President's Message

Presidential Travels Open the Eyes

Some of the benefits of being president are the opportunities to visit actuaries, employers and universities and to attend actuarial meetings across North America and around the world.

One of the burdens of being president, however, is journeying to and from these events. Aside from normal flight delays and missed connections, most of my actual travel has been uneventful, with two exceptions. My very first official visit (to Mexico in September 2017) had to be cancelled because of a local earthquake. Harsh weather conditions also factored into my aborted visit to the Asian Actuarial Conference in Hong Kong in September 2018: All flights were cancelled for two days because of a severe typhoon! Fortunately, CAS Board Chair Brian Brown was able to carry out a goodwill visit later in December 2018.

From the time I became president-elect to my current service as president, I have taken over 40 trips — and I have eight more lined up for the end of 2019! That’s a lot of traveling! While the actual journey can sometimes be rough, the meetings themselves have been wondrous events. Overall,  the benefits have far outweighed the burdens.

Whether it’s actuarial students in North America or established leaders in the industry both here and abroad, the goals of all my meetings are to forge and strengthen relationships.


Of all these events, the element they have in common is outreach. Whether it’s actuarial students in North America or established leaders in the industry both here and abroad, the goals of all my meetings are to forge and strengthen relationships. With university students, I am promoting the actuarial career to the next generation of actuaries with the hope that they will choose the P&C route. I was impressed with my meetings with the Actuarial Students National Association in Ottawa and Montréal were so impressive. The number of attendees was enviable — over 1,500 combined for two meetings! As a Canadian, I was proud to meet these hopeful young people in two of Canada’s finest cities.

The author (right) with Kevin Shin, the CAS Student Ambassador at Ohio State, in March 2019. Shin has since graduated with a BS in actuarial science.

In the lower 48, I was thrilled to visit campuses at Temple University in Philadelphia, Ohio State in Columbus and University of Connecticut in Storrs this spring. As I anticipated, the students and professors were very welcoming and asked lots of questions about pursuing a P&C actuarial career. However, they all expressed disappointment that the CAS/SOA combination had not gone through as they had really hoped for a common preliminary syllabus. Sometimes the road is not smooth, but my successors and I will continue to build connections with universities and students.

Dialogue with other actuarial organizations around the world at meetings of the International Actuarial Association (IAA) helps solidify their bonds with us, the CAS. Together, we all work to strengthen the profession. CAS leaders had excellent one-on-one meetings with the heads of all the major actuarial bodies at semiannual IAA meetings in Mexico City, Washington and Berlin. As well as specific bilateral concerns with each organization, our talks focused on what new initiatives each was undertaking and how we can learn from each other. Other organizations are particularly interested in our efforts related to the CAS Institute. Another common theme was refining the model for IAA governance.

At the Global Data Science Summit in London, U.K., organized by the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, the overall consensus was that big data and data science are great opportunities as well as threats for our profession. This will continue, and our global actuarial community will rise to the challenge.

At semiannual meetings of the North American Actuarial Council (NAAC) in Puebla, San Diego and Ottawa, I had the opportunity to deepen my personal relationships with the leaders of all the actuarial organizations in North America. The CAS will be hosting the next NAAC meeting in Charleston, South Carolina, where I hope we can reciprocate the hospitality shown by our previous hosts.

The highlight of my term as president has been the opportunity to meet CAS members in numerous settings, particularly to meet new Fellows and Associates at the New Orleans Spring Meeting. With record attendance expected for the Honolulu Annual Meeting, I am anticipating even greater festivities and celebrations in November. The large numbers of exam candidates and new Associates and new Fellows within the CAS speak well for both our reputation as the preeminent provider of P&C actuarial education and the future of the CAS.

But we cannot be complacent and rest on our laurels. Other travel has taken me to visit The Institutes in Malvern, Pennsylvania, to better understand how they design educational material and examinations. I’ve also met with executives of individual actuarial employers and with our Employer Advisory Group to discuss how the CAS offerings, both pre- and post-Fellowship, can be improved to help address employer expectations from actuaries.

Being CAS President has certainly been an eye-opening experience. During my travels and discussions, I have found not only tremendous diversity in opinion but also a great deal of commonality of interest and approach to issues among actuaries. My travels are not yet done — remember that I have eight more trips in my future. Before the year is finished, I will have learned quite a lot, but not everything. What an education!