Casualty Actuarial Society

Membership

CAS Strategic Plan

Accepted by the CAS Board of Directors
February, 1999

March 15, 1999 Cover Memo from Steven G. Lehmann

Section 1 - Purpose of Strategic Plan

1.1 Purpose

The strategic plan is intended to focus the efforts of the CAS leadership and provide the strategic directions necessary to further the mission and vision of the CAS.

Section 2 - CAS Mission Statement

2.1 Mission

The purposes of the Casualty Actuarial Society are to advance the body of knowledge of actuarial science applied to property, casualty, and similar business and financial risks, to establish and maintain standards of qualification for membership, to promote and maintain high standards of conduct and competence for the members, and to increase the awareness of actuarial science.

Section 3 - Vision of CAS

3.1 Vision

The vision of the CAS is to be the pre-eminent resource for education, knowledge, experience and applied research for those actuaries who specialize in property, casualty, and similar business and financial risks, including the field known as general insurance.

Section 4 - Definition of a Casualty Actuary

4.1 Definition

A casualty actuary is a professional skilled in the analysis, evaluation and management of the financial implications of contingent events primarily with respect to property, casualty, and similar business and financial risks and who is knowledgeable of the practical environment in which these risks occur.

Section 5 - Guiding Principles

5.1 Learned Body

The CAS is a learned body and an organization of professionals. While not wishing to become an educational institute or college staffed by educators, education is a cornerstone of the CAS. The CAS "Statement of Purpose", as specified in its constitution, contains three distinct references to education. These principles advocate a solid basic education, a responsibility for continuing education and research, and a charge to educate the public at large on actuarial issues. These functions are carried out by numerous committees. These committees, staffed by volunteers, reflect the dedication of the CAS members to their organization and the desire to perpetuate the principles upon which it was founded.

5.2 Distinct Identity

The CAS is distinctly identified as a body of professionals with expertise in contingencies associated with property, casualty and similar business and financial risks. Much of the actuarial work done by CAS members is related to pricing or loss reserving of property/casualty insurance products (or "self-insuring" alternatives to insurance products). The CAS is working to expand the application of actuarial science to a broader range of financial risks and to non-traditional work environments. The CAS should continue to assure that its members have the knowledge of those areas needed to practice effectively in the broad range of property, casualty and similar business and financial risks.

5.3 Independence

The CAS is an independent organization of professionals. A focus on contingencies associated with property, casualty and similar business and financial risks has been and will remain a key strength of the CAS. Independence is essential to maintaining that focus. Sustained intense involvement by the membership in the volunteer operations of the organization is critical to maintaining independence.

5.4 Geographic Scope

The CAS functions as the professional actuarial society for property/casualty actuaries in the U.S. and Canada that qualifies its members by examination. As the only society in the world specializing in "general insurance", and because of its pre-eminent training in general insurance and related specialities, there are actuaries from countries other than the U.S. and Canada who take the CAS examinations and wish to become members. The role of the CAS as an educator is a significant contribution to the worldwide profession. The CAS seeks to support other actuarial organizations around the world in their pursuit of professional excellence. Active cooperation with other actuarial organizations, active worldwide dissemination of information about the CAS, and active promotion of the profession at large are responsibilities inherent in the charter of the CAS.

5.5 Professionalism

The CAS establishes and maintains high standards of professionalism, ethics and competence through its qualification of members, code of conduct, disciplinary procedures and continuing education requirements.

Section 6 - Critical Success Factors

6.1 Introduction

Critical success factors are needed to focus the efforts of the CAS leadership and to check progress in achieving both the goals described in the mission and vision statements, and the strategic directions laid out in the CAS Strategic Plan. Ultimately, the success or failure of the CAS will be determined by its ability to meet the needs of its members and their customers. Thus all of the critical success factors must feed into this overall objective.

6.2 Advancement of Actuarial Knowledge

With regard to the advancement of knowledge of actuarial science, the following critical success factors have been identified:

  1. The CAS is recognized as the principal publisher of applied research and applications of actuarial science in the property/casualty area.
  2. Membership in the CAS is recognized as the education requirement to sign financial statements for property/casualty insurance and related business and financial risks in the U.S. and Canada.
  3. The CAS operates as a strong, independent society (and yet as a member of the worldwide actuarial community).
  4. The CAS qualification process is available on a global basis.

6.3 Standards of Qualification

Critical success factors with regard to the establishment and maintenance of high standards of qualification for membership are as follows:

  1. The Syllabus is current, timely and relevant to areas of practice.
  2. The Syllabus includes reading materials on all established practice areas.
  3. Exams test the skill sets needed by our members.
  4. Academia is an integral part of the education and exam process.

6.4 Standards of Competence and Conduct

Critical success factors with regard to promotion and maintenance of high standards of conduct and competence for the members are as follows:

  1. There is timely publication of new research.
  2. There is an efficient referee process to assure the high quality of papers.
  3. There are continuing education programs that over a period of time (i.e. three to five years) cover every major aspect of the actuarial educational curriculum and are participated in by a growing percentage of the membership.
  4. Our volunteer culture is maintained by involving a significant percentage of the Fellows (i.e. at least 30%) in some CAS volunteer activity.
  5. There is discipline of CAS members for violations of the Code of Professional Conduct.
  6. The office staff remains directly under the control of the volunteer leadership of the CAS.

6.5 External Needs

Critical success factors with respect to the increase in awareness of actuarial science and meeting the needs of its external customers are as follows:

  1. Strong working relationships are established with academia and professionals in related fields.
  2. Strong public relations and awareness programs with high schools, colleges and the general public are established.
  3. The brightest and best mathematicians and business students are attracted to the profession.
  4. Regular contacts are maintained with employers of actuaries to determine their current and future needs.
  5. Basic and continuing education focus on the broad and expanding vision of actuarial practice.
  6. The CAS is recognized as a leading educational organization for general insurance actuaries worldwide.
  7. The actuarial profession is recognized favorably among other professions around the world.

Section 7 - Strategic Directions

7.1 Governance

A growing membership with expanding and changing practice needs will place greater demands on the CAS as an organization and the volunteer culture which continues to sustain it so effectively. To maintain its world-class governance, the CAS must continually monitor its committee structure, its leadership positions, the role of its regional affiliates and special interest sections, and the operation of the CAS Office. To enhance its volunteer culture there must be active monitoring of member participation levels. To maintain its high level of professionalism, there must be effective enforcement of the Code of Professional Conduct.

7.2 Membership Function

The CAS must attract a sufficient number of members to meet the demand for actuarial services. The new members must be drawn from a talent pool which is on par with or better than that of other professions, particularly those related to law, finance, economics, accounting and math. With respect to the membership function:

7.2.1 Awareness - One of the purposes of the CAS is to increase the awareness of actuarial science. Increasingly, the CAS is challenged to make its research, meetings and members accessible to others around the world. Such "outreach" activities should include both potential users of actuarial services and potential practitioners of actuarial science.

7.2.2 Qualification Standards - High standards of qualification to practice will always be necessary, yet the CAS must be able to address the needs of those who practice casualty work outside the U.S. and Canada and who could benefit from regular interaction with CAS members. While some type of examination may be desired for those who wish to practice in the U.S. or Canada, actuaries who wish "only" to expand their knowledge of casualty matters might be well served by inclusion in CAS Continuing Education programs, distribution of CAS literature, and possibly membership on certain types of committees, e.g., research.

7.2.3 Publications - Historically, casualty actuaries have written primarily for themselves and their colleagues, and have not sought a wider audience. Proceedings and other publications are not widely available outside of specialized libraries. Greater access to CAS materials will further the goal of helping to educate casualty practitioners outside of the U.S. and Canada, and also will serve to increase awareness of the CAS as a learned society. Given the state of today’s computer technology, it should be possible to provide easy computer access to CAS materials at a reasonable cost.

In order to reach a wider audience (e.g., insurers worldwide, educators, actuaries and "para-actuaries," economists, accountants and others in related disciplines), the CAS should continue to enhance its web-site with the addition of its published papers. Methods should be sought to bring its published papers to a worldwide audience of actuaries and related professionals.

7.3 Education Function

Education is a primary function of the CAS that enables the organization to grow and expand. In order to meet future challenges, and to insure continuing demand for actuaries and interesting work that will attract future members, the CAS must continue to pursue a number of education related activities. These activities should include the involvement of academia where appropriate.

7.3.1 Exam Administration -To serve the majority of its current membership, the CAS should continue to administer examinations covering country-specific material for the U.S. and Canada. To facilitate a more international exam syllabus, the CAS should continue efforts to make the syllabus for all exams, other than the country-specific exam(s), as "country-neutral" as possible.

7.3.2 Access to Actuarial Education - Where access to actuarial education, training or a professional actuarial organization is limited or non-existent, particularly in general insurance, the CAS should be open to providing appropriate guidance or assistance subject to our own resource constraints. When it is possible and practical, the CAS should be willing to "export" its knowledge and expertise to educate actuaries in those specialties where our practical knowledge is extensive.

Even in the U.S. and Canada where access to continuing education is readily available, the CAS should consider a more coordinated effort to utilize the programs of its regional affiliates as a means to enhance continuing education activities.

7.3.3 Enhancement of Skills - CAS members, because of their education, training and experience, are particularly adept at analyzing and solving practical business problems by integrating techniques and knowledge from other disciplines. The education function of the CAS should include explicit goals that enhance this valuable skill and further its application for practicing actuaries.

7.3.4 Expansion of Skills - One of the strengths of the CAS is the willingness of the membership to build upon its knowledge and to learn new skills. The current activities in Dynamic Financial Analysis and catastrophe analysis demonstrate the ability of the CAS to provide quality continuing education, research, and discussion so that members feel equipped for new challenges. These activities have been enhanced through interaction with professionals in other disciplines (e.g., financial analysts, climatologists). For the most part, however, there has been less movement towards areas which are not closely related to traditional property/casualty risks.

Training and education that will help actuaries fulfill new roles should be considered, such as more financial-oriented education. The CAS should draw upon its members who have ventured beyond the traditional areas, and its growing relationships with professionals who are not directly involved with the property/casualty environment and should consider continuing education programs if appropriate.

7.4 Research Function

The research function is basic if the CAS is to achieve its education goals. With respect to the research function:

7.4.1 Applied Research - The fundamental strategy for the research function should be to promote and emphasize applied research that can be put into practical use. The research activities of the CAS should provide a venue for developing and testing new concepts and ideas, creating more valuable actuarial techniques, and refining and improving current methods. Furthermore, it is important that the process for developing this research be timely and efficient.

7.4.2 Emerging Fields - The CAS has made significant progress in Dynamic Financial Analysis (DFA) research, but continued emphasis is necessary to address the enterprise-wide risks and international issues. Securitization (i.e. the packaging and resale of certain kinds of risk) is also seen as an emerging field with an opportunity for actuaries to contribute to the development of new products.

7.4.3 Funded Research - The CAS has traditionally relied on volunteer research efforts. Volunteerism must continue to be encouraged, but simultaneously, the CAS should be more pro-active in funding research, especially at the university level.

7.4.4 Joint Ventures - The CAS should take advantage of opportunities to leverage its research efforts through cooperation with academia, other actuarial organizations and experts in other fields.

7.5 Actuarial Frontiers

A significant number of CAS members are currently practicing in areas that are non-traditional for property/casualty actuaries. The CAS should explore ways to better support actuaries practicing in these non-traditional areas. The CAS should also explore ways to expand the applications of actuarial science to general business problems associated with casualty and similar business and financial risks. In some cases it may be best to jointly explore the expansion into new practice areas with the SoA and other professional organizations.

7.6 Marketing Function

Growth opportunities for actuaries are likely to be greater outside traditional areas of practice; however competition for these opportunities will come from other professions. The CAS should endeavor to maintain visibility among current and potential employers by supporting research and education in these expanding areas of practice. The CAS should develop a marketing function so as to position the profession at the forefront of emerging practice areas. These marketing activities should be directed within the insurance industry (as has been the case thus far with DFA), in related activities (such as alternative risk financing), and outside of traditional actuarial areas.

7.7 Joint Activities

The CAS should become or remain involved in joint activities or co-operative efforts, including exams, with other organizations provided these activities are consistent with the Guiding Principles and Mission Statement of the CAS, the level of commitment of resources is reasonable given other CAS priorities, and the activities are approved in accordance with policies and procedures established by the CAS Board and Executive Council.

Increased globalization will continue with actuaries more often finding themselves working with multinational companies issues. To support these actuaries the CAS will need working relationships with other organizations, particularly those where there is overlap with the CAS. Diplomacy will be the key because some of the organizations may be competing with the CAS.

7.8 Regional Affiliates and Special Interest Sections

The affiliate concept has evolved from a few local club-type organizations to include Regional Affiliates in four countries and two special interest sections. The vitality demonstrated by these organizations is a reflection of the common needs and interests shared through local proximity and specialized practice. This growth momentum is being accelerated by the internationalizing business community and new venues being explored through non-traditional practice.

7.8.1 Regional Affiliates - The need to congregate locally with one’s peers is a function of numbers and is proportional to the need for regional affiliates. Greater numbers make it more difficult to know everyone and geographical dispersion makes travel an issue. Fewer and fewer actuaries will be able to use spring and fall meetings in the same fashion as did their predecessors. Some of the collegiality that once included all CAS members is now more localized. Country specific issues may be better dealt with by an affiliate than by the CAS. The balance between what is done at the affiliate level, at national meetings, and at continuing education seminars should be developed.

7.8.2 Special Interest Sections - There is a growing need to contribute information on special interests to the actuarial profession through specialized meetings, seminars and research projects. When a particular area of practice becomes large enough, it serves the profession well to form a special interest section. This is particularly important where the actuarial profession is competing with other professionals to provide a specialized service.

7.8.3 Other Organizations - A key CAS success factor is the ability to work effectively with actuaries in other disciplines and professionals in other fields. There are some actuarial clubs which embrace all disciplines in their programs and activities. There are financial reporting issues actuaries share with accountants. There are catastrophe management interests actuaries share with meteorologists and seismologists. Active, collegial participation by CAS members in other organizations is essential for the CAS to track the pulse of what is going on just beyond the bounds of our practice and position ourselves to perform effectively when customers need more than a purely actuarial work product.