Principles of the Casualty Actuarial Society for Basic Education
The primary purpose of the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) basic education process is to ascertain whether candidates for the CAS designations have satisfied CAS learning objectives. The CAS Board of Directors adopted the following principles on May 6, 2001.
- Basic education will remain a cornerstone of the CAS.
- The CAS will assure that its members have the knowledge of those areas needed to practice effectively in the broad and expanding range of property, casualty, and similar business and financial risks (general insurance).
- The CAS is committed to a depth of knowledge of techniques associated with the broad range of property, casualty, and similar business and financial risks.
- The CAS will provide the basic education necessary to meet qualification standards to sign statements of actuarial opinion for general insurance and related specialties in at least the U.S. and Canada.
- The education process will provide a balance among theoretical concepts, practical applications, and business acumen, to prepare our members to deliver high-quality service to meet current and projected future needs of employers and clients.
- The CAS will approve the syllabus and examination standards used in determining eligibility for CAS membership.
- Demonstration of mastery of the skill sets required of members is critical to basic education.
- The CAS is committed to maintaining self-study as one route for attainment of designations.
- The CAS will pursue strong working relationships with academia and professionals in related fields.
- The CAS will attract a pool of strong candidates from a variety of backgrounds to the actuarial profession.
- The CAS supports the goal of developing a global shared foundation of actuarial education, including joint sponsorship of examinations where consistent with other principles.
- The CAS, as an educator of general insurance and related specialties, will remain a significant contributor to the worldwide actuarial profession.
Syllabus Goals and Objectives
One of the primary objectives of the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) is the development of qualified professionals in the field of casualty actuarial science. The CAS conducts an educational and examination program for prospective members in order to achieve this objective.
The syllabus goals and objectives are as follows:
- To develop a general understanding of the social, political, regulatory, legal, economic, and financial environment of the business of property and casualty insurance and similar risk assessment as well as the historical development of that environment.
- To develop a thorough understanding of the fundamental mathematical concepts applicable to solving insurance and similar risk assessment problems, and to develop a high degree of skill in their applications.
- To develop a comprehensive understanding of the business of property and casualty insurance, including underwriting, claims, marketing, and finance, as well as how these functions are performed and interrelated.
- To develop a working knowledge of property and casualty insurance policies and contracts.
- To develop an expert knowledge of a broad range of techniques to solve problems and to develop the ability to discern the appropriateness of techniques for particular applications based on knowledge of the underlying assumptions, strengths, and weaknesses.
- To develop an expert knowledge of a broad range of relevant and standard actuarial practices in order to present a framework for the use of problem-solving techniques.
- To encourage a sense of inquisitiveness and creativity toward problem solving in order to foster an appreciation of the art in actuarial science.
Note: The items in this Syllabus were chosen for their educational value. They are intended to expose the candidate to a wide range of information and to a variety of methods, opinions, and practices in the casualty actuarial field. Inclusion of material in the Syllabus does not imply that the CAS endorses the views, methodologies, or techniques therein.
Education and Examination System
The CAS vice president-admissions supervises the CAS education and examination system. The vice president-admissions is supported by the following three admissions committees:
CAS Candidate Liaison Committee
The Candidate Liaison Committee strives to focus on issues of importance to candidates who are taking CAS Examinations. The committee serves as a direct point of contact for candidates to voice individual or group concerns regarding the education and examination process. It also provides a means for an exchange of information between candidates and the admissions committees via Future Fellows, a quarterly newsletter. Candidate representatives who are actively involved in the examination process serve as advisors to the committee.
CAS Education Policy Committee
The Education Policy Committee provides research, analysis and recommendations to the CAS Executive Council and Board of Directors so they are better able to ensure that the goals of the education and examination system are met, and that the education and examination system meets the needs of the Society, its members, its potential members, and other stakeholders. The Education Policy Committee also reviews the educational programs of other actuarial organizations, both in North America and globally. The committee reviews and recommends any changes to the CAS Executive Council on the CAS Basic Education Waiver Policy and similar issues.
CAS Syllabus & Examination Committee
The Syllabus & Examination Committee determines the scope and content of the CAS Syllabus and course of readings for CAS Examinations. It also organizes, manages, administers, and grades the CAS Examinations. The committee also establishes the standards to be achieved by successful candidates.
The chairperson supervises the committee and is responsible for the overall development of the Syllabus of Basic Education and the administration of the CAS Examinations. The committee is composed of Fellows who represent a broad spectrum of CAS members including insurers, consultants, regulators, and academics. One or more members specialize in the material for each examination part. Several senior committee officers with the title of general officer assist the chairperson. The committee is subdivided into Examination Part Committees, each headed by an examination part chairperson. Two or more vice-chairs assist the examination part chairperson – these vice-chairs take responsibility for the main distinct operations of the examination part team, e.g., syllabus development, examination creation, and exam administration.
Members of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries (CIA) that are also Fellows serve on the Examination Part Committee for Exam 6-Canada for examination creation and administration. The CIA’s Exam 6-Canada Syllabus Committee develops the syllabus for that exam.
The following provides details about the CAS-specific syllabi and examinations:
- The responsibility for each CAS examination syllabus is assigned to an Examination Part Committee that reviews the individual exam syllabi regularly. Both short- and long-term goals for improvement are developed. Textbooks and articles may be designated for inclusion. If the committee determines that new study material needs to be developed or that existing material needs to be revised, the committee may commission the creation of Study Notes for inclusion. Every effort is made to develop material that is appropriate, relevant, up-to-date, concise, and well written. Suggestions for improvement are always welcome and should be directed to the Syllabus and Examination Committee at the CAS Office address
- The responsibility for each CAS examination is assigned to an Examination Part Committee that writes, grades, and maintains the standards for that examination. One or more examination consultants who are CAS members and are experts on the material covered by that examination assist each part committee. A proofreader who concentrates on uniformity and grammar also assists the part committees. In addition, academic consultants who are independent experts from the academic community assist some part committees.
- Each examination is drafted by the responsible Examination Part Committee to test candidates’ knowledge of the items listed in the syllabus for the specific exam. The individual part committee, examination consultants, one of the Examination Committee general officers, the Examination Committee chairperson, and, in some cases, academic consultants review each examination to assure its quality.
- Every effort is made to ensure that the questions fall within the scope of the individual exam syllabus. Complete coverage of all material is not practical for every examination every year. The goal is to produce examinations that contain representative, high-quality questions that test candidates’ knowledge of the material. Trick questions are deliberately avoided, and the wording of each question is considered carefully to eliminate possible ambiguities. Preliminary versions of each examination are thoroughly reviewed in relation to all of these factors before the final examination is approved.