The Actuarial Peace Pipeby C.K. "Stan" Khury
In the May edition of AR, the coincidental combination of an editorial, an article by the President, a letter to the editor, and a "public" letter to the CAS Board combined to create a picture that stirred something of a firestorm. Subsequent events followed quickly:
- The SOA Board perceived this combination of material as an articulation of a hostile CAS policy and its president, David Holland, wrote a letter to every member of the SOA. (That letter was reproduced in its entirety in the August issue of AR).
- A record number of letters were written to ARreactions and opinions ranged across the entire spectrum of views on the issues.
- The CAS Web Site recorded a record number of hits.
- The CAS Board held a special telephone conference to consider events.
- The CAS Board sent a letter to the SOA Board, which made three key points: (1) The views in AR do not necessarily reflect the views of the CAS; (2) The CAS reaffirms its independence; and (3) The CAS Board desires to continue to cooperate with the SOA whenever it makes sense. ( Click here for the full text of the letter).
- The president and president-elect of the CAS met with the SOA Board, and engaged the SOA Board in a constructive exchange of views on the underlying issues.
- David Holland attended the September meeting of the CAS Board and delivered a letter. Notable key points are: the SOA board affirms that "...it has the utmost respect for the CAS and its members," "understands that the CAS is 'an independent organization of professionals with a distinct identity' and has no plans to challenge the organizational sovereignty of the CAS," and "heartily concurs with the...CAS Board's wishes to continue to foster a cooperative relationship...." ( Click here for the full text of the letter).
- Holland reassured the CAS Board that the SOA does not intend to branch out into the casualty field.
Reflecting on these developments, it is difficult to miss the genuine goodwill that seems to have emerged out of all the commotion and conflict. It is clear that a peace pipe has been lit and is being passed around. With such good vibrations permeating the air, it is good to remember that lighting a peace pipe is merely an indication of intentions. In the months and years ahead, each of us can play an active role to ensure that the conciliatory gestures actually take life. This is a challenge to both the CAS and the SOA. Genuine cooperation can serve as a potent basis for many great accomplishments of the profession.
In the meantime, letters continue to arrive on the subject. A couple of years ago, these pages questioned whether actuaries are inherently apathetic. After the experience of the past six months, we can safely say that the answer is an unambiguous "NO."