From the President: Challenges and Rewards
Steven G. Lehmann
This will be my last column as your president. It's been a very interesting, challenging, and rewarding year. It has been interesting to learn the variety of day-to-day issues that need to be dealt with in an actuarial society that is getting larger and more complex each year. It has been challenging in terms of developing and carrying out strategic planning to react to major changes in the environment and create opportunities for future actuaries. The year has been rewarding in terms of seeing the results of some of that planning come to fruition.
The Task Force on Non-Traditional Areas of Practice is in the process of finalizing their report, which will help set the direction of a significant portion of CAS efforts for the next several years. We have interviewed over a dozen CEOs of major insurance companies, brokerage firms, and consulting firms and have gathered valuable insight and advice on how better to prepare actuaries for future challenges facing the insurance and financial services industries. We have also added a new vice president-international to lead us in serving our overseas members and help prepare us for a global economy with global opportunities for actuaries.
Other significant accomplishments for the year include a comprehensive review of the CAS research process, a task force review of the education and examination process and further enhancements to our outstanding CAS Web Site. You will be seeing the details of these task force reports in upcoming issues of The Actuarial Review.
But the most rewarding part of my year as president has been speaking to and meeting members of our ten CAS Regional Affiliates; representing the CAS at international meetings of actuarial leaders in London, Tokyo, Mexico, and Canada; and working with an outstanding leadership group, Board of Directors, and our wonderful executive director, Tim Tinsley. These are memories I will treasure always.
Let me turn from my year as president to the future. In our recent CEO interviews, one of the CEOs stated, "Actuaries are pursuing greater precision in areas of decreasing relevance."
This CEO has challenged us. If we are to succeed in an increasingly complex and changing environment, we must take a hard look at ourselves and our training.
Consider the following observations emerging from our CEO interviews and from the recent CAS Task Force on Education:
1) Travel time to complete the examinations is too long and has been getting longer.
2) Our education is too narrow, too technical, and too insurance-oriented.
3) We need to train actuaries to be broad-based solvers of business problems. Creativity in developing solutions to problems should be encouraged.
4) Actuaries must react quicker and create tools that identify problems sooner so that solutions can be implemented quickly.
I don't pretend to have all the answers to these potential problems and challenges. But, I do know that we can and will find the answers.
As I've traveled the "actuarial circuit" this year I've met actuaries from many different backgrounds and different locations. The one thing we have in common, our bond, is the perseverance to master the difficult road to Associateship and Fellowship in the CAS. I firmly believe that the men and women who have achieved this accomplishment will, in fact, find answers to these challenges that will result in a stronger actuarial society. We can broaden our education to enhance our ability to solve a variety of business problems. We can rely more on university training without giving up examinations that test advanced topics in insurance, finance, reserving, ratemaking, and risk management. We can create new tools, like DFA and securitization, to help with strategic planning and to react quicker to changing conditions. I am confident in our future.
A final observation from my year as president is that the CAS is unique in the actuarial world in its specialized education in property/casualty and related risk exposures. I believe that this specialization has an economic value that is becoming recognized in the marketplace. If we continue to update our education and research to react to changing business conditions, exploit new opportunities and provide value to our employers and clients, we have a bright future in the new millennium.