CAS Releases Updated Strategic Approach to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
The CAS Board of Directors has adopted an updated Strategic Approach to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I), a revised version of the strategy adopted in October 2020 that reflects member feedback received through an exposure and comment period.
“The Board greatly appreciates the feedback from the more than 450 members who reviewed our exposure draft and submitted comments,” said CAS Board Chair Jessica Leong, who also chairs the CAS DE&I Committee. “The Committee reviewed and considered each individual comment, and we believe the final strategy is responsive to both support and concerns that were expressed by our membership.”
The updated strategy resulting from the member exposure process follows:
CAS Strategic Approach to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Adopted by CAS Board of Directors, February 14, 2022
The Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) is committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive actuarial community in which all members are encouraged to contribute to the advancement of the profession.
The CAS promotes involvement and advancement in the property/casualty (P&C) actuarial profession regardless of characteristics of a person’s identity. Our merit-based credentialling process, in which exam grading is blind to a candidate’s personal information, is an essential component of our structure, and one we will always uphold.
Despite this, data shows that certain groups are significantly underrepresented among actuaries when compared to other STEM fields and the insurance industry. Our 2018 research revealed gaps in awareness and access to support resources that contribute to this issue. Data also shows that certain groups are underrepresented in leadership within the CAS.
To promote equality of opportunity along the entire actuarial career path and to foster a sense of belonging and community among members of all identities, the CAS pledges to:
- Listen to those who best understand the challenges impacting their own communities in developing solutions to increase representation and inclusion, especially through strategic partnerships with other organizations*.
- Narrow the gaps in awareness of the actuarial profession and access to influencers and role models.
- Set goals for improved awareness of the profession in the United States as measured by the distribution of students early in the pipeline. The goals will be informed by insurance industry and STEM degree benchmarks, and we will maintain transparency and accountability around progress and challenges.
- Increase the financial accessibility of our credentialling program.
- Encourage equal opportunities for members to develop and advance to leadership within CAS volunteer roles.
- Offer optional continuing education for general business skills related to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
- Advance the body of knowledge of the P&C actuarial profession through research and education on issues of unintended bias in insurance, in collaboration with stakeholders in the insurance and financial services industries.
- Work closely with international partners in support of diversity and inclusion efforts outside of the United States.
*Including, but not limited to, Abacus Actuaries, International Association of Black Actuaries (IABA), Network of Actuarial Women and Allies (NAWA), Organization of Latino Actuaries (OLA), Sexuality and Gender Alliance of Actuaries (SAGAA) and South Asian Network of Actuaries (SANA).
What Changed from the October 2020 Strategy and October 2021 Exposure Draft
Members were asked to respond to two questions regarding the 2021 Exposure Draft, which was the Board’s initial draft update of the October 2020 Strategy:
- What do you like about the revised DE&I strategy?
- What would you change about the revised DE&I strategy?
In total, there were 457 responses from members. As announced when the Exposure Draft was released, all comments submitted by members are available for download.
To preserve continuity with the previous strategy, the updated version follows the same structure and action-based focus, while adding clarity, including:
- Strengthening the statement on maintaining the blind nature of CAS exam grading to address concerns related to equity.
- Removing the terms “historically marginalized groups” and “center and amplify” in acknowledgment that interpretations of these terms vary widely across our members.
- Incorporating a brief version of the existing CAS non-discrimination statement in the strategy.
- Clearly acknowledging the partnerships we have built and continue to build with IABA, OLA, SAGAA, NAWA, SANA and Abacus.
- Supporting and clarifying our commitment to equity by providing the data and research that supports the need for CAS DE&I efforts and spelling out the barriers to entry that CAS will address (awareness, access to influencers and role models, financial accessibility).
- Identifying career advancement and entry into the profession as separate strategic efforts.
- Emphasizing that education on DE&I is always optional and supports member’s continuing education requirements.
- Focusing the strategy on “examining systems for unintended bias” within our race and insurance research and clearly link this to the CAS mission to advance the body of knowledge of the P&C actuarial profession.
- Emphasizing the reliance on relevant benchmarks and reframing new member goals to awareness goals as measured by the distribution of students early in the pipeline, instead of goals for percentages of members.
- Updated awareness goals will be published soon, along with an FAQ to answer members’ questions about the goals and the changes from previously published goals.
“The feedback from CAS members was valuable to understanding the questions, concerns and perspectives of our members and where clarity of language was most needed,” said CAS President Kathy Antonello. “We engaged our members in the process and responded to their feedback, and the new strategy maintains our strong commitment to fostering a diverse and inclusive actuarial community. “
“With the Board’s adoption of the revised strategy, we’re going full steam ahead on the execution of that strategy, led by our DE&I Committee of the Board,” added Victor Carter-Bey, CEO. “There are many tactics in progress that support the strategy, as well as new opportunities to pursue that will help us reach our goals. I’m proud of the enthusiastic staff and volunteers who are partnering together to move our DE&I strategy forward.”
CAS members and stakeholders are encouraged to visit the CAS DE&I webpage to stay informed about activities or join the Diversity Impact Group at community.casact.org to get involved. Questions or comments may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.