PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE

In this column, current Academy Presidents reflect on their experiences with professionalism and share their unique perspective into the future.

September/October 2022

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SEASONS OF RENEWAL 

MARYELLEN COGGINS

With one of the hottest summers on record just about behind us, the soon-to-be-changing weather (and leaves) will again signify a time of change. I’ve talked a lot in my columns this year about the theme of renewal. With autumn—and the Academy’s Envision Tomorrow: 2022 Annual Meeting—approaching, it seemed a good opportunity to extend that theme, to focus on the signs of growth that are beginning to emerge from the Academy’s renewal efforts.

The Academy’s Member Value Task Force, using the feedback from the Member Value Survey undertaken by the Academy this summer, is busy assessing the information shared by members. This task force will aid the Academy in better understanding members’ views on what types of benefits, programs, resources, and education members most value. This invaluable insight will help strengthen current and future Academy membership benefits and the resources offered.

The Strategic Planning Committee is in the process of reviewing and refreshing the Academy’s existing Strategic Plan to better reflect the strategic objectives adopted by the Academy’s Board in May. Included in the Academy’s strategic objectives is our ongoing commitment to quality education focused on the U.S. practicing actuary, overseen by the Academy’s Committee on Education, formed in October 2021. In the last issue, I noted the Academy was on the verge of hiring a new director for this area, and I am happy to report that Lori Feinman started in late July as the Academy’s new director of education and events. Have I mentioned the Annual Meeting? Lori has already helped secure airfare discounts with major carriers into Washington, D.C., for the event.

The Academy is also very excited about this year’s new “Rising Actuary Award,” which will be presented at the Academy’s Annual Meeting. A prime example of renewal, the award focuses on recognizing and encouraging younger actuaries who are growing into the next generation of leaders in the profession and who have already exhibited strong leadership qualities with their own professional initiatives. Since young actuarial leaders represent the future of the actuarial profession, they are essential to the Academy’s continuing success and growth. Elsewhere, the focus on the future continues apace—an upcoming Future Actuaries Task Force report will provide recommendations to the Academy’s Board for investing in the next generation of actuaries as they learn about, prepare for, and enter the actuarial profession.

As I write this message, Academy staffers and volunteers have just returned from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ Summer 2022 National Meeting, held in Portland, Ore. Life Practice Council volunteers engaged regulators through extensive presentations on a proposed new economic scenario generator, as well as future and historical mortality improvement (joint with the Society of Actuaries [SOA]). Casualty Practice Council volunteers relayed updates about P/C workstreams to regulators. On the risk-based capital front, volunteers presented on workstreams that the P/C Risk-Based Capital Committee has undertaken and a new workstream on collateralized loan obligations. The Academy had previously presented virtually to the Health Actuarial (B) Task Force with a report on Group Life Waiver of Premium Valuation Table (joint with the SOA).

The Academy continued to monitor many other NAIC committees and working groups overseeing climate change, cyber risk, data analytics, and diversity, equity & inclusion. These major initiatives can only benefit from the Academy’s continued engagement. Engaging with the NAIC is an efficient way for the Academy to impact state insurance regulation—and to ensure that as the NAIC reviews and renews its regulations, it does so with the benefit of objective actuarial analysis.

Initiatives and endeavors such as these will help the Academy in revitalizing and growing our organization and the profession. They will help ensure that the Academy’s position as a nonpartisan and unbiased source of information and analysis will continue to be important to federal and state lawmakers, policymakers, and regulators.

Spoiler alert: You’ll hear more about these themes of renewal and growth in my presidential address at the Academy’s “Envision Tomorrow: 2022 Annual Meeting,” which will be held Nov. 2–3 in Washington, D.C. We have several high-profile speakers lined up, including U.S. Comptroller General Gene Dodaro, who heads the Government Accountability Office (GAO). Similar to the Academy, the GAO provides Congress and heads of executive agencies with timely, fact-based, and nonpartisan information.

Also offering big-picture perspectives will be award-winning journalist and commentator Michelle Singletary, who will discuss current economic trends; Steven Johnson, author and host of the Emmy-winning six-part PBS series, “How We Got to Now,” who will discuss longevity increases and his most recent book, Extra Life: A Short History of Living Longer, an entertaining, wide-ranging, and surprising look at how human life expectancy has doubled in the past 100 years; and Bruce Weinstein, a.k.a. “The Ethics Guy,” who will bring his unique perspective to the professionalism session, “The Ethically Intelligent Actuary.”

And still more opportunities for renewal and growth—the two-day event offers excellent networking opportunities with your peers and fellow Academy members and will include multiple practice-area breakout sessions and abundant continuing education opportunities. We hope to see you in the nation’s capital in November!

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