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CAS Quinquennial Membership Survey Results

CAS Quinquennial Membership Survey Results Show Members Seek Practical Focus


By Nancy Braithwaite, Chairperson, Quinquennial Membership Survey Task Force 

CAS research and education should renew its focus on practical applications, according to the results of the 2008 CAS Quinquennial Membership Survey. Garnering a 50 percent response rate (2,399 members), the survey covered all aspects of the CAS, and one theme consistently emerged: CAS members want the Society to provide more practical solutions that can be readily implemented.   


In the areas of research and publications, there appears to be a significant gap between the techniques published and the techniques used in practice. The survey results suggest that the CAS should spend more effort determining how to present published theoretical research in a clear, easy-to-understand, practical-to-implement manner that members can more readily employ in their work. For example, respondents suggested making more spreadsheets used in research papers available on the CAS Web Site.   


When asked about continuing education, members again suggested that the existing CAS educational focus is too theoretical and not sufficiently practical. In the suggestions for topics to be offered at future meetings and seminars, the most frequent response was for more practical applications of the newer theories and methods, and the most popular specific suggestions included ERM, predictive modeling, stochastic reserving, and generalized linear models.   


Despite the desire for a more practical focus, members’ overall satisfaction with the CAS climbed from 2003 levels, the last time the CAS conducted a survey of this magnitude. Almost 80% of the respondents were somewhat satisfied or very satisfied with the CAS. CAS staff once again garnered the highest satisfaction ratings, followed by communications/publications and meetings/professional education. Similar to the findings in 2003, there was a positive correlation in 2008 between the level of involvement in the CAS and satisfaction.         
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The CAS Board of Directors reviewed the Report of the Quinquennial Membership Survey Task Force in May and directed the executive council to consider the recommendations contained in the report. There are many recommendations beyond those related to increasing the focus on practical applications, most notably in the areas of communications with the members. The task force recommended that the CAS enhance its communications regarding the following:

  • international role and goals of the CAS
  • nomination and election process
  • release of issues of the E-Forum
  • sources and uses of CAS revenues
  • role of the CAS as it relates to professional standards
  • opportunities for involvement as well as the benefits of such involvement for retired actuaries

The Quinquennial Membership Survey Task Force offers several other recommendations in its report that touch on professionalism, Regional Affiliates, international activities, admissions, and other areas. The task force encourages members to read the full report on the CAS Web Site or in the CAS Summer 2009 E-Forum and extends its thanks to the CAS members who took the time to respond to the survey.

Editor’s note: In addition to Chairperson Nancy Braithwaite, members of the Quinquennial Membership Survey Task Force included David B. Bassi, Jacqueline Frank Friedland, Timothy L. Graham, Kenneth L. Leonard, Faith M. Pipitone, Manalur S. Sandilya, Alan R. Seeley, Joanne S. Spalla, David W. Warren, and staff liaisons Todd P. Rogers and J. Michael Boa.

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