The CAS International Member Services Committee (IMSC) serves the large and growing group of members and candidates residing outside of North America. Our committee consists of Regional Affiliate leads, volunteers from all over the world and liaisons to other committees, and we are organized into various subcommittees and working groups. All our work directly supports a major pillar of the CAS Strategic Plan: “Expanding globally.” We do this by reaching out to our international members, addressing their concerns, advocating for them within the CAS, supporting and providing for their continuing education needs, connecting them to each other and to fellow actuaries, and promoting further involvement with the CAS. We also have goals to improve our online global presence, encourage and support grassroot movements, and assist in developing university programs in other countries.
One key way that we achieve these goals is through our IMSC OutReach Program, which, as its name suggests, reaches out to CAS Members and Candidates abroad. As of year-end 2020, there are 569 CAS members living outside of North America. Since starting our OutReach Program in the past decade, we have sent out over 400 welcome emails to newly expatriated CAS members and students.
Conceived over 10 years ago, the International OutReach Program’s initial vision statement is still valid today: We provide a local contact, a friendly face and relevant information to someone who may find themself in a rather foreign environment. Paramount for us is to be relevant, and we achieve this best through local contacts who can adapt their outreach to best suit the specifics of the country and situation.
International OutReach Program Origins
The program was borne out of necessity and a desire to help. OutReach founder Gabriel Ware, FCAS, recalls the original inspiration for the program when he moved to Munich, Germany in 2007. “Navigating my new employment culture, apartment rental, health insurance system and even restaurant menus in this beautiful, albeit unfamiliar, world were a challenge, particularly with my limited German,” says Ware. The CAS IMSC chair at the time was Jeff Courchene, FCAS, who also lived in Munich. “Courchene was an invaluable source of guidance as he had navigated the same issues over his time in Munich (although with much better German!),” says Ware. “We realized that expat CAS members could be in a unique position to ably serve our membership in this way and the OutReach Program was born.”
Our OutReach Subcommittee includes a chairperson and nine Regional Contacts — all volunteer CAS members with personal expat experience. Each month, we identify individuals whose address has recently changed to outside North America. These include new expats as well as a growing number of members who remain abroad but are switching countries. The respective Regional Contact will then send them an email welcoming the individual to the foreign area, introducing themselves as a local CAS contact and providing country-specific information about Regional Affiliates, other local actuarial organizations and upcoming meetings. We offer ourselves as a local resource for actuarial and any expatriate-related questions or issues our members might have. We often provide members with ideas about how to support and be involved with CAS activities of their new country of residence.
OutReach success stories
Yvonne Palm, FCAS, is one such member who not only benefited from OutReach but became an enthusiastic volunteer. Palm learned about the IMSC by a welcome email from Gabriel Ware, soon after she settled in London in 2011. Ware’s email opened her eyes to what was available to her. “[It] helped me realize I was in good company,” says Palm. Later that year, she volunteered for the IMSC OutReach Subcommittee and was soon welcoming other CAS members that had recently moved to the U.K. and Ireland. She and other newcomers bonded over such stories as the difficulties of opening a bank account in their new home countries.
Over the years, Palm has sent numerous emails and met many new faces, one of which is Amber Rohde, FCAS, the current IMSC chairperson. “The welcome email and subsequent coffee with Yvonne was a pivotal moment for me,” say Rohde. “It led to connections and leadership opportunities that brought me closer to the larger CAS global community — not to mention, it helped to create an all-around better experience for me as I began my life in a foreign country.”
Palm is now based in Nigeria, but the CAS community remains a global village to her because of the connections she made through the OutReach Program. “Even though I’m now in a location where it appears I’m the only CAS member, I still feel connected to the CAS community and take comfort in the fact that the CAS knows I am here,” says Palm. “I’m looking forward to figuring out ways I can leverage my relationship with the CAS to make an impact in my region.”
How to Get Involved
OutReach is currently split into nine distinct Regions with a Regional Contact residing in each of them (see table above).
If you are a CAS member or candidate looking for information about moving abroad or an expat looking to network or looking for continuing education opportunities, we are your resource! If you have any international questions, we are here to answer them or at least point you in the right direction. For more information on the International Member Services Committee or the IMSC Outreach Program, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Joyce Chen, ACAS, is principal & consulting actuary for RenewalRe LLC.