Update from the November 2010 Interactive Leader Session

by Don Segal, SOA President, 2010-2011

Don Segal Blog Photo Last Wednesday we (Brad Smith, Greg Heidrich and I) held our third Interactive Leader Session of 2010 and my first as president!

Over 200 members joined the call. We were happy about the great turnout and that 97 percent indicated they were satisfied with the session! For those of you who weren’t able to join, let me share some of the highlights.

2010 Annual Meeting
This year’s Annual Meeting was our second-largest ever, with over 1,900 attending! (The largest was our 50th anniversary in 1999 in San Francisco. You remember? The one with Tony Bennett.)

Our keynote speakers this year were the legendary Ted Koppel, and the esteemed professor, Paul Embrechts, from ETH Zurich.

In my presidential address, I spoke about the five C’s that, along with our strategic plan, will take us through the next year. You can read more about them in this post or in the transcript of my speech.

October 2010 Board Meeting Update
We are doing more to keep you informed about what the Board is doing. You may have noticed that immediately following the October meeting, we sent an e-mail to all members alerting them to an announcement that summarized the Board meeting highlights. This
e-mail went out Sunday evening only a few hours after the Board meeting ended.

Regarding our 2011 budget, we will be holding dues steady for the fifth year in a row.

Some other things we talked about include:

Progress in the Rapid Retirement Research Pilot Project
Briefly, a specialist actuary has been added to staff and a Modeling Oversight Group will provide input and direction. Deliverables include studies focused on North American retirement systems.

Risk Professional Research Project
This research examined the outlook for future risk management needs in the financial services and energy sectors.

Preliminary findings indicated that actuaries will face significant barriers to entry as risk professionals in energy and banking, and familiarity with our profession continues to be a problem.

We will be appointing a Task Force to determine if the risk management in these fields is comparable to that for which we train actuaries. We also want to gauge the level of interest among members.

2011 Initiatives

Health Actuarial Research Initiative
We have an unprecedented opportunity to contribute research as the new health reform law becomes implemented. This research can and should have a wide appeal to other health care professionals and the public and on a more significant scale if we want to attract broader attention.

Canadian Member Engagement
18 percent of our members work in Canada. We have received many comments from our Canadian members who feel that they receive less for their dues than their U.S. counterparts.

This initiative seeks to deepen our partnership with the Canadian Institute of Actuaries to offer more research and professional development that better reflects the issues our Canadian members face in their work. We are also establishing a local Canadian staff presence to better serve our members in Canada.

International Membership
Hong Kong follows the United States and Canada in SOA members, and the numbers are growing! The SOA has an office established in Hong Kong, and we are adding resources to this office to better serve our members in this part of the world.

Actuaries in Business Analytics
Business analytics focuses on developing new insights and understanding of past business performance based on data and statistical methods. We are going to look at whether opportunities exist for actuaries in this area, and if so, how we should explore and develop these opportunities.

Member & Candidate Engagement
Through this work, our focus will be on continuing to enhance our communications with members and candidates. We will do so through social media, engagement at local venues such as actuarial clubs, as well as outreach to universities and high schools.

This is a very brief summary of the topics discussed. If you’d like to learn more about any of these items, the archived Interactive Leader Session is now available on the SOA website. We will also be communicating updates on these items throughout the year.

Over half of the 60-minute webinar was dedicated to questions from members. We enjoyed this opportunity to hear from you and to address some of your questions.

We’re planning to hold at least four Interactive Leader Sessions in 2011—three following our Board meetings and one will most likely be held around election time. Watch for more info on these as the dates are announced!

Are there topics you’d like to see addressed in a future Interactive Leader Session or blog post? Share your comments below.

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