The Actuarial Research Community: Innovation, Education and Collaboration

Bringing together academia, organizations and researchers from the actuarial profession, this past July marked the 49th Annual Actuarial Research Conference. Actuaries gathered at the University of California – Santa Barbara campus to share and discuss a wide range of research developments from modeling and pensions to economic capital and property insurance risks. From an SOA research perspective, there were three key takeaways that underlined the conference discussions:

  • Continued innovation to solve complex issues such as with retirement benefit plans;
  • New approaches to educating the future of the profession; and
  • Collaboration between the actuarial organizations.
R. Dale Hall, Managing Director Research, Society of Actuaries

R. Dale Hall, Managing Director Research, Society of Actuaries

During the conference, participants examined innovative ways to address the complex topic of retirement. The discussion explored the possibility of hybrid defined benefit plans for multi-employer plans in the U.S. The researchers compared approaches from Europe, and those being implemented or considered in provinces across Canada, using available actuarial research in this area. This discussion was a prime example of applying innovative methods to complex situations.

From the classroom education perspective, I was pleased to see new developments over recent years with how actuarial science is taught. Some teachers provide a “flipped classroom” approach to learning, where students listen to lectures on their own and use class time to engage in discussions and assignments with the teacher and classmates.  This learning process may help future actuarial students to better embrace the fundamental principles of actuarial science. It was valuable to hear first-hand how the learning process is changing and this process is helping evolve how we look at actuarial education research and the clarity it can help provide to address complex issues.

Additionally, there were many discussions about existing and future research partnerships across the profession. The SOA continues to collaborate with the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) and the Canadian Institute of Actuaries (CIA), on research to benefit the actuarial profession. For example, the SOA worked with the CIA on Canadian health care spending and will also collaborate on Canadian retirement research. The three organizations also worked together on ERM research through the Joint Risk Management Section. I was also pleased to hear presentations on where the future of research is headed, including from the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, in helping advance the actuarial profession.

Visit the ARC page for more information about the research discussion, and visit the SOA’s research page for the organization’s latest research developments.

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