Candidates Respond

Question 1: As the CAS grows and moves towards more responsibility being assumed by staff rather than volunteers, how concerned are you that CAS leadership will become more out of touch with membership, leading to more decisions like rescinding the Statements of Principles? What, if anything, would you do differently than your predecessors on this front?

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Roosevelt Mosley

As the CAS shifts to more responsibility being assumed by staff, I am not concerned about the CAS leadership becoming more out of touch with membership; however, effective communication between leadership and the membership is imperative. The Board of Directors will still make decisions related to the strategic direction of the CAS. Consequently, the CAS staff, working with CAS volunteers and senior advisors, will implement the decisions. Therefore, as long as the CAS leadership engages in frequent and bilateral discourse with membership on important issues, this should lessen the chance that the CAS leadership will be out of touch with the membership. Ultimately, it is important that communication between the CAS leadership and the membership is frequent and bi-lateral. As long as this is occurring, I am not concerned about the CAS staff taking on more responsibility.

Justin Brenden

I support this endeavor, though I believe that efforts for expansion need to be balanced with ensuring that we are continuing to provide the best and most current education possible related to core actuarial competencies (both current and emerging).

I do not believe in a “build it and they will come” strategy, rather I think it is best that we focus on identifying and expanding areas in areas where some of our members have already gotten a foothold.

Examples of how to invest in this goal are to highlight members working in alternative areas, share that knowledge via continuing education, and foster communities of interest in those areas.

Daniel Fernandez

I am very concerned about CAS leadership becoming more out of touch with membership. Not that more responsibility moving from volunteers to staff is necessarily a bad thing, but despite the best of intentions, staff roles of this nature can lead to a disconnect from membership. Managing from the top to provide effective leadership means building an impelling, inclusive, and engaging organizational culture. To ensure that this type of culture is representative of the CAS, I would do the following:

  • Create an environment that encourages membership engagement where our community is happy to speak up and voice their opinions
    • This can come in the form of responding to surveys, pulse checks, open forums, engaging with membership at meetings, etc
  • Ensure appreciation is given when it’s due and take essential steps to make members feel valued
    • The most valuable asset of the CAS is our membership.
  • Accept feedback from our membership and be prepared to implement changes as a result
    • This is imperative – the voices of the 18-member Board of Directors do not outweigh the more than 9,000 members in our Society

Kathy Olcese

I support the direction the CAS is moving in balancing responsibility between volunteer and staff positions. At the same time, this shift may mean the Board needs to have additional ways to connect with the CAS membership. The Board needs to ensure that, when appropriate, two-way communication is occurring between the membership and the CAS leadership. This communication may need to happen both earlier in the decision-making process (to help inform the Board decision) and once the decision is made (to ensure CAS membership is informed of the decision).

Specifically with reference to the decision to rescind the Statement of Principles, having the benefit of hindsight, I would create the opportunity for member comment prior to making the decision, similar to what the Board did in March in reaction to comments from membership. Additionally, I would increase the time for members to comment. Lastly, in regard to communication back to membership once the decision was made, especially given the impact this particular decision had on the actuarial community, I would work toward having a more timely and visible communication, with more explanation for the reason behind the change.

I do think this specific incident can serve as a good learning experience to improve both the decision- making process and communication in the future.

Alejandro Ortega

The Statement of Principles were no longer needed as the Actuarial Standards of Practice fill that role now.

I’d like to see the CAS leadership do more events where they meet our members, and have an opportunity for discussion on things the organization can do better.

I already do this at actuarial conferences, or whenever I’m visiting a city, I make efforts to organize networking events with other actuaries – I will continue to do so as a CAS board member.  One of the advantages of being on sabbatical is that I have the time to listen to our membership.

Tetteh Otuteye

It is critical that CAS leaders remain responsive to and representative of the interests and priorities of our membership. Representative leadership is premised on our leaders acting on our behalf, and it is imperative that CAS leadership actively solicit input from members on key issues affecting the profession to ensure this critical aspect of representative leadership is preserved. While it remains the sworn duty of elected representatives to lead the profession, and indeed each Board member and candidate will undoubtedly have their own views regarding the direction of the CAS, its priorities, and which initiatives ought to be pursued to advance the profession or other particular agenda items, as a collective, it is imperative that we seek the input of membership, particularly on matters of such import to large swathes of our members, our livelihoods and the respect and integrity of the profession.

Though perfect alignment can at times prove illusive, I believe there is great value in transparency and honesty, and thus, if elected, my commitment will always remain to serve the profession and I will do so in accord with my publicly stated objectives, which are in line with the CAS strategic vision, and I will always champion the importance of seeking alignment and input from members on matters of central importance to the practice of P&C Actuarial Science. The trust of our members and other stakeholders (including regulators and insurers) is critical if the CAS is to fulfill its duties to serve all our constituents' professional needs.

Yvonne Palm

Regarding the rescinding of the Statements of Principles, I believe the key omission in the CAS process was the lack of (sufficient) consultation before moving forward. In this particular case, I would have taken a page out of the IFoA's book: consultations are required before any key standards are changed or removed.

I can see what the Board was trying to do with simplification and consolidation. I agree that this may not have been an item to take to a formal general vote of the membership. We can’t take every important issue to a membership vote, but need to rely on the Board to make some key decisions. The execution, however, should have included a consultation and careful thought on the responses.

Consultations are important so that you can fill in the knowledge gaps and consider more diverse views before making decisions. Appropriate consultation would have brought to the forefront the reasons why the Statements are needed, and alternatives may have been sought and considered as necessary. Even if at the end of the consultation the Statements were still rescinded, the consultation would have reduced the backlash that resulted from it and perhaps even opened up a seat at the table to work with others, such as the American Academy of Actuaries, for a solution.

Regarding the CAS strategy to give staff more responsibility, I think this is actually a great thing! The global reach that some other actuarial organizations have because their staff handle administrative and strategic tasks is something the CAS can learn from. Volunteers can then spend more time listening in and providing expertise instead of getting muddled in the administrative details. For example, the IFoA staff personally call members in strategic locations to get their feedback and to find out what the organization can do better to support them. Staff with strategic duties and mandates are better able to carry out this task effectively compared to volunteers.

In addition, per the CAS strategy, international representation on every committee will be essential for the CAS to seize the tremendous opportunities it has to expand globally. As a member of the CAS International Member Services Committee, I can attest that this will only be possible if CAS staff take on more of the other responsibilities and free up the few international volunteers to help where they are most needed.

Jason Russ

I actually think that, if done right, in the long run having staff members assume more responsibility could help prevent decisions like rescinding the Statements of Principles. When you have new volunteers rotating into positions every few years, it is possible a well-intentioned volunteer looking to make a big impact might make a decision that in retrospect could be considered hasty, a decision that might not be consistent with the experiences of their predecessors. But, to use this case as an example, if the CAS had a long-tenured permanent staff member who had among their job responsibilities the maintaining of complete knowledge of past discussions regarding the Principles, so that they intimately knew of all past attempts to rewrite, combine, or eliminate principles, they understood how the Principles were used by regulators, they were familiar with the details of the differences between the Principles and ASOPs, etc., such a person could have prevented the actions that took place here.

So I believe there are definite positives that can come from having an expanded CAS staff, especially once that staff becomes experienced and knowledgeable about the CAS and all of its nuances. As the staff is integrated and responsibilities are shifted, my primary focus would be on stressing a clear, appropriate delineation of tasks and ensuring the considerations of all stakeholders are property weighed.

On the delineation of tasks, the key is to ensure that decisions are made by those with the appropriate expertise. For example, CAS staff members (other than staff actuaries) should not make decisions that are actuarial in nature, while volunteers should largely defer to CAS staff members for operational matters. Using the Syllabus and Examinations Committee as an example, historically volunteers would be responsible for recruiting volunteers, training writers, writing questions, selecting a group of questions to form an exam, compiling statistics regarding various aspects of the exam (length, difficulty, etc.), formatting each question on the exam, reviewing the exam instructions, proofreading the final exam, arranging in-person meetings to review the exam, compiling contact information for all graders, training graders, ensuring all graders have materials needed, grading all responses, gathering all files from graders, entering grader decisions into software, running software to produce various summaries, organizing meetings to make passmark decisions, producing lists of passing candidates, documenting decisions, reviewing candidate feedback from surveys, and starting the process all over again. I am sure I missed a few steps in there, but the point is, that is a lot of work that was done by volunteers (i.e., people who already have full-time jobs), and a lot of that work does not require actuarial expertise. While there are some items on that list that should absolutely be maintained by the subject matter expert volunteers (such as writing and grading the questions) there are many items where CAS staff have already begun to play a role and where their role can be expanded, relieving the burden from the volunteers (such as formatting exams, summarizing statistics, performing initial reviews of candidate surveys, handling all logistics for meetings, and downloading needed information from software).

As for weighing the considerations of stakeholders, this is vital. There are multiple layers to this, as depending on the topic the stakeholders could include volunteers, members, employers, regulators, and others. Using the Exam Committee as an example again, if CAS staff were to make a decision that changes the timing as to when exams are administered and graded, that is an operational decision and therefore could be under their purview, but it could have drastic impacts on other stakeholders, and thus those stakeholders must be consulted prior to any such decision. What if this decision makes it impossible for volunteers to commit to their responsibilities or causes conflicts with busy seasons for candidates and their employers? Before making such operational decisions, the CAS staff must consult with a sample of stakeholders to understand the potential impact, giving them the opportunity to both inform the CAS staff prior to any decision being made and review decisions made prior to them being finalized. The same goes for actuarial decisions, such as the recission of the Principles. Before making such a decision, leadership must ensure the views of affected parties are considered. Gather a representative sample of diverse views – e.g., those of ratemaking professionals and reserving professionals, those of company actuaries and consultants, those of large companies and small, etc.

This might mean ensuring the group making such decisions already has such a diverse composition, or it might mean exposing the potential decision to a sample of the membership (such as the Member Advisory Panel), or it might mean exposing the “draft” decision to the entire membership for a comment period. Transparency and communication between decisionmakers and stakeholders are important to ensuring success.

Kathleen Ores Walsh

In general, I am supportive of more responsibility being assumed by CAS staff. The benefits of being able to staff to the skillsets needed and empower and incent towards accomplishing our mission will help the CAS move more quickly and adapt. That being said, it will be imperative for the CAS to create transparency and buy-in from the membership and find the most effective ways to leverage impassioned volunteerism. The board should work to ensure that the CAS is held accountable to create this.

Question 2: Some candidates have supported the idea of expanding actuarial career opportunities outside of traditional (re)insurance, such as ERM and in house Risk Management. Do you support this endeavor? If so, how can the CAS invest in this goal?

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Roosevelt Mosley

Actuarial skills do not just apply in traditional insurance and reinsurance spaces, but are applicable broadly to the analysis of risk and uncertainty. Investments have already been made in expanding opportunities in ERM and risk management, including the support of the CERA credential. So, yes, I support the idea of expanding opportunities for actuaries outside of traditional insurance, as I believe actuaries can make valuable contributions to many different entities.

There are different ways that the CAS can invest in this goal. The appropriate approach will depend on the opportunity. These investments include, but are not limited to:

  1. Continue highlighting actuaries that are currently working outside of traditional (re)insurance spaces
  2. Communicating in appropriate venues how the skillset of actuaries is applicable
  3. Identifying areas outside of (re)insurance where the analysis of risk and uncertainty is needed

Justin Brenden

I support this endeavor, though I believe that efforts for expansion need to be balanced with ensuring that we are continuing to provide the best and most current education possible related to core actuarial competencies (both current and emerging).

I do not believe in a “build it and they will come” strategy, rather I think it is best that we focus on identifying and expanding areas in areas where some of our members have already gotten a foothold.

Examples of how to invest in this goal are to highlight members working in alternative areas, share that knowledge via continuing education, and foster communities of interest in those areas.

Daniel Fernandez

I do support this endeavor. I think the practice areas mentioned are a natural fit for members of the CAS to be leaders in, and they have been for quite some time. With respect to ERM and in-house Risk Management, the CAS has invested in the CERA credential, which would be a great fit for those who wish to learn more about and gain the knowledge necessary to excel in this practice area. The CSPA credential has expanded opportunities for actuaries in predictive analytics and data science roles. The CSCR and CCRMP credentials have expanded opportunities for actuaries in catastrophe risk management and portfolio management/steering roles. These credentials can provide CAS members with a more well-rounded background. They also have the potential to attract those who are not CAS members to pursue these credentials, but whose primary work is in these practice areas.

The CAS can invest in this goal by:

  • Adjusting the current education requirements
    • Should only be considered for topics that would be relevant for the majority of actuaries
  • Creating a separate credential through The CAS Institute o Ideal option for entire practice areas that actuaries may work in, but may not be relevant for the majority of actuaries
    • Opportunity to attract those who are not members of the CAS, but work in the relevant practice area
  • Creating one-off courses – similar to Limited Attendance Seminars, but with more structure around them and offered consistently
    • If the content is limited enough where a separate credential would not make sense, this would be a great alternative to provide an educational course
    • Could be offered through the University of CAS (UCAS)

Kathy Olcese

I support the expansion of actuarial career opportunities beyond the traditional roles, including into ERM, in-house Risk Management, as well as into other roles (for example Product Management and broad Senior Leadership roles). I see the expansion of these opportunities coming directly as a result of achieving the Envisioned Future stated in the Strategic Plan: a future in which CAS members are sought after globally for their insights and ability to apply analytics to solve insurance and risk management problems.

The CAS should continue to invest in this goal by executing on the pillar of Building Skills for the Future. This investment should include continued broadening of programming offerings, such as business skills, data visualization and how to gain influence. Developing an experiential program like the CAS Summer Student program could also support this goal.

The CAS should also continue to invest in iCAS and the programs that lead to specialized credentialling. I think the additional credentials can expand the career opportunities for actuaries.

Alejandro Ortega

Yes! Our skills in risk management and analysis have tremendous value in other industries, specifically in organizations where there is significant financial risk or where insurance is a significant cost. I’d even argue that my analytical and presentation skills were a key to running a non-profit (OLA). The difficult part is convincing firms outside our industry of this value.

We should be raising awareness by presenting at conferences and events like banking or risk management, or by seeking out success stories where firms have hired actuaries into these roles, and making them public.

Tetteh Otuteye

The CAS envisioned future reads:

"CAS members are sought after globally for their insights and ability to apply analytics to solve insurance and risk management problems."

In addition to supporting the actuarial practices necessary to manage risk transfer through (re)insurance and other risk financing solutions, I believe the actuarial training, methodologies, credentials and broad skill sets are unrivaled at enabling the measurement and financial valuation of risks and the development of creative risk solutions, (including outside of traditional P&C (re)insurance). Given the proliferation of new risks in many new industries, actuaries have a critical role to play in managing, evaluating and modeling these risks in order to help risk bearers of all kinds understand their resulting financial exposures.

It is imperative that the CAS aid in expanding the range of industries whose risks actuaries are not only uniquely qualified to evaluate but are frequently sought out to measure, resolve and/or mitigate. This ought to be done by:

  1. More effectively "selling" the profession, advocacy and the intentional promotion of the credential to various additional industries where the analysis of risk is critical to success,
  2. Ensuring that the actuarial syllabus and related credentials appropriately prepare actuaries for these new challenges,
  3. The development of industry partners who recognize the value of actuaries in helping them solve complex problems, and
  4. An determined commitment to the development of talented, well-rounded actuaries who leverage their actuarial and analytical skills to meaningfully impact their company's top and bottom line, in all industries where effective evaluation of risk is critical to business success.

While some may have misgivings, by increasing the domain spaces in industry and society where actuaries are able to contribute meaningfully to the evaluation of risk, the CAS should be able to expand the demand for actuaries, creating more opportunities and offering more actuaries a competitive advantage in the labor market as a direct result of obtaining our credentials.

Yvonne Palm

The CAS would be doing itself a disservice if it did not ensure its actuaries were able to adapt their skills and work outside of traditional (re)insurance roles. Risk Management is already part of the CAS basic education, and I believe this should continue. As a person who has recently transitioned from a traditional actuarial role to an ERM role, I am currently leaning on my ability to adapt the skills I had already developed through a CAS education.

Expanding globally is one of the pillars in the latest CAS Strategy. In many less-developed countries, actuaries are expected to be multifaceted practitioners, and often have to apply themselves to roles and situations that are far from “traditional”. While it is impossible for us to teach the specific knowledge for every domain in which our members will find themselves, the CAS can support them by providing a firm actuarial foundation and helping to develop the skills that will prepare our members to adapt adequately when new and different situations arise. I liken this aspect of working in a developing market to the journey of actuaries in developed markets who have already, and continue to, branch into nontraditional roles. The number of these actuaries is increasing, and the CAS needs to be able to support these members as well.

The key items for the CAS are therefore to continue to maintain a high standard for its basic education, and to invest in training its experienced actuaries to be lifelong learners. I believe the CAS can move towards the latter by doing more to encourage experienced actuaries to take continuing education credits in relevant topics that are outside their current field of expertise. The CAS certainly can offer some diverse topics at meetings and seminars, but members should expect to tap other sources of knowledge also.

Jason Russ

The CAS states as its Envision Future: CAS members are sought after globally for their insights and ability to apply analytics to solve insurance and risk management problems.

That Envisioned Future explicitly goes beyond “insurance” by referring to “insurance and risk management problems” and I fully support this. To some extent this expansion has already begun, with CAS members working in non-insurance organizations such as Uber, Lyft, Hertz, Google, Capital One, Expedia, Tesla, and Lowe’s.

As for how the CAS can invest in this goal, I believe it has already identified some of the general steps for this process in the 2021-2023 Strategic Plan, which outlines three pillars – Building Skills for the Future, Diversifying the Pipeline, and Expanding Globally.

The pillar that is perhaps most obviously connected to this issue is Building Skills for the Future. The skills needed by actuaries evolve over time, and the CAS needs to evolve accordingly. For example, today’s actuaries need to know more about predictive analytics and dealing with large data sets than actuaries did in the past. The CAS has taken steps to address this, but needs to continue to do more. By including certain predictive analytics content as part of the Basic Education process for all members and offering the specialized CSPA certification for those with more advanced knowledge, the CAS can address the needs of actuaries in different roles. Over time, material that might currently be considered “specialized” might become more commonplace, with other areas of knowledge introduced as new specialties. The CAS can benefit its members by improving the integration between the various credentialing processes and the education programs available, helping to ensure these opportunities are better known and understood and making the entire system more dynamic and changes more timely.

The other two pillars are also relevant here. Diversifying the Pipeline can help increase the diversity of thoughts and ideas of our membership, which can lead to increased opportunities. Expanding Globally will allow our members to connect with employers, regulators, and other professionals in new markets, bringing new challenges that our actuaries can face.

In addition, CAS leadership can help by continuing to network with non-insurance companies, promoting the CAS brand and the skills of our members. In the market research the CAS commissioned to better understand the evolving needs of employers, we did not restrict the research to insurance companies, but included companies such as Amazon, Facebook, and Nielsen. Let’s continue to have conversations with such companies, invite them to our meetings, speak at their meetings, etc., letting them learn more about our capabilities while we learn more about their needs, and use that as feedback to help further mold our education and credentialing process and uncover additional opportunities for our members.

Kathleen Ores Walsh

Yes, I do support this endeavor, although not at the cost of diminishing our credentials in the insurance industry. The basis for our training gives not only analytical acumen and domain knowledge but also a framework in which to assess, manage, and mitigate risk. These principles can be applied easily outside of (re)insurance, in many adjacent and even non-adjacent industries. Marketing of our profession outside of our traditional space can help us create more awareness of our profession and learn and grow in new ways. I would invest in it by approaching this initiative using the concept of “test & learn”, having the CAS determine assumptions and success measures and use those to guide investment.

Question 3: Do you believe the supplementary credentials of CERA, CSPA, CSCR, CCRMP, have been a net positive investment by the CAS? Should we continue investing in these programs and any future type programs?

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Roosevelt Mosley

While I do not have access to all relevant information that would help determine whether these credentials have been a net positive investment, there have definitely been positive outcomes from these credentials. One positive result is that there has been a focus on developing an applied body of knowledge in areas related to actuarial science and risk analysis. Practice areas such as enterprise risk management and predictive analytics are part of the basic and continuing actuarial education, but cannot be fully covered in the actuarial exams. These credentials have allowed for more thorough coverage of these topics.

In addition, these credentials have expanded the reach of the actuarial profession to those professionals who are not interested in becoming actuaries, but are interested in these specialized areas.

Another positive is that these credentials have professional standards requirements which enhance the value of the credential, and increase the confidence in the work product of those holding the credential.

Obviously, these credentials required a significant investment of time and resources to develop and maintain. The positive results will need to be weighed against the resources required to determine if these credentials have been a net positive. This would be one of the areas that I would review to determine if there are enhancements that should be made to the credentials to increase the value and the reach of the credentials.

Justin Brenden

It should not be controversial to say that the CAS has had mixed success when it comes to supplementary credentials.

On one hand, we have the CERA, which in my view provided worthwhile supplemental education, but unfortunately never gained traction amongst employers or candidates, and therefore has relatively limited practical value.

On the other hand, we have the CSPA, which I believe provides robust education in an important new area, and has had relatively better success in building critical mass in the market (though there is still a way to go).

While the success of supplementary credentials has been mixed, I do not think that means that we should give up on current and future efforts.

Like a business, the CAS needs to be continually investing in innovation in order to meet the needs of a changing market, and not all of those efforts will be successful. If we stop trying to innovate then we risk obsolescence.

Daniel Fernandez

I do believe these supplementary credentials have either been a net positive investment by the CAS or will be in the future. Each of these credentials have filled important voids in our industry in terms of the standardization of education in these specific niches of risk management and predictive analytics. The credentials have expanded actuarial career opportunities outside of the traditional practice areas of CAS members. They have also attracted those who are not members of the CAS, but whose primary work is in these practice areas. In my opinion, this is the real potential area for growth – offering these credentials to non-actuaries, but there is also the potential to convert these individuals to the actuarial track (albeit low likelihood perhaps). I believe work must be done on the marketing side to attempt to increase the penetration rate of those pursuing these credentials, but I can easily envision these credentials being the standard for practitioners in these respective fields.

I believe we should continue investing in these programs as long as it makes sense to, and any potential future programs where the return on investment would be deemed worth it. Each opportunity should be evaluated independently, and without bias. Items that should be considered should include, but should not be limited to: relevance to the insurance and risk management field, investment/cost, potential market, number of exams, format of exams, administration of exams, minimum education requirements, expected travel time, etc.

Kathy Olcese

I believe the supplementary credentials have been a positive investment by the CAS. CAS members and non-members have expressed the value they have found in the expanded knowledge gained through the process. These areas of study – risk management, catastrophe risk and predictive analytics – supplement the traditional curriculum for actuaries, allowing actuaries to gain new skills that can be brought to bear on emerging challenges, like cyber and pandemic risk. I think completing this curriculum also enables actuaries to better explain these concepts to non-actuaries, such as management and regulators.

Recognizing the value these credentials have brought to the CAS members, I do think it is incumbent on the CAS to continue to evaluate these programs as it considers future investment. The CAS should continue to explore opportunities to create new programs to enable actuaries to obtain additional skills or enhance existing skills and to earn a credential that is recognized both within and outside the profession.

Alejandro Ortega

Yes, they allow the CAS and its members to show expertise in risk management, predictive analytics, and catastrophe modeling.

Our skillset translates to other industries, where we don’t need insurance specific knowledge. This broadening of the CAS offerings allows our members to more readily work in other industries.

Also, by having these certificates available to non-actuaries, it increases the influence of the CAS in other industries.

Tetteh Otuteye

Certainly for CAS members to be sought after globally for our insights and ability to apply analytics to solve insurance and risk management problems, it is critical that actuaries become adept at applying a broad range of methodologies and technical skills to a wide range of unique risks.

The CAS should continue to sponsor these supplementary credentials, providing more actuaries with options to expand their domain space expertise and develop additional skills likely to be useful as actuaries take on new and emerging risks.

Additionally, CAS micro credentials may also be explored, providing actuaries with greater exposure to some of the data science skills and technical or coding skills necessary for the rapid manipulation and statistical analysis of large volumes of data (e.g. Python, R, etc).

Yvonne Palm

What the CAS has done right with respect to these credentials is:

  1. being first to offer the credential in a given discipline, and
  2. partnering with already-established organizations to offer a credential that will be regarded highly within the discipline.

In addition, such offerings may appeal to future generations who might want the flexibility to pick a specialization without going through the time, rigor and significant commitment of getting an F/ACAS.

Having said this, I believe the CAS needs to be careful of offering too many different credentials. This could lead to dilution of value if target markets are too small, and/or produce credentials that are not widely known and respected.

It is healthy to innovate and experiment with new and additional offerings, however, to be effective at this we must also be willing to terminate initiatives that are not proving successful. To figure out whether or not the current credentials warrant continuing, we need to look at the numbers and weigh the costs versus the benefits. Is the take-up among relevant professionals high enough or showing an increasing trajectory? Do we have the resources to continue to provide them without straining or taking away from our core offerings or other more promising initiatives? Are they covering their own costs? Are they seen as industry gold standards? Do they have a significant place in the future of the industry?

The CERA designation is now seen as a gold standard risk management credential globally. I would say that based on international reputation, this is a partnered offering that has become a success. However, to know whether it is actually a success for the CAS versus the IFoA, for example, we need to look deeper at the numbers and ask ourselves why one organization could be more successful than the other in offering it. Some of the other designations, however, are so new that I favor giving them a few more years on offer to gather enough momentum and generate enough data for us to appropriately evaluate them.

Jason Russ

I generally believe supplementary credentials can play an important role in the future of the CAS. Our ACAS and FCAS credentials are granted to those who have fulfilled the Basic Education requirements, and the Basic Education is intended to cover the material that the majority of members need to fulfill their jobs. These are broad certifications, covering the basics of many aspects of actuarial work. As our work evolves with subsets of our membership taking on new responsibilities, supplementary credentials can benefit our members and their employers in several ways, from the identification of opportunities to education to the recognition of expertise. Consider, as an example, the area of predictive analytics. At first, the subset of membership involved in such work was small, and as a result no material was originally included in our Basic Education. As it became clear that predictive analytics would grow in importance to our membership, it was important to include some material as part of Basic Education, to expose all of our future members to certain concepts. But a subset of our membership benefits from advanced education and certification in the area, and can do so through the Certified Specialist in Predictive Analytics (CSPA) credential. Over time, it may be that we expect all of our members to have a greater understanding of predictive analytics, which could mean we add more such material to our Basic Education, lessening the need for the CSPA. As that occurs, some new areas may emerge, introducing the opportunity for new supplementary credentials.

My general belief in the benefits of supplementary credentials, however, does not necessarily answer the question asked as to whether the specific credentials noted have been a net positive investment. Answering that question would require information I don’t possess concerning the actual costs of the investment and any alternatives, the thoughts of the specific individuals who have pursued these credentials, and the thoughts of the specific individuals who have relied upon those who have pursued these credentials. In some cases it could be the best path is for the CAS to play a significant role in providing a supplementary credential, in other cases it could be better for the CAS to partner with another organization or to point its members to other sources for such credentials.

Regardless of the actual structure, I think there is much we can improve with respect to communication and transparency of information concerning available credentials and education as a whole. The CAS can benefit its members by providing a comprehensive guide on its website so that all of the information is in one place. What are all of the relevant credentials our members might wish to pursue? What overlap is there between the material needed for CSPA and the material on our FCAS syllabus? What source material covers the material that separates CSCR and CCRMP? What options are there to achieve the CERA designation? What CAS meetings have sessions that would help one learn some of these topics? I think one can find the answers to all of these questions by taking the initiative and doing some research across multiple websites, but it would benefit us to have it all more accessible. There are members who might be interested in pursuing some of these credentials but do not even know they exist.

Kathleen Ores Walsh

In general, no, I do not believe that the supplementary credentials have a net positive investment. I believe that the CAS had good intent when this began, but lost perspective on the goals/objectives of them over time. The effort of marketing these credentials, developing and administering exams, would be better focused on achieving this CAS’s strategic vision. Achieving the vision would have a similar outcome to the initial intent of these credentials, but in a more sustainable and broader way. Finally, this is one example where having accountabilities shifting to staff resources would create less risk in loss of focus as volunteers role on/off various committees.

Question 4: What actions do you think the CAS could take to enhance the diversity of the actuarial profession?

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Roosevelt Mosley

Research sponsored by the CAS, the SOA and the International Association of Black Actuaries (IABA) identified five barriers to greater diversity in the actuarial profession:

  1. Awareness of the field
  2. Consideration of actuarial science as a viable profession
  3. Preference over other STEM professions
  4. Intent to take and pass exams
  5. Employment and retention

There are a number of actions currently being taken by the CAS to begin addressing these barriers. The CAS should continue to move these actions forward. These include:

  • Participation in high school career days which expose minority high school students proficient in math to the profession
  • Focusing on increased diversity as part of leadership development
  • Supporting exam assistance programs which provide financial assistance for exam fees and exam preparation material
  • Supporting organizations focused on diversity, including IABA, Organization of Latino Actuaries (OLA), Network of Actuarial Women and Allies (NAWA) and Sexuality and Gender Alliance of Actuaries (SAGAA)
  • Establishing a board-level committee focused on diversity, equity and inclusion

There are additional actions which could be considered to enhance diversity of the profession. Examples of these actions include:

  • Increasing awareness of the actuarial profession prior to a student entering high school, focusing on educators in elementary and junior high school
  • Connecting mentors to diverse college students interested in actuarial science, actuarial students just entering the profession, and developing leaders
  • Facilitating spaces and opportunities where diverse actuaries can discuss unique challenges to succeeding in the actuarial profession

As President-Elect, I will work with the Board of Directors and other actuarial organizations to identify the steps the CAS should take to enhance diversity, equity and inclusion, and to ensure that these steps are having the intended impacts.

Justin Brenden

During my recent term as Vice President I was able to participate in and observe many Board and EC discussions on enhancing diversity of the CAS.

I was impressed with the amount of time and energy that CAS leadership dedicates to this important topic.

While we have had some early success in some areas (such as raising awareness and increasing the diversity of leadership) there is still more to be done.

Here are some further actions that we can take to enhance the diversity of the profession, all of which are currently underway:

  • Improve outreach programs to students of varying ages to raise awareness of the actuarial profession as a career option and support them if they choose to pursue it
  • Support and provide resources to programs that foster diversity in the profession
  • Continue to provide continuing education content on diversity that makes the case for the importance and value diversity, raises awareness, and provides practical knowledge/advice

Daniel Fernandez

  • Support organizations like the International Association of Black Actuaries (IABA), the Organization of Latino Actuaries (OLA), the Sexuality and Gender Alliance of Actuaries (SAGAA), the Network of Actuarial Women and Allies (NAWA), and the South Asian Network of Actuaries (SANA).
    • These organizations are on the ground doing a lot of leg work directly with current and future actuaries in groups that are underrepresented in the actuarial profession. What we do not want to do is reinvent the wheel where these organizations have built a solid foundation in their work to improve the diversity in the profession.
  • Support the CAS/SOA Joint Committee on Inclusion, Equity, and Diversity. This committee works to:
    • Promote the actuarial profession among students in underrepresented groups and educators
    • Raise awareness about diversity and inclusion issues and share best practices with the CAS and SOA memberships.
    • Enable our members to influence diversity and create inclusive environments within their respective workplaces
    • Create and maintain a focus on diversity efforts towards increasing diversity within CAS and SOA leadership as well as management roles at their employers and sponsoring organizations
    • Work with nominating committees and committee leadership to develop a diverse pipeline of future leaders
  • Expand the pipeline of actuarial candidates from underrepresented groups
    • This is embedded in the above sections, but it is worth mentioning on its own
    • To reach the goals put forth by the CAS along with considering the length of the credentialing process, hiring rate, success rate, and other factors, we have to reach a steady-state pipeline of hundreds of students (and perhaps more) from certain underrepresented groups in a given year. This requires a campaign to reach a massive number of students in these underrepresented groups. A few examples of how this can be accomplished:
      • High school outreach on an individual basis
      • Create relationships with programs/organizations that already have relationships with hundreds/thousands of high school students
      • Purchase data from the College Board and market directly to those fulfilling certain criteria (e.g. Black/Latino with SAT Math score > 650)
      • Targeted digital marketing

Kathy Olcese

The CAS’s strategic approach to diversity outlines 6 areas of focus that can lead to enhanced diversity in the actuarial profession. In addition, the CAS Board established a standing committee to oversee CAS investments and opportunities in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) and created a Diversity Impact Group. These groups have already initiated many activities to increase the level of diversity within the profession. The CAS should continue to invest in and support these activities. One area I see potential in is increasing the outreach work of the CAS to high schools and middle schools. The CAS has already started some of this increased outreach, and the Actuarial Foundation has programs targeted at this age group. By strengthening the CAS presence in these programs aimed at younger populations, the CAS can build a more diverse pipeline.

Outreach from the CAS to other professions can also build diversity in the actuarial profession by attracting a diversity of thought and perspective.

Alejandro Ortega

The CAS is already doing some things, such as sponsoring IABA and OLA, and other organizations. One dimension I’d like to see supported more is people with disabilities. Something as simple as captioning all of our recorded webinars and conferences, and potentially doing so for live virtual events. We already record our conferences and make them available for purchase afterwards – adding captioning is a relatively simple addition.

The perspective the CAS should have is to make sure it is open to people from all walks of life. Some say that the exam system does this; the reality is that many individuals have disadvantages, such as learning about the profession late in college or not having the financial means to pay for exams and materials, not to mention some students need to work while going to school – which hampers their ability to earn a high GPA or have time to study for exams.

Tetteh Otuteye

With 70% of responding actuaries surveyed in 2018 agreeing or strongly agreeing that the CAS has a strong role to play in helping to build a more diverse profession, it is clear the CAS membership are eager to see such action aimed at eliminating the barriers to entry that help to keep the diversity of the profession below our desired levels.

For such action to have the desired consequences, it is critical that these efforts are guided by an informed understanding of the genuine hurdles and barriers to entry faced by historically underrepresented groups. These include:

  • A lack of awareness of the profession;
  • Financial need relative to the costs of exam registration and actuarial education;
  • And a scarcity of role models from underrepresented groups.

The CAS can and should continue to partner with various partner organizations (e.g. IABA, OLA, and others) focused on reaching underrepresented potential future actuaries, to educate promising students about the viability and fulfilling career actuarial science can offer them.

Through such partner and sponsoring organizations, the CAS can also help facilitate the award of need based exam registration waivers and scholarships to applicants, to further eliminate the financial barriers to entry.

We have a long way to go, however, with a concerted effort we can light a path for many potential actuaries from underrepresented groups to build meaningful careers as actuaries, which will have a direct and snowballing effect within these communities.

Yvonne Palm

First of all, it is important to note that improving diversity requires intentional actions and genuine support from the organization, as well as education, commitment, and openness from the majority groups to gather allies who will help drive change. Remember that the term “diversity” may include many aspects including gender, race, sexual orientation, physical ability, religion, age, geography, economic background, social background, line of expertise, thought processes, etc.

I am thrilled that the CAS has already taken many positive steps so far to improve diversity. It has taken the time to monitor its statistics on some aspects of diversity to see where and how it can change, and has made key strategic decisions to improve diversity, including employing a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) staff actuary. I also stand behind the CAS as it supports the DE&I actuarial networks that already exist (NAWA, IABA, OLA, SAGAA, SANA, etc.).

My suggestions on what the CAS should (continue to) do to improve diversity include:

  1. Ensure the current CAS leadership development program incorporates the targeting of actuaries from underrepresented groups who are then paired with an ally as a mentor. This would foster learning experiences for the ally as well as the mentee and help to increase representation at the leadership level from underrepresented groups in the long run.
  2. Amplify the voices of underrepresented groups by having advisory positions (or advisory groups) to the Board for different targeted groupings to give their views on certain issues. These advisory groups could also give their view by request to different CAS committees as issues arise.
  3. Have a mandate for each existing committee to incorporate DE&I as a regular part of the agenda where they can reflect on the important decisions they are making and how DE&I is factoring into them.
  4. Continue to broaden the scope of our professionalism training to include DE&I issues and the concept of appreciating differences instead of just tolerating them. Include a specific session on this in the mandatory professionalism course required for credentialing.
  5. Review our list of target universities and consider whether the list could be changed/expanded to encourage and/or give access to more students from underrepresented backgrounds to join the profession.
  6. Perhaps consider a younger target age than college inasmuch as this is feasible.
  7. Engage more internationally. There are many international markets that are largely untapped by the CAS; growth in these markets will result in significant diversification of the pipeline.

Finally, don’t be content with a token minority member on a leadership team with the expectation that they will always speak up, give the “diverse view", or lead the diversity charge. This can be highly ineffective and lead to burnout. Increasing representation and intentional consultation at higher, decision-making, levels and cultivating strong allies within the CAS will be key to making strides in this area.

Jason Russ

I am very proud to say that the CAS has taken significant steps in recent years to enhance the diversity of the profession, including but not limited to the following:

  • Creating the Joint Committee for Inclusion, Equity and Diversity with the SOA
  • Adopting a Strategic Approach to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I)
  • Establishing the CAS Diversity Impact Group online community
  • Hiring a DE&I staff actuary
  • Creating a standing committee of our Board of Directors to oversee CAS investments and opportunities in DE&I
  • Providing training to CAS leaders on diversity in leadership
  • Actively amplifying the voices of the International Association of Black Actuaries (IABA), the Organization of Latino Actuaries (OLA), the Sexuality and Gender Alliance of Actuaries (SAGAA), and the Network of Actuarial Women and Allies (NAWA)
  • Including a number of DE&I education sessions at CAS meetings, while encouraging the US Qualification Standards to acknowledge DE&I continuing education sessions as professionalism credits
  • Investing in external organization that can support our efforts to build a diverse pipeline of future CAS members, with Diversifying the Pipeline explicitly identified as one of the three pillars of the 2021-2023 Strategic Plan

I understand that while there is broad support across the CAS membership that the CAS should take steps to build a more diverse profession, there were some members who objected to certain language within the CAS statement adopting a Strategic Approach to DE&I, questioning whether there was any intent for this to result in different passing scores for different subgroups of candidates. To that, the simple answer is no – the efforts of the CAS to enhance diversity are not about changing the standards one needs to meet to become a member, but rather to address issues illustrated by the many barriers to entry identified by the 2017 research study undertaken on behalf of the CAS, the SOA, the Actuarial Foundation, and the IABA, such as the lack of awareness of the field and the lack of resources needed to take and pass exams. Steps as simple as visiting high schools to expose a more diverse student body to the actuarial profession as a career choice, mentoring candidates from underrepresented groups, and providing support to lessen the financial burden for candidates who need this aid can make a meaningful difference.

While I 100% support the steps the CAS has put in motion in this area, I am not a DE&I expert, and therefore I will not attempt to state here the specific steps the CAS should undertake next. As a Board Member, I would listen to the advice of the subject matter experts and ensure the views of all stakeholders are considered, as I think should be done with all topics.

Kathleen Ores Walsh

Enhancing the diversity of the actuarial profession is a good example of where the CAS can join forces and create economies of scale with the SOA to leverage a broader actuarial voice and resource pool. The CAS should continue to focus on partnering with academic institutions and career influencers, and industries to create initiatives that broaden the profession’s diverse talent pipeline.

Question 5: The CAS recently announced an approach to Race and Insurance pricing (

What role do you believe actuaries and the CAS should (or should not) play in addressing issues of racial bias in the insurance industry, and why?

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Roosevelt Mosley

The issue of racial bias in insurance is currently being addressed in a number of different forums. These forums include:

  • National Council of Insurance Legislators (NCOIL) Special Committee on Race in Insurance Underwriting
  • National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) Special Committee on Race and Insurance
  • Individual state regulators
  • Federal legislators

There have been a number of hearings held, bills introduced, and studies proposed, along with one specific regulator action and one bill passed related to insurance pricing or predictive models. One of the issues in many of these forums is that actuarial voices are not present or are not heard. When actuarial voices are not present in these discussions, the results may not be optimal or may not actually achieve the intended goal.

Given this, I believe the CAS and its members have a significant role to play in addressing issues of racial bias in pricing specifically and analytics more broadly. Ultimately, actuaries will be responsible for implementing changes based on the decisions that are made; therefore, the CAS has a role to play in providing input into defining the problem and proposing solutions.

Justin Brenden

There is currently a heightened focus on racial equity across all aspects of society, which is important and appropriate, for many reasons.

This focus on racial equity will undoubtedly affect insurance and pricing, and the actuarial profession is uniquely positioned to be a contributor to that discussion.

Even if you limit your focus strictly to the business perspective, insurers will need to do significant work to better understand and address any bias or unfair disparate impact in pricing, and will need actuaries’ assistance in doing so.

Daniel Fernandez

Actuaries and the CAS should play an important part in addressing issues of racial bias in the insurance industry. We should be committed to identifying and exploring issues pertaining to race, diversity, and inclusion and ways to address practices that could create inequity in our industry and in insurance pricing.

Our regulatory system, and insurance in general, reflects the society it aims to protect. While state insurance regulators have worked to eliminate overt discrimination and racism, we all have been increasingly aware that unconscious bias can be just as damaging to society. Rating plans are becoming more complex by the day, and in recent years, the availability of massive quantities of data and the rapid surge in computing power has led to exponential growth in the amount of data analytics that is used in setting insurance rates. This trend is particularly prominent in personal lines such as private passenger auto. There is concern for whether some data sets that are being used in predictive models might include unnoticed biases or serve as proxies for prohibited characteristics.

Given the important role actuaries and data scientists (many of them members of the CAS) have in the work that goes into setting insurance rates and analyzing the data underlying pricing models across the industry, we should be leading the way in addressing these issues.

Kathy Olcese

I support the approach the CAS is taking on Race and Insurance in pricing. CAS actuaries continually evolve our practices so that they are increasingly better at assessing and quantifying risk. This increasing level of accuracy serves both insurers and consumers. Additionally, maintaining the trust of the public to provide the ‘voice of truth’ (as best as it can be known) is critical for our profession.

The role for the CAS includes creating awareness among its membership of the concepts of disparate impact and of the potential impacts on insurance of racial bias in the industry. With a deeper understanding of the issues and impact, actuaries can more effectively lead in dialogue across diverse constituencies.

Alejandro Ortega

The CAS has a long tradition of requiring that our pricing is unbiased. Systemic biases likely in exist in pricing and underwriting. As experts, we have the tools to be able to ascertain if this is the case, therefore, yes, the CAS and its members should play a role in addressing these issues.

Tetteh Otuteye

For over 100 years, the CAS has been setting the standard of expertise, credibility and professional integrity for the P&C actuarial profession. Our integrity as a profession is compromised if we do not ensure that our work products are free of bias - including unintentional bias. Our credibility as actuaries is further tainted if we are unable or unwilling to take up the challenge of applying our technical expertise to aid insurers and regulators in identifying and eliminating racial (and other) inequitable biases that unfairly discriminate or otherwise improperly disadvantage particular individuals or groups based on characteristics such as race, gender, ethnicity etc.

As actuaries, we make decisions based on data and logic and can be reasonably expected to subject our analyses to additional scrutiny to examine whether these analyses may contribute to deepening issues of bias in the development of insurance rates. By educating our members about how racial biases have affected and been baked into some historical rates, and by conducting research and developing methods to aid actuaries in controlling for such hidden factors that can have disproportionate and unethical consequences, the CAS can help today's actuaries play a part in ensuring that our profession remains a bastion of credibility and integrity for the next 100 years also.

Yvonne Palm

The CAS, and actuaries in general, most certainly have a role to play in addressing racial bias in the insurance industry; not only racial bias, but any bias that is identified within the relevant processes. We cannot expect to remain the go-to experts for insurance pricing or other topics in the insurance and risk space if we do not take charge as influencers, apply our knowledge, and bring transparency to these issues.

As actuaries, we should be at the forefront and use our skills to address these issues in ways we know best: by analyzing the data, visualizing the statistics, using logic, incorporating the latest information, and applying our expert judgement, to unpack these issues. I also note that involving diverse teams when addressing such issues will be essential to bring credibility to the message we are trying to relay. Having diversity of thought within a team helps to evaluate the issues from various angles and develop solutions that have depth and are relevant to society at large.

Jason Russ

The CAS mission statement explicitly states our purpose includes “to contribute to the well being of society as a whole.” The CAS core beliefs and values include continual improvement, collaboration, and innovation. It is clear that innovating and collaborating to improve the way things are done to contribute to the well being of society as a whole is right there under the purview of the CAS.

Our Code of Professional Conduct explicitly states actuaries “shall act…with integrity…in a manner to fulfill the profession’s responsibility to the public and to uphold the reputation of the actuarial profession,” “shall not…commit any act that reflects adversely on the actuarial profession,” and “shall take reasonable steps to ensure that [their] services are not used to mislead other parties.” While it is clear that individual actuaries should conduct their own work in a non-discriminatory manner, that is not sufficient – if our well-intentioned actuarial work is used in a manner where the result is discriminatory, we as a professional society should take further steps to address this.

As for the role we can play, we should look to our own strengths and expertise to answer this. First and foremost, we are experts in developing and analyzing pricing methodologies. CAS members can and should be at the forefront of performing analyses in the area of disparate impact and researching methodologies and adjustments that can be used to improve the manner in which pricing is conducted where appropriate. Second, the CAS can use its expertise in education to ensure its membership and others have the information needed to understand the relevant concepts such as disparate impact and discrimination in rates. Third, as a strong, well-respected, global leader representing the gold-standard for property & casualty actuarial work, the CAS should represent our industry by providing unbiased assistance to governmental bodies, regulators, industry groups, and other professionals on this topic.

One significant, specific item is to ensure we collaborate with the NAIC where appropriate. The NAIC’s Special Committee on Race and Insurance is actively researching this topic in a number of workstreams; the CAS should be in frequent contact with the NAIC so that we can assist, prepare, or lead where needed.

As for what the CAS should not do, the CAS should be careful to avoid making statements that can be misconstrued or viewed as overly political. There are a number of terms that are often misunderstood or twisted in the media or by political organizations to mean something other than their original intent, with two relevant examples being equity and systemic bias. Communications made by the CAS should be vetted to minimize the possibility of any statements being misunderstood or misused. This may mean such statements need to be a bit longer than preferred, but if that adds clarity and prevents misinterpretation it is a worthwhile tradeoff.

Kathleen Ores Walsh

I am very much aligned with this letter. I firmly believe that actuaries should be leading from the front on behalf or our industry, profession, and ultimately our consumers. Given our analytical acumen, strategic thinking, and domain knowledge we a) understand the criticality of risk based pricing to the health of our industry and availability in the open market and b) should be responsible for defining how and subsequently evaluating our own methods to ensure that we have fair and equitable pricing without being “blind” to racial information. We should aim to have mutually beneficial outcomes for our industry and our customers and I believe that actuaries should be leading that charge because it aligns with our basic professional standards. It is our duty, and we shouldn’t shy away from it.

Going a step farther, I also believe that in doing this, we will uncover insights that can be leveraged beyond the insurance industry to inform educational, economic, and public health policies and should be willing to share what we learn to improve the greater good. It’s a very exciting time to be an actuary and we should be emboldened to move this forward!

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