CAS Board of Directors Approves Strategic Approach to Diversity
The CAS has committed to fostering diversity and inclusion within our community for many years; in fact, diversity is identified as one of the CAS’s seven core values in the 2017 CAS Strategic Plan. This summer, however, nationwide protests sparked by the death of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others, which continue to this day, prompted us to reach out to the CAS community and initiate discussion among CAS volunteers, staff, and leaders on what more we as an organization can do to address racial inequality. These discussions resulted in the CAS Board of Directors adoption of a strategic approach to racial equity, which we are pleased to share with the CAS community:
With a clearer understanding of the society in which we operate and its impacts on our own members and candidates, the CAS recognizes that equality will never be achieved until equity is our guiding principle and pledges to:
- Center and amplify the viewpoints of underrepresented candidates and members - those who have been doing this work for years and know best how to address the issues of their constituencies.
- Break down the Barriers to Entry identified in the 2017/2018 SOA/CAS/IABA/TAF Research Study.
- Scrutinize and rebuild CAS systems to combat direct and indirect systemic bias, and ensure our work does no harm.
- Recognize that we do not exist in a vacuum and we cannot succeed unless we invest in the community at large, with particular focus on organizations that support racial justice in education.
- Set concrete goals and maintain transparency and accountability around progress and failure.
- Employ learnings from the above process to address issues facing members and candidates in other historically marginalized groups within and outside of North America.
With the adoption of this approach, we are now in the process of creating a standing committee of our Board of Directors to oversee CAS investments and opportunities in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I). This committee will guide our volunteers and staff in the execution of our broad DE&I action plan, which consists of over 40 activities to be initiated over the next year, many of which are already in progress. For example,
- CAS leaders attended training on diversity in leadership and how to promote equity in our work products at the annual Leadership Summit.
- We are actively sharing the recommendations developed by our partners, the International Association of Black Actuaries, the Organization of Latino Actuaries, and the Sexuality and Gender Alliance of Actuaries, and amplifying their voices within our community.
- We are producing a set of detailed diversity metrics, soon-to-be shared with members, along with a set of long- and short-term targets against which to hold ourselves accountable.
- We have established a Diversity Impact Group (DIG), which will offer “micro-volunteering” opportunities for CAS members who want to get involved in supporting our DE&I efforts. See the recent CAS Roundtable blog post for more details and to join.
- We have ramped up DE&I education for our members, including at this year’s CAS Annual Meeting.
- We are leading a profession-wide grassroots campaign to encourage the U.S. Qualification Standards to acknowledge DE&I continuing education sessions as professionalism credits.
- We have formed a Bias in Insurance Working Group to consider the CAS’s role in industry-wide scrutiny on racial bias, discrimination, and disparate impact in insurance.
- We continue to collaborate on profession-wide DE&I initiatives through the Joint CAS/SOA Committee on Inclusion, Equity, and Diversity.
In addition to adopting the strategic approach to racial equity, the Board approved an additional $120,000 in new annual investments to external organizations that can support our efforts to build a diverse pipeline of future CAS members. This funding is in addition to contributions the CAS has historically made to the International Association of Black Actuaries.
We recognize that we have much more to learn and accomplish, and it is our expectation that this action plan will evolve over time as we build and strengthen relationships with new and existing partners. We are confident that the CAS can be a leader in the effort towards racial equity in our industry, and with continued energy and focus, we will make great strides towards diversity, equity, and inclusion in the actuarial profession. We thank you, our members, for your individual and collective support in this effort!