 4 Insurance Contracts. IFRS 17 establishes key principles that entities must apply in all aspects of the accounting of insurance contracts. In doing so, the Standard aims to increase the usefulness, comparability, transparency and quality of financial statements.
A fundamental concept introduced by IFRS 17 is the contractual service margin (CSM). This represents the unearned profit that an entity expects to earn as it provides services. However, as a principles-based standard, IFRS 17 results in entities having to apply significant judgement when determining the inputs, assumptions and techniques it uses to determine the CSM at each reporting period.
In general, the Standard resolves broad categories of mismatches which arise under IFRS 4. Notable examples include mismatches between assets recorded at current market value and liabilities calculated using fixed discount rates as well as inconsistencies in the timing of profit recognition over the duration of an insurance contract. However, there are requirements of IFRS 17 that may create economic or accounting mismatches of its own. For example, new mismatches could arise between the measurement of underlying contracts and the corresponding reinsurance held. Additionally, mismatches can still arise between the measurement of liabilities and the assets that support the liabilities.
This paper explores the technical, operational and commercial issues that arise across these and other areas focusing on the CSM. As a standard that is still very much in its infancy, and for which wider consensus on topics is yet to be achieved, this paper aims to provide readers with a deeper understanding of the issues and opportunities that accompany it.
To mitigate the impact of racism, sexism, and other systemic biases, it is essential for organizations to develop strategies to address their diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) climates. The objective of this formative evaluation was to assess Mayo Clinic Department of Health Sciences Research (HSR) faculty and staff perceptions toward a proposed departmental DEI plan and to explore findings by diversity and professional subgroups.
Materials and methods:
Key plan components include recruitment and support for diverse individuals; training for all HSR employees and leaders; and a review system to capture diversity and inclusion feedback for leaders. Additional activities include building inclusion “nudges” into existing performance reviews. To assess pre-implementation beliefs about specific plan components, we polled attendees at a departmental staff meeting in July 2020.
Overall, respondents (n = 162) commonly endorsed a blinded promotion review process and DEI training for all staff and leaders as most important. In contrast, respondents expressed less support for plan activities related to “nudges.” However, attitudes among certain diversity or professional groups toward specific plan activities diverged from their non-diversity group counterparts. Qualitative feedback indicated awareness of the need to address DEI issues.
Overall, HSR faculty and staff respondents conveyed support for the plan. However, some specific plan activities were perceived differently by members of certain diversity or professional subgroups.
These findings present a DEI framework on which other institutions can build and point to future directions for how DEI activities may be differentially perceived by impacted faculty and staff.
This paper introduces and demonstrates the use of quantum computers for asset–liability management (ALM). A summary of historical and current practices in ALM used by actuaries is given showing how the challenges have previously been met. We give an insight into what ALM may be like in the immediate future demonstrating how quantum computers can be used for ALM. A quantum algorithm for optimising ALM calculations is presented and tested using a quantum computer. We conclude that the discovery of the strange world of quantum mechanics has the potential to create investment management efficiencies. This in turn may lead to lower capital requirements for shareholders and lower premiums and higher insured retirement incomes for policyholders.
Emerging evidence suggests that parents’ nutritional status before and at the time of conception influences the lifelong physical and mental health of their child. Yet little is known about the relationship between diet in adolescence and the health of the next generation at birth. This study examined data from Norwegian cohorts to assess the relationship between dietary patterns in adolescence and neonatal outcomes. Data from adolescents who participated in the Nord-Trøndelag Health Study (Young-HUNT) were merged with birth data for their offspring through the Medical Birth Registry of Norway. Young-HUNT1 collected data from 8980 adolescents between 1995 and 1997. Linear regression was used to assess associations between adolescents’ diet and later neonatal outcomes of their offspring adjusting for sociodemographic factors. Analyses were replicated with data from the Young-HUNT3 cohort (dietary data collected from 2006 to 2008) and combined with Young-HUNT1 for pooled analyses. In Young-HUNT1, there was evidence of associations between dietary choices, meal patterns, and neonatal outcomes, these were similar in the pooled analyses but were attenuated to the point of nonsignificance in the smaller Young-HUNT3 cohort. Overall, energy-dense food products were associated with a small detrimental impact on some neonatal outcomes, whereas healthier food choices appeared protective. Our study suggests that there are causal links between consumption of healthy and unhealthy food and meal patterns in adolescence with neonatal outcomes for offspring some years later. The effects seen are small and will require even larger studies with more state-of-the-art dietary assessment to estimate these robustly.
Human genomics is a translational field spanning research, clinical care, public health, and direct-to-consumer testing. However, law differs across these domains on issues including liability, consent, promoting quality of analysis and interpretation, and safeguarding privacy. Genomic activities crossing domains can thus encounter confusion and conflicts among these approaches. This paper suggests how to resolve these conflicts while protecting the rights and interests of individuals sequenced. Translational genomics requires this more translational approach to law.
The status of rabies as a neglected disease has made its eradication rather challenging in different parts of the world despite the availability of a successful vaccine. Lebanon, in particular, is a country endemic to the disease with several cases of rabies deaths reported over the past 30 years. The risk of rabies, however, has taken a new turn over the past few years in Lebanon with two emerging situations that have made the control of the disease rather challenging: the neighbouring Syrian war and the local garbage crisis. Both of these milestone events might have contributed to an increase in the number of disease vectors as well as individuals at risk, thus nourishing the cycle of disease transmission. In this observational study, the effect of these two events are investigated, with an update on the status of this preventable, yet often neglected, disease in the country. Both events were found to be concomitant with a notable increase in the number of dog bites and thus possible rabies exposure. Current regulations are explored through interviews with veterinarians, and custom recommendations, ranging from policies to control dog populations to awareness campaigns in high-risk individuals, are then proposed to help control the disease.
Body condition score (BCS) is a subjective assessment of the proportion of body fat an animal possesses and is independent of frame size. There is a growing awareness of the importance of mature animal live-weight given its contribution to the overall costs of production of a sector. Because of the known relationship between BCS and live-weight, strategies to reduce live-weight could contribute to the favouring of animals with lesser body condition. The objective of the present study was to estimate the average difference in live-weight per incremental change in BCS, measured subjectively on a scale of 1 to 5. The data used consisted of 19 033 BCS and live-weight observations recorded on the same day from 7556 ewes on commercial and research flocks; the breeds represented included purebred Belclare (540 ewes), Charollais (1484 ewes), Suffolk (885 ewes), Texel (1695 ewes), Vendeen (140 ewes), as well as, crossbreds (2812 ewes). All associations were quantified using linear mixed models with the dependent variable of live-weight; ewe parity was included as a random effect. The independent variables were BCS, breed (n=6), stage of the inter-lambing interval (n=6; pregnancy, lambing, pre-weaning, at weaning, post-weaning and mating) and parity (1, 2, 3, 4 and 5+). In addition, two-way interactions were used to investigate whether the association between BCS and live-weight differed by parity, a period of the inter-lambing interval or breed. The association between BCS and live-weight differed by parity, by a period of the inter-lambing interval and by breed. Across all data, a one-unit difference in BCS was associated with 4.82 (SE=0.08) kg live-weight, but this differed by parity from 4.23 kg in parity 1 ewes to 5.82 kg in parity 5+ ewes. The correlation between BCS and live-weight across all data was 0.48 (0.47 when adjusted for nuisance factors in the statistical model), but this varied from 0.48 to 0.53 by parity, from 0.36 to 0.63 by stage of the inter-lambing interval and from 0.41 to 0.62 by breed. Results demonstrate that consideration should be taken of differences in BCS when comparing ewes on live-weight as differences in BCS contribute quite substantially to differences in live-weight; moreover, adjustments for differences in BCS should consider the population stratum, especially breed.
The objective of the present study was to quantify the extent of genetic variation in three health-related traits namely dagginess, lameness and mastitis, in an Irish sheep population. Each of the health traits investigated pose substantial welfare implications as well as considerable economic costs to producers. Data were also available on four body-related traits, namely body condition score (BCS), live weight, muscle depth and fat depth. Animals were categorised as lambs (<365 days old) or ewes (⩾365 days old) and were analysed both separately and combined. After edits, 39 315 records from 264 flocks between the years 2009 and 2015 inclusive were analysed. Variance components were estimated using animal linear mixed models. Fixed effects included contemporary group, represented as a three-way interaction between flock, date of inspection and animal type (i.e. lamb, yearling ewe (i.e. females ⩾365 days but <730 days old that have not yet had a recorded lambing) or ewe), animal breed proportion, coefficients of heterosis and recombination, animal gender (lambs only), animal parity (ewes only; lambs were assigned a separate ‘parity’) and the difference in age of the animal from the median of the respective parity/age group. An additive genetic effect and residual effect were both fitted as random terms with maternal genetic and non-genetic components also considered for traits of the lambs. The direct heritability of dagginess was similar across age groups (0.14 to 0.15), whereas the direct heritability of lameness ranged from 0.06 (ewes) to 0.12 (lambs). The direct heritability of mastitis was 0.04. For dagginess, 13% of the phenotypic variation was explained by dam litter, whereas the maternal heritability of dagginess was 0.05. The genetic correlation between ewe and lamb dagginess was 0.38; the correlation between ewe and lamb lameness was close to zero but was associated with a large standard error. Direct genetic correlations were evident between dagginess and BCS in ewes and between lameness and BCS in lambs. The present study has demonstrated that ample genetic variation exists for all three health traits investigated indicating that genetic improvement is indeed possible.
The objective of this study was to establish the risk factors associated with both lambing difficulty and lamb mortality in the Irish sheep multibreed population. A total of 135 470 lambing events from 42 675 ewes in 839 Irish crossbred and purebred flocks were available. Risk factors associated with producer-scored ewe lambing difficulty score (scale of one (no difficulty) to four (severe difficulty)) were determined using linear mixed models. Risk factors associated with the logit of the probability of lamb mortality at birth (i.e. binary trait) were determined using generalised estimating equations. For each dependent variable, a series of simple regression models were developed as well as a multiple regression model. In the simple regression models, greater lambing difficulty was associated with quadruplet bearing, younger ewes, of terminal breed origin, lambing in February; for example, first parity ewes experienced greater (P<0.001) lambing difficulty (1.56±0.02) than older ewes. The association between lambing difficulty and all factors persisted in the multiple regression model, and the trend in fixed effects level solutions did not differ from the trend observed in the simple regression models. In the simple regression analyses, a greater odds of lamb mortality was associated with male lambs (1.31 times more likely of death than females), lambs of very light (2 to 3 kg) and very heavy (>7.0 kg) birth weights, quadruplet born lambs and lambs that experienced a more difficult lambing (predicted probability of death for lambs that required severe and veterinary assistance of 0.15 and 0.32, respectively); lambs from dual-purpose breeds and born to younger ewes were also at greater risk of mortality. In the multiple regression model, the association between ewe parity, age at first lambing, year of lambing and lamb mortality no longer persisted. The trend in solutions of the levels of each fixed effect that remained associated with lamb mortality in the multiple regression model, did not differ from the trends observed in the simple regression models although the differential in relative risk between the different lambing difficulty scores was greater in the multiple regression model. Results from this study show that many common flock- and animal-level factors are associated with both lambing difficulty and lamb mortality and management of different risk category groups (e.g. scanned litter sizes, ewe age groups) can be used to appropriately manage the flock at lambing to reduce their incidence.
Optical properties and thermal relaxation dynamics of resonantly excited plasmons are important in applications for optoelectronics, biomedicine, energy, and catalysis. Geometric optics of polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) thin films containing uniformly or asymmetrically distributed polydisperse reduced AuNPs or uniformly distributed monodisperse solution-synthesized AuNPs were recently evaluated using a compact linear algebraic sum. Algebraic calculation of geometric transmission, reflection, and attenuation for AuNP-PDMS films provides a simple, workable alternative to effective medium approximations, computationally expensive methods, and fitting of experimental data. This approach allows for the summative optical responses of a sequence of 2D elements comprising a 3D assembly to be analyzed. Thin PDMS films containing 3-7 micron layers of reduced AuNPs were fabricated with a novel diffusive-reduction synthesis technique. Rapid diffusive reduction of AuNPs into asymmetric PDMS thin films provided superior photothermal response relative to thicker films with AuNPs reduced throughout, with a photon-to-heat conversion of up to 3000°C/watt which represents 3-230-fold increase over previous AuNP-functionalized systems. Later work showed that introduction of AuNPs into PDMS enhanced thermoplasmonic dissipation coincident with internal reflection of incident resonant irradiation. Measured thermal emission and dynamics of AuNP-PDMS thin films exceeded emission and dynamics attributable by finite element analysis to Mie absorption, Fourier heat conduction, Rayleigh convection, and Stefan-Boltzmann radiation. Refractive-index matching experiments and measured temperature profiles indicated AuNP-containing thin films internally reflected light and dissipated power transverse to the film surface. Enhanced thermoplasmonic dissipation from metal-polymer nanocomposite thin films could affect opto- and bio-electronic implementation of these systems.
Selection programs have enabled broiler chickens to gain muscle mass without similar enlargement of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems that are essential for thermoregulatory efficiency. Meat-type chickens cope with high ambient temperature by reducing feed intake and growth during chronic and moderate heat exposure. In case of acute heat exposure, a dramatic increase in morbidity and mortality can occur. In order to alleviate heat stress in the long term, research has recently focused on early thermal manipulation. Aimed at stimulation of long-term thermotolerance, the thermal manipulation of embryos is a method based on fine tuning of incubation conditions, taking into account the level and duration of increases in temperature and relative humidity during a critical period of embryogenesis. The consequences of thermal manipulation on the performance and meat quality of broiler chickens have been explored to ensure the potential application of this strategy. The physiological basis of the method is the induction of epigenetic and metabolic mechanisms that control body temperature in the long term. Early thermal manipulation can enhance poultry resistance to environmental changes without much effect on growth performance. This review presents the main strategies of early heat exposure and the physiological concepts on which these methods were based. The cellular mechanisms potentially underlying the adaptive response are discussed as well as the potential interest of thermal manipulation of embryos for poultry production.
The objective of this study was to identify detailed fertility traits in dairy and beef cattle from transrectal ultrasonography records and quantify the associated risk factors. Data were available on 148 947 ultrasound observations of the reproductive tract from 75 949 cows in 843 Irish dairy and beef herds between March 2008 and October 2012. Traits generated included (1) cycling at time of examination, (2) cystic structures, (3) early ovulation, (4) embryo death and (5) uterine score; the latter was measured on a scale of 1 (good) to 4 (poor) characterising the tone of the uterine wall and fluid present in the uterus. After editing, 72 773 records from 44 415 dairy and beef cows in 643 herds remained. Factors associated with the logit of the probability of a positive outcome for each of the binary fertility traits were determined using generalised estimating equations; linear mixed model analysis was used for the analysis of uterine score. The prevalence of cycling, cystic structures, early ovulation and embryo death was 84.75%, 3.87%, 7.47% and 3.84%, respectively. The occurrence of the uterine heath score of 1, 2, 3 and 4 was 70.63%, 19.75%, 8.36% and 1.26%, respectively. Cows in beef herds had a 0.51 odds (95% CI=0.41 to 0.63, P<0.001) of cycling at the time of examination compared with cows in dairy herds; stage of lactation at the time of examination was the same in both herd types. Furthermore, cows in dairy herds had an inferior uterine score (indicating poorer tone and a greater quantity of uterine fluid present) compared with cows in beef herds. The likelihood of cycling at the time of examination increased with parity and stage of lactation, but was reduced in cows that had experienced dystocia in the previous calving. The presence of cystic structures on the ovaries increased with parity and stage of lactation. The likelihood of embryo/foetal death increased with parity and stage of lactation. Dystocia was not associated with the presence of cystic structures or embryo death. Uterine score improved with parity and stage of lactation, while cows that experienced dystocia in the previous calving had an inferior uterine score. Heterosis was the only factor associated with increased likelihood of early ovulation. The fertility traits identified, and the associated risk factors, provide useful information on the reproductive status of dairy and beef cows.
The objective of this study was to quantify the genetic associations between a range of carcass-related traits including wholesale cut weights predicted from video image analysis (VIA) technology, and a range of pre-slaughter performance traits in commercial Irish cattle. Predicted carcass cut weights comprised of cut weights based on retail value: lower value cuts (LVC), medium value cuts (MVC), high value cuts (HVC) and very high value cuts (VHVC), as well as total meat, fat and bone weights. Four main sources of data were used in the genetic analyses: price data of live animals collected from livestock auctions, live-weight data and linear type collected from both commercial and pedigree farms as well as from livestock auctions and weanling quality recorded on-farm. Heritability of carcass cut weights ranged from 0.21 to 0.39. Genetic correlations between the cut traits and the other performance traits were estimated using a series of bivariate sire linear mixed models where carcass cut weights were phenotypically adjusted to a constant carcass weight. Strongest positive genetic correlations were obtained between predicted carcass cut weights and carcass value (min rg(MVC) = 0.35; max rg(VHVC) = 0.69), and animal price at both weaning (min rg(MVC) = 0.37; max rg(VHVC) = 0.66) and post weaning (min rg(MVC) = 0.50; max rg(VHVC) = 0.67). Moderate genetic correlations were obtained between carcass cut weights and calf price (min rg(HVC) = 0.34; max rg(LVC) = 0.45), weanling quality (min rg(MVC) = 0.12; max rg(VHVC) = 0.49), linear scores for muscularity at both weaning (hindquarter development: min rg(MVC) = −0.06; max rg(VHVC) = 0.46), post weaning (hindquarter development: min rg(MVC) = 0.23; max rg(VHVC) = 0.44). The genetic correlations between total meat weight were consistent with those observed with the predicted wholesale cut weights. Total fat and total bone weights were generally negatively correlated with carcass value, auction prices and weanling quality. Total bone weight was, however, positively correlated with skeletal scores at weaning and post weaning. These results indicate that some traits collected early in life are moderate-to-strongly correlated with carcass cut weights predicted from VIA technology. This information can be used to improve the accuracy of selection for carcass cut weights in national genetic evaluations.
Block copolymers are considered to be highly attractive materials with regards to future applications of nanomaterials and nanostructures owing to their self-assembling nature. Block copolymers, when supplied with sufficient energy, phase separate at the nanoscales to form periodically ordered structures in the nanometer-scale range. A diversity of architectures can be accessed via composition control of individual block components. An exciting area of application for block copolymer self assembly is organic photovoltaic devices (OPV‟s) where it is expected that the very high interfacial area of the blocks with ∼10-20 nm domain spacing would be highly advantageous for exciton diffusion and separation. For this purpose BCPs composed of amorphous (non-conjugated) polymers can also serve as a template for directed assembly of nanoparticles. Zone annealing is a well established method predominantly utilized for metallurgical and semi-conductor purification processes, where recrystallization and oriented grain growth occur on the planar front formed by the cooling-edge of the zone. We have previously applied this process to create highly ordered BCP cylinders that are parallel to the substrate with orientational control, long range order and faster ordering kinetics than conventional thermal annealing. In the present paper, we extend this idea to block copolymer - [6,6]-phenyl-C61-butyric acid methyl ester (PCBM) blend system and report how the presence of PCBM nanoparticles influence the micro-phase separation behavior of cylinder forming poly(styrene-b-2-vinyl pyridine) under a dynamic thermal gradient field. A range of scattering techniques have been on the BCP:PCBM blend system, including grazing incidence small angle x-ray scattering (GISAXS) experiments to characterize in-plane and lateral ordering of BCP-PCBM blend system.
The McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica are the largest ice-free region on the continent. These valleys contain numerous water bodies that receive seasonal melt from glaciers. For forty years, research emphasis has been placed on the larger water bodies, the permanent ice-covered lakes. We present results from the first study describing the geochemistry of ponds in the higher elevations of Taylor Valley. Unlike the lakes at lower elevations, the landscape on which these ponds lie is among the oldest in Taylor Valley. These upland ponds wax and wane in size depending on the local climatic conditions, and their ionic concentrations and isotopic composition vary annually depending on the amount of meltwater generated and their hydrologic connectivity. This study evaluates the impact of changes in summer climate on the chemistry of these ponds. Although pond chemistry reflects the initial meltwater chemistry, dissolution and chemical weathering within the stream channels, and possibly permafrost fluid input, the primary control is the dilution effect of glacier melt during warmer summers. These processes lead to differences in solute concentrations and ionic ratios between ponds, despite their nearby proximity. The change in size of these ponds over time has important consequences on their geochemical behaviour and potential to provide water and solutes to the subsurface.