Meet the Candidates: Jason Russ

Candidate Information

  • ACAS: Nov. 1995
    FCAS: Nov. 1996

    Education:

    NYU Stern School of Business

    • BS, Actuarial Science 1993
    • MBA, Finance and Economics 2000

    Current Employment:

    Principal & Consulting Actuary – Milliman, Inc.

    CAS Activities and Publications:

    • Syllabus and Examination Committee – 1998-current, various leadership positions including committee Chair 2018-2020
    • Committee on Valuation, Finance, and Investments – 2001-2014, committee Chair 2008-2010
    • Exam 6 International Task Force – 2019
    • Statements of Principles Task Force – 2011-2015 
    • Webinar Committee 2007-2011
    • Foundational Statements Task Force 2007-2011
    • Committee on Management Data and Information 2001-2008
    • The Runoff Environment – Considerations for the Reserving Actuary – CAS Forum 2002

    Other Actuarial Organizations:

    American Academy of Actuaries – member of Actuarial Standards Board Subcommittee on Reserving 2005-2010, involved in writing of ASOP 43 and update of ASOP 36

  • Employment History - Prior Employers:

    AIG: 1993-1996
    Milliman, Inc.: 1997-current

    Membership and Activities in Other Organizations:

    Association of Insurance & Reinsurance Run-Off Companies (AIRROC), Chairperson of the Actuarial Education Subcommittee 2009-2013

    Civic Activities:

    • President of Friends of RCP, a non-profit organization that supports local high school drama club
    • Pit Crew volunteer for local high school marching band
    • Coached little league baseball, basketball and roller hockey for eight years
    • Former board member of local chapter of United States Amateur Ballroom Dancers Association
    • Assistant Commissioner for local Strat-O-Matic baseball league

    Other Publications:

    Awards and Recognitions:

    CAS Above and Beyond Achievement Award – 2020

  • To put it simply, I believe in the CAS Envisioned Future, I believe in the CAS Strategic Plan, and I believe I can help.

    The first pillar of the CAS Strategic Plan is Building Skills for the Future. This pillar encompasses so much that is vital to the future of our organization. We must ensure our members have the skills and competencies to be those who are “sought after globally for their insights and ability to apply analytics to solve insurance and risk management problems.” There is much that falls under this umbrella, from basic education to continuing education, from technical skills to communication skills, from traditional actuarial techniques to modern data analytics and modeling, from performing research to making the results of such research accessible to the broad membership. But much of this is driven in some form by our credentialing system, as that serves to both highlight and measure the areas stressed as necessary qualifications.

    To achieve our goals, we may need to make significant changes to our credentialing system. This could mean changes to the material tested on our exams, changes to the manner in which we test, and changes to our education philosophy as a whole. Making these changes efficiently and effectively will require insight into the workings of the 700+ person Syllabus and Examination Committee – knowing how they operate, their strengths and weaknesses.

    I have been a member of that committee for 23 years, and have participated in all facets of its operations, from writing exam questions to grading, from running an exam to managing the syllabus. I recently completed my 3-year term as chair of the entire committee. My in-depth experience with this committee will be invaluable to the Board. 

    On another exam-related matter, I participated on the Exam 6 International Task Force, which set the vision and path for a new exam offering, one that not only assists in Building Skills for the Future, but also helps address Pillar 3: Expanding Globally.

    In addition to my depth of experience with the exam committee, I have breadth of experience. I have worked as both a company actuary and a consultant. I have run projects across reserving, pricing, and valuation dimensions. I have worked for clients both in the US and abroad. I am the opining actuary for one large company with $1 billion in reserves and one small company with just $2 million in reserves. My volunteer experience includes writing ASOPs and principles, chair of a research committee, and helping put on the CAS’s first ever webinars.

    In addition to my desire to help the CAS and my relevant experience, this is a good time for me personally to help. With my tenure as exam committee chair completed and my youngest child starting college in August, I have the free time necessary to devote to the Board.

  • I know that some people join the Board because they have a specific issue they are looking to fight for. That is not me. I do not have passion for one particular issue – my passion is for logic.

    I believe in setting goals for clearly-stated reasons, and establishing well-vetted plans to achieve those goals. I believe in transparency regarding such plans to get the buy-in from stakeholders. I believe in learning from past mistakes and improving on past performance. Those are the types of things I am passionate about.

    For better or worse, that devotion to logic affects all aspects of my life. When my kids are excited that they scored a 99 on a test, I ask them about the 1% they got wrong to avoid that mistake from reoccurring. When my team at Milliman is happy they completed a project for a client, I ask them how we can do it more efficiently next time. That is just my nature – rather than stop to celebrate successes, I focus on what I think is the logical path – what did we learn from this, and how can we do better next time.

    I’ve brought that logic to bear as a CAS volunteer. At the start of my 3-year term as Chair of the Syllabus & Exam committee, my first job was to help clean up the mess that arose from the CAS’s first attempt at giving exams electronically. We had to quickly put together and enact a plan to re-test a thousand candidates around the world, which we did successfully (with the help of a lot of you). (We also had backup plans in place, and backup plans for the backup plans, but thankfully none were needed!) Another challenge was to redesign and reintroduce computer-based testing to enable our candidates to take exams in the middle of a pandemic – we learned from the past and did that successfully. And over the course of my tenure as chair, I stressed the need to improve the clarity of questions asked on our Fellowship exams, and candidate survey responses bear out that transpired, with average ratings for clarity for those exams improving 40% from 2018 to 2019 and another 18% from 2019 to 2020 (and similar increases in ratings for the overall quality of these exams).

    I’d like to bring my same passion for logic to the Board.

    I will come to the Board with open eyes and an open mind, with no pre-conceived notions of what I want to change. Only that I want to do my part to improve things in a logical way, to help the CAS follow through with its Strategic Plan and achieve its Envisioned Future.

  • Candidates respond to member submitted questions

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