What’s up with the Spring Meetings?

MikeBoot The calendar says that it is now spring (although after seeing a couple inches of snow in Chicago and a foot of snow in Denver last week, it seems that no one told Mother Nature that winter is over.) This makes me think of the Society of Actuaries spring meetings. I am old enough to remember when the SOA offered three spring meetings—one for life, one for health and one for pension. And now when you look at the SOA Calendar of Events there is not one meeting with the name “Spring” attached. What’s up with that?

Unlike the weather we’ve seen recently, the SOA did not forget that it was springtime, but has evolved its professional development offerings to meet the needs of the membership. Last year, anyone who attended the 2009 Life Spring Meeting or the 2009 Product Development Symposium received a survey.

The result was that hundreds of our members asked for a new event that would offer deeper content that was relevant and timely. By taking the best elements of the Life Spring Meeting and the Product Development Symposium, we have created a full two-day program, the new Life & Annuity Symposium. The longer meeting format (nearly 50 sessions) adds more tracks and seminars in various lengths to help you meet your personal career goals. The first Life & Annuity Symposium will be held in Tampa, Florida on May 17-19.

The SOA Health Meeting has been the premier meeting for health actuaries to attend. With the Health Reform bill being passed in Washington, this will be a key place to learn the impact on actuaries and the insurance industry. The opening session is a planned point/counterpoint debate between two leading experts in health care reform, Grace-Marie Turner of the Galen Institute, and David Cutler of Harvard University.

In planning this meeting, we heard from several of you who work with Medicare that it is crunch time to meet the end of May deadline and to accommodate some opportunity to have a little space between that busy time and this meeting. So we have moved the Health Meeting to late June—this year it will be held June 28-30 in Orlando.

My colleagues and I always debate whether life actuaries or health actuaries are more fun to be around. Having a life background, I pointed to all the smiling faces in the SOA marketing brochure for the Life and Annuity Symposium. They counter that those are stock photos and clearly not actuaries in the pictures. Since I will be present at both of these meetings in Florida, I welcome your input on ways that we can continue to evolve these meetings to best meet your needs. Responding to your input on these meetings is a high priority for the SOA. In addition, let me know if you prefer to hang around with life actuaries or health actuaries.

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