President's Message

A Year of Change

As I write this, my year as CAS president is coming to a close. There is much for me to do before November, but the time to reflect has arrived. I’d like to share some of the things the CAS has accomplished this year and some of the many things that remain to be done.

Before I began my year as president, people would ask me what I hoped to accomplish. What would my focus be? I had a relatively easy time formulating an answer. It was time to refresh our strategic plan, and this was a major undertaking. Relationships with other organizations have also become a significant focus, given our efforts to build The CAS Institute (iCAS) and contribute to the development of a global syllabus by the International Actuarial Association. The priorities seemed obvious to me: Complete our strategic review and continue to work on enhancing relationships with other organizations, both actuarial and others, while protecting the interests of the CAS.

With the help of staff and many of our volunteers, I’m happy to say that the CAS has been able to make progress on both of these goals — and many more. And I have continued to experience the importance of our core values in the process.

In October we released our refreshed strategic plan. It’s a testament to our commitment to our purpose and values that the revised strategic plan stayed very close to the ones last articulated in 2012. We added two new core values, diversity and innovation, but they were implicit all along. This goes to show that even though the world around us has changed significantly, and the ways we do our jobs have changed, the things we believe in have not.

This year we also underwent an education audit conducted by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). The purpose of the audit was to determine whether CAS Fellows and Associates meet the minimum educational standards to be considered “Qualified Actuaries” and therefore are able to sign NAIC P&C Statements of Actuarial Opinion. In September we received the results of that audit. Like many audits, there were suggestions for improvements. But the most significant outcome for us is that it was confirmed that the CAS education syllabus provides what is needed for opinion signers. More work is being done, and some changes may come. But, our syllabus was officially recognized as deep enough and broad enough to qualify P&C opinion signers.

Continuing with education, we are making some strategic changes in this area. Our newest venture, iCAS, is progressing at a nice pace and faster than expected. Earlier this year, iCAS started offering modules 1 and 2 of its first credential, the Certified Specialist in Predictive Analytics (CSPA). The first CSPA exams have been given, experienced practitioners have been awarded the credential, membership is growing and a second credential is now under development.

In addition to the remarkable development of iCAS, we are making some creative changes to basic education, such as introducing more predictive modeling material into the basic syllabus. We are introducing technology-based examination with remote proctoring and are expanding the use of integrated examination questions. These last two changes will ensure that our education system more adequately reflects our members’ work environment.

On the research side, we are experimenting with converting committees into working groups. Committees work well when there is a defined task with defined deadlines. Research projects are more fluid and need a structure that allows for creativity. We are also configuring these working groups to disband when the work is done.

That’s all pretty positive news. Yet, the work of leadership, volunteers and staff doesn’t end. Here are only some of the things that the CAS continues to work on.

As our world becomes more complex, we need to work with partners to achieve our goals. As a result of the strategic plan review, we are now in the process of adopting a framework for identifying and assessing viable strategic partners, and we are updating metrics for measuring progress toward achieving our plan.

Education will continue to change, both in what we believe to be appropriate subject matter and in how we validate knowledge. Our admissions and professional education volunteers continue to explore alternatives.

Our experiments in the research area will need to be evaluated and modified if necessary to keep us in the forefront of P&C actuarial research.

And, just like in life, relationships are complex and constantly changing. A focus on strengthening relationships with other organizations will always remain a priority.

CAS President Nancy Braithwaite is 2nd vice president for Travelers in New York City.