Make Your Mark!

A pride of CAS past presidents: Left to right are Gary Josephson, the author Steven Lehmann, Wayne Fisher and Jim MacGinnitie.

The following is an excerpt from the Address to New Members given at the CAS Annual Meeting in Philadelphia on November 16, 2015.

To the new Fellows: Enjoy the moment. You’ve achieved something great. Now take that achievement as a springboard to even greater accomplishments. Here are some possibilities:

  • Become the CEO of an insurance company or consulting firm.
  • Become the head of research for your firm.
  • Take predictive modeling to new dimensions — for example, investments, marketing or something completely outside of the insurance space.
  • Become the chief actuary for your company or office.

Whatever the vision, the key thing is to set goals for your career and work towards them. The objectives may even change and evolve over time.

How will you get there?

Let’s start with some of the qualities or strengths that you will need:

  • Determination.
  • Enthusiasm and passion. I’ll never forget the advice of my first boss … He said: “Remember. If you can’t get excited about something you’ve worked so hard at and know so well, how can you expect your audience to?” He was right!
  • Communication skills. All of us have something to sell. The greatest actuarial work product will never be implemented if you can’t convince your management. So work hard on improving your speaking and writing skills.

Now, how to apply these qualities and strengths:

  • Work hard and have a positive attitude. It’s amazing what you can accomplish with these qualities.
  • Build your network. Go to lunch with your underwriter, claims rep, lawyer or client and get to know them. Listen to their concerns. Be proactive.
  • Use your time wisely. It is precious.
  • Be ready. When you go to a meeting, whether it is an internal one or an external one, go prepared. You will probably be one of the few who has! You can have a strong influence on the meeting and make it much more productive.
  • Do your best. Apply your best effort to everything that is given to you.

Many of you have young families. Don’t become so obsessed with your work life that you neglect your family life … Find a balance between your professional life and your personal life.

Finally, with your achievement comes some responsibilities:

  • To continue your education.
  • To extend the expertise of the profession.
  • To give back to your profession by actively participating in CAS committees and other activities. (By the way, this is not a totally altruistic goal. Joining a CAS or Academy committee is a great opportunity to network and make friends who will last a lifetime. Joining a CAS committee right away after receiving my Fellowship was one of the best things I did in my career.)
  • To conduct yourself always in an ethical and professional manner with an eye on the soundness of your company.
  • To make a difference by paying it forward.

Now take some time to celebrate your achievement. May God bless you as you go out. Spread your wings and make your mark!

Steven G. Lehmann, FCAS, MAAA, FCIA, FSA, was elected CAS president in November 1998. He works for Abacus Actuarial Consulting, LLC, in Bloomington, Illinois.