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Planning Ahead— Our Big Audacious Goal

by Stephen P. D'Arcy, Chairman, Long Range Planning Committee

"The CAS will be globally recognized as the preeminent resource in educating casualty actuaries and conducting research in casualty actuarial science. CAS members will be recognized as the leading experts in the evaluation of hazard risk and the integration of hazard risk with strategic, financial, and operational risk."

So states the Big Audacious Goal (BAG) for 2014 adopted by the CAS Board of Directors in March 2003. This article will describe how we got to this point, explain what this means for the CAS and our members, detail the ongoing planning process, and encourage member participation in the development of objectives to achieve this BAG.

Several years ago the CAS Board indicated a desire to have a series of "stakes in the sand" that could be used as road markers to help set the direction for the CAS and measure progress towards our objectives. These markers were thought to be useful for establishing priorities within the organization, setting the budget, and determining whether we were progressing satisfactorily towards our objectives. The Long Range Planning Committee (LRPC) was charged with developing a process for setting a series of goals that could serve as these route markers. The 100th anniversary of the CAS in 2014 was selected as the target for achieving our goals.

The CAS engaged the assistance of Jean Frankel of Tecker Associates to help in the planning process. Drawing on her extensive experience in working with other organizations, we began a multistep process for setting our goals. The first step involved articulating the CAS's Core Ideology by developing a statement detailing our Core Purpose and a list of principles describing our Core Values. The second step was to select a BAG, consistent with the Core Purpose and Core Values, which would serve to inspire and motivate our members. This process began at the March 2002 CAS Leadership Conference, attended by CAS committee chairs, members of the Executive Council, and LRPC members. It continued with presentations by CAS officers and LRPC members at a series of regional meetings, and at the CAS meeting in November 2002, to obtain suggestions from as many CAS members as possible.

Drawing on the numerous recommendations proposed at these sessions, the LRPC organized the comments into key topics and drafted appropriate wording for each. After considering a variety of different statements for the CAS's Core Purpose, the LRPC and the board concluded that the current wording of the Statement of Purpose from the CAS Constitution provided the best description of the CAS's Core Purpose:

"The purposes of the Casualty Actuarial Society are to advance the body of knowledge of actuarial science applied to property, casualty, and similar risk exposures, 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."

Concurrently, we asked members to comment on Core Values of the CAS, the essential and enduring principles we would not be willing to sacrifice. We received a large number of recommendations, attesting to the importance of the CAS to our members. These recommendations were then distilled into the following:

Learning. The belief that the continuing effectiveness of a casualty actuary is built upon dedication to the idea of life-long learning.

Innovation. The belief that the continuing vitality of the CAS is best served when creative thinking and research are fostered, open discussion is encouraged, new ideas are openly entertained, and the diversity of opinion of its members is respected.

Community. The belief that members of the CAS are best served when the activities of the CAS are characterized by the open sharing and exchange of ideas and research.

Volunteerism. The belief that the Core Purpose of the CAS is best served when every member is directly involved in the affairs of the CAS and volunteers to serve other members.

Professionalism. The belief that the professionalism of casualty actuaries is best realized when the CAS as an organization, as well as its members individually, are committed to the idea of adhering to the highest professional and ethical standards of education, qualification, and practice.

The next step in the process was to select a BAG consistent with the themes enunciated in the Core Purpose and Core Values that would define what the CAS would like to become and motivate our members to promote its progress on this path. Two distinct themes emerged in comments received at the various sessions on the planning process. One was an international outlook, in which the CAS broadened its base from the U.S. and Canada to a global perspective. The other theme involved broadening our focus from hazard risk to all risks facing an organization. This broader risk analysis, termed enterprise risk management, includes financial, strategic, and operational risks, as well as our traditional specialty of hazard risk.

The LRPC developed three alternative BAGs for the board to consider at its September 2002 meeting. The first dealt with global recognition, stating that the CAS would be globally recognized as an essential resource for casualty actuarial science and the focus for casualty actuarial research. The LRPC felt this BAG was necessary to prepare casualty actuaries to operate in the globalization of insurance markets.

The second BAG focused on the actuary as a resource for a broader array of risk analyses. This BAG stated that casualty actuaries should be recognized as leading experts in hazard, financial, strategic, and operational risk. This BAG was proposed to address the expansion of quantitative risk analysis to these additional risks, the notable corporate failures resulting from improper management of these risks, and the growth of other organizations specializing in these other risk components.

The third BAG combined the first two, proposing that the CAS work to expand our horizons both geographically and topically. The consensus of the board was that we should develop the third alternative.

The LRPC then concentrated on crafting the wording of a comprehensive BAG. The BAG listed at the beginning of this article was adopted at the March 2003 board meeting. This goal states that the CAS should be globally recognized as the preeminent resource for hazard risk and for the integration of hazard risk with other forms of risk that organizations face. This BAG represents an ambitious goal, but an attainable one, we believe.

The next step in the planning process is to set the specific "stakes in the sand" that will provide a framework for the adopted BAG and guide CAS actions for the next decade. The LRPC is now developing a series of Significant, Attainable, and Measurable (SAM) goals that will detail the actions needed to achieve the BAG and provide standards to help track our progress. The LRPC is also working with the CAS Executive Council and CAS committees to implement the operational changes needed to reach these specific goals.

A few examples of the SAM goals currently proposed are listed below, to indicate the direction of our process. A complete listing of the LRPC reports can be accessed at www.casact.org/about/reports/lrpc/2003.htm.

These goals are all important aspects of the BAG. Each one is attainable, although many will require significant effort to achieve, and each is measurable so we can monitor progress toward the goal and ascertain, in 2014, whether the goal has been met.

In 2014, the CAS will be a different organization than it is today, regardless of any planning process. Try to recall what we were like in 1990, and compare it to today (e.g., fewer members, fewer topics addressed at meetings, no Web presence). Our current planning process is an attempt to determine what we want the CAS to be in the future. The LRPC has benefited greatly from member participation in the goal-setting process to date. Your continued participation and comments are most welcome.

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