Inside the SOA

Talking about important societal issues

by Brad Smith, 2011-12 SOA President

In my presidential address at the 2011 Annual Meeting, I asked actuaries to speak out about societal problems that have substantial actuarial components—the funding and potential reform of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, healthcare reform, and the underfunding of public pension plans.

The SOA has created PowerPoint presentations on each of these topics targeted to non-actuarial audiences. These presentations are available for you to alter and use as you deem appropriate. You can request these presentations by emailing membercomms@soa.org.

As actuaries, it is important for us to speak out about these issues, whether it’s at a cocktail party, barbeque, family gathering or at work. I encourage you to give presentations to your local community club. Write your congressman. Write letters to the editor of your local newspaper. Tap the power of social media, be it Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or YouTube to deliver these messages.

Let’s assure the relevancy of the actuarial profession into the foreseeable future. Let’s commit to do more to contribute to the solutions of society’s problems. Talking about these issues is the first step.

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One response to "Talking about important societal issues"

  • Tom Bakos says:

    While it is always good for citizens to participate in their government, doesn’t it seem that this suggestion coming from the President of the SOA puts the SOA on a track parallel to the American Academy of Actuaries which operates as the public policy voice of the actuarial profession in the U.S.

    Here is part of the Academy’s vision and mission:
    Vision: The vision of the American Academy of Actuaries is that financial security systems in the United States be sound and sustainable, and that actuaries be recognized as preeminent experts in risk and financial security.

    As the public voice for the United States actuarial profession, the Academy provides independent and objective actuarial information, analysis, and education for the formation of sound public policy;

    Again, while it is good for actuaries to take a public position in order to influence the creation and maintenance of sound and sustainable financial security systems in the U.S., isn’t that the role of the Academy to direct and encourage – not the SoA?

    I don’t see the endorsement of the activities being endorsed as a role for the SOA or in the SOA’s Mission and Vision. Here is openning part of the SOA Mission and Vision statement:
    The Society of Actuaries is an educational,research, and professional organization dedicated to serving the public and Society members. Its mission is to advance actuarial knowledge and to enhance the ability of actuaries to provide expert advice and relevant solutions for financial, business, and societal problems involving uncertain future events.

    Is the suggestion here that we also take over the role and function of the AAA?

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