Setting a Bold Course for the Future of The CAS
By Pat Teufel
When I assumed responsibility as president-elect, and then president, I anticipated that my terms would be quiet ones. Events of the past few weeks and months demonstrate that these will be anything but quiet years for the CAS. I am prepared to meet the challenges, with your help.
Some have characterized me as a “shark”; I consider that a compliment. Let it be clear that my interests in the CAS are foremost, and I can be as aggressive as I need to be in protecting the interests of our Society against threats to its continued viability. While I would prefer to operate in a collaborative environment, I will protect the CAS with the same ferocity that a lioness protects her cubs. I have a vested interest in our continued success.
That being said, when I assumed responsibility as president-elect of the CAS, I considered inertia, or complacency, as our most significant threat. Our members, and our Society, had become too inward-focused, slow to adapt to change, slow to innovate. I saw my mission within CAS leadership to be an advocate for an energized view of the possibilities for the CAS. That energized view would be critical to realizing the CAS’s full potential as a professional Society.
Don’t get me wrong. As the only actuarial organization in the world exclusively devoted to property/casualty risks, the CAS is—and will continue to be—in a very strong position. Our market is dynamic and growing; opportunities abound. Further, skills learned in the general insurance arena can easily be applied more broadly, expanding both the breadth and the depth of opportunities available to casualty actuaries. No wonder we face increased competition, both from within the actuarial profession and from others!
I believe the CAS educational process offers the best and most comprehensive foundation for actuarial practice in the casualty field. It provides a solid grounding in relevant technical skills as well as hands-on experience in applying those skills to inform business decisions. Where appropriate, with the full cooperation of the respective national actuarial organizations, it offers nation-specific content that prepares actuaries for practice in their home jurisdictions.
Most importantly, the CAS offers our members a strong sense of community, wherever in the world they may be living and working. While our membership is quite varied, CAS members share a common bond and common interests. We are a highly motivated and engaged group of professionals.
At our core, we are professionals. We bring integrity to our work. We know that our profession will be judged by our weakest link, and we work actively to ensure that our members bring their absolute best to their principals and to the public. We have a vigorous counseling and discipline process. Through our Code of Professional Conduct, each of us has a responsibility to ensure the quality of the work that is delivered by all casualty actuaries.
Our principals know and respect the quality of our work. They value our technical insights, our business acumen, yet they challenge us to work harder. Employers recognize that, as our Society grows one size does not fit all. Some of us choose to pursue more technical routes, while others of us opt for more general business roles. In each of these roles, our employers encourage us to think big. On the technical front, they encourage us to continue to improve our techniques, incorporating innovations from other fields and professions, and be quicker to adapt emerging practices in other industries for our work. On the general business front, they encourage us to hone our team-building, communication, and resource management skills.
For our Society, they encourage the CAS to innovate within our education framework, maintaining relevance while achieving greater efficiency and effectiveness. They caution that, as their businesses become more global, the CAS must extend the borders of its reach. They ask why the CAS does not advance more relevant research on issues that are critical to their businesses or advocate more vociferously on public policy issues affecting the casualty insurance business.
In an increasingly competitive environment, we must challenge ourselves to ask the tough questions: How do we advance and differentiate the CAS brand? What are our core strengths? What do we expect for membership growth, and how will we achieve the desired growth? Will new models of operation be required in order for our Society to achieve the market response times? How can we embrace innovation and creativity and embed these traits in our culture? What role should the CAS play with universities, employers, and regulators in advancing the role of the actuary, while maintaining the cultural tenets that make us what we are? How should we deploy our resources, financial and human, for optimal effectiveness?
These are trying times for our Society. Where threat is imminent, such times can serve as a burning platform from which meaningful change can occur within the Society. Whatever form the changes take, they can be a source of tremendous opportunity and adventure. I’m confident that we together are up to the challenge.