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Professionalism Counts is a column in Actuarial Update, the Academy's monthly newsletter. 

April 2020

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With conferences and other in-person events canceled across the country due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many of you may be looking for opportunities to earn relevant continuing education (CE) to fulfill your professionalism obligations, which are so important to maintaining the public’s trust in our profession during these challenging times.

The Academy is focusing on its online offerings to continue to provide members a variety of opportunities to earn CE in every practice area, as well as the organized and professionalism credits that you may need. Some of you have told us you are especially concerned about meeting the requirement for organized activity this year. As you know, the U.S. Qualification Standards (USQS) require six hours of organized activity each year. The key to organized activity is the ability to interact with actuaries or other professionals from outside your organization. This condition can be met by attending live webinars, where you have the opportunity to ask questions.


If you have fulfilled your organized activity requirement, you then need 24 more credits of relevant CE, 3 of which must qualify as professionalism credits. A good place to look for CE relevant to your area of practice is the Academy webinar archive, which members may access free of charge.


The Academy hosts four professionalism webinars each year, always featuring recognized experts in their areas as speakers. Most recently, members of the Actuarial Standards Board (ASB) and its Modeling Task Force discussed the new actuarial standard of practice (ASOP) on modeling (ASOP No. 56), which is effective for work performed on or after October 1, 2020.


Other recent popular professionalism webinars have included “Friday the 13th: More Tales from the Dark Side,” in which members of the Actuarial Board for Counseling and Discipline (ABCD) discussed entertaining scenarios based on issues brought before the ABCD. In a 2019 offering, “Reliance: ‘…A Little Help from My Friends,’” an important topic that is of perennial interest to our members, several ASB members looked at how the ASOPs address the concept of reliance and when it is appropriate to rely on another’s work or opinion. “Big Data: Professional Standards Provided by Actuaries and New Research on Regulatory Views” reviewed guidance in the Code of Professional Conduct and the ASOPs relevant to working on/with Big Data, and it presented new insights into what regulators think about how Big Data is being used.


If you are searching for something a little bit different, “Promoting Ethical Decision-making: Rules, the Human Brain, and Cognitive Biases” featured an engaging discussion with a professor of business law and ethics who discussed the latest research on ethics and compliance and how actuaries can avoid the common pitfalls of bias and self-interest when fulfilling their professional responsibilities. Delving deeper into the archives, you will find excellent webinars on the Code of Professional Conduct, the USQS, and communication that provide useful refreshers on perennially relevant professionalism topics.


Other ways to potentially earn professionalism credit can include reviewing the Code, the USQS, and ASOPs relevant to your work and providing comments on a draft ASOP. The ASB currently has two drafts open for comment: ASOP No. 4, Measuring Pension Obligations and Determining Pension Plan Costs or Contributions, and ASOP No. 11, Reinsurance Involving Life Insurance, Annuities, or Health Benefit Plans in Financial Reports. If these ASOPs are relevant to your work, we encourage you to review the drafts, and if you have comments, consider submitting them.


The Academy provides opportunities to earn CE in each area of practice. In late April, “Cross-Practice COVID-19 Update” focused on the impact of COVID-19 on actuarial practice and implications for public policy, looking at issues relevant to all actuarial practice areas. Earlier this spring, the Academy launched a three-part series of pension webinars. Part one focused on multi-employer pension plans, while part two focused on public pension plans. Part three, scheduled for May 27, will focus on private pension plans. Recent casualty webinars have covered topics such as the impact of coronavirus on P/C lines, 2019 changes to instructions for qualified actuaries, and cyber risk insurance. A February life webinar looked at separate account products.


The Health Practice Council is in the process of planning a webinar with state and federal regulators to discuss the potential effects of the coronavirus pandemic and the prospective impact of COVID-19 on 2021 rate filings and 2020 reporting requirements for individual and small group plans.


We encourage you to keep an eye on your inbox and our homepage, and check the Academy’s webinar page for forthcoming events. Working from home doesn’t mean you can’t meet your CE requirements—there are plenty of online opportunities that can help you meet your requirements, stay qualified, and be ever ready to meet the profession’s commitment to serve the public.


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