Meet the Candidates - Steve Belden

FCAS - November 1983
ACAS - May 1982


Candidate Information

Biographical Information


BS Math, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Current Employment:

Chief Actuary; North Star Mutual Insurance Company

CAS Activities and Publications:

Finance Committee - 2017 to Present – Current Volunteer Chairperson
Chair - Subgroup Looking at Total Exam Cost including Contributed Services
Risk Management Committee (RMC) - 2017 to Present
Co-Chair - Risk Identification and Assessment Subcommittee
Member - Insurance Subcommittee
Leadership Development Committee 2020 to Present
Member - Future Leaders Working Group
Exam Committee – 2011 – 2021 and early in my career.

Other Professional Designations:


Additional Biographical Information

Employment History - Prior Employers:

Meadowbrook Insurance Group – Chief Actuary
Zurich North America Construction Division – Chief Actuary
Orion Capital Companies – Actuary
The St Paul – Actuary
Aetna Life and Casualty - Actuary

Membership and Activities in Other Organizations:

American Academy of Actuaries - member
WCIRB California Actuarial Committee - 2011 To 2016
WCRIB Massachusetts Actuarial Committee - 2012 to 2016
NCCI Pool Reserving & Actuarial Committees – 2006 to 2011 & 2015 to 2016

Civic Activities:

The Town Plan and Zoning Committee in Bloomfield Connecticut was my only elected position.  I have had several volunteer, committee and chair positions through the years including:
Church choir member over many decades,
Actor in family friendly theater productions,
Maintenance chair for a neighborhood association,
Volunteer preparing soup kitchen meals,
Habitat for humanity volunteer
and many other roles.


I have traveled extensively throughout the US and in more than 25 other countries around the world.  It has given me a deep appreciation for the common needs and for the many differences in the laws, economies, regulatory structures and the ways that people interact and communicate. 

Why do you want to serve on the CAS Board of Directors?

Leading takes a unique skillset.  The Board’s role is to provide direction to get us through the issues that arise and to prepare us for the future. I have immersed myself in many of these issues through committee and leadership positions on key CAS committees.  I have participated in and led new initiatives to help make us more effective and better informed. I feel I am ready to be involved with the scope, breadth and importance of issues that are presented to the Board and believe that my background and experience will allow me to have a positive impact.

As the CAS gets larger it gets more difficult to hear about all of the issues that are facing our fellows, associates and students.  We need to constantly reinvent our ways of communicating. You need to be informed of the issues that we face and we need to know how to best get feedback from you.  If elected I will make this communication a priority.

The three pillars of our envisioned future all present challenges and opportunities.  Building skills for the future has always been a key part of our mission and it constantly presents us with new challenges.  Diversifying the pipeline was a goal when I joined the profession and also needs to be reinvigorated to make progress.  Expanding globally requires specific knowledge of the needs of the countries that we want to expand into and support from the membership for the changes needed to accomplish this. My knowledge gained from extensive international travel has given me insights to help this process. In addition the base of the envisioned future involves a shift from a volunteer lead organization to a staff lead model.  This may be a necessity for an organization of our size. Executing it smoothly without losing volunteer involvement is challenging.

I co-led an RMC effort surveying many well informed actuaries (and non-actuaries) on the issues facing the CAS.  This was soon after the envisioned future was announced.  There are complicated issues that many talented people are doing their best to tackle.  I gained a great appreciation for the amount of work that it takes to be well-informed before making such strategic decisions.  I am prepared to spend the time and effort necessary so I can help the Board make good decisions as these issues are considered. 

In closing, I want the CAS to do well and so I want to contribute in this way to foster its success – our success! I would like to give back to the CAS, an organization that has done much for me. I would like to bring my knowledge and experience to the conversations as we govern ourselves.

Candidate Issue(s) Identification and Discussion

We have an immediate issue presented by the shift to the post-COVID ways of interacting. During COVID we did not meet in person and many will not go back to meeting in person or not as often. Virtual technology is now proven and it enables more frequent direct communication without travel. The revenues will be less from our seminars and meetings.  The expenses will be less also.  This may have a positive or negative effect.  It will be tough to predict and maybe hard to manage. It will also have an impact on our ability to interact meaningfully with other actuaries.  We will need to enhance our ability to get information out and have discussions about the issues that come before the Board and to talk about initiatives that we may want to implement.

SOA is in our space granting General Insurance FSA’s.  This is direct competition. The Canadian Institute of Actuaries is planning to have their own exams.  The landscape is changing and we need to get ahead of future changes.  I have not been involved in CAS efforts to confront these issues yet.  I intend to get very busy working on these with others on the Board immediately if I’m elected.

The CAS shift from volunteer lead to staff lead presents its own issues and opportunities. I am directly working on this as volunteer chair of the Finance Council with Todd Rogers, the staff chair.  This change is important to our committee because volunteers come and go as their available time and interests change. The staff provides continuity where volunteers can’t.

Diversity is a real opportunity, not only in the standard ways that we think of it but also in the educational institutions from which we get our talented candidates and in the perspectives that are heard.  Input across different ages and experience levels, across lines of business and across international boundaries will enhance our effectiveness as an organization.

Our international aspirations present several important issues. First we need to be specific about the needs of individual countries.  We will not be effective unless we address their needs and present our most effective education and credentials. This effort needs to be fully supported by the majority of CAS members.  Otherwise we are prone to questioning ourselves when the going gets tough.  We need to prioritize which countries we intend to serve. For some we may need to modify more parts of our curriculum specifically for them.  If so we will need to further differentiate it from the US FCAS track if we are going to be successful long-term.

As we start the transition to a “new normal” following the many COVID-induced changes in the way we work and interact Communication is critical!  The Board needs to be continuously checking in with all of our actuaries and employers.  We need to ascertain that initiatives we are undertaking are appropriate, understood and fully supported.