Letter from CAS President and CAS CEO on CAS Approach to Race and Insurance Pricing
Dear CAS Community,
The events of the past year have reignited calls for scrutiny on systems of racial bias and their impacts, including across various insurance industry processes and practices. The topics of disparate impact and fair and unfair discrimination are now being broadly discussed among regulators, consumer advocates, and insurers. This has encouraged CAS members and leaders to further consider what role actuaries can and should play in addressing these important issues.
Actuaries have a mandate to act as good corporate citizens. While the CAS strategic approach to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, adopted last year, lays out plans for developing diverse, inclusive and equitable cultures within the profession, this is not the only place we should focus. Actuaries also have a responsibility to scrutinize the processes, systems and models we build to understand if the inputs and outcomes truly reflect fair and equitable practices.
In addition, actuaries have the unique combination of skills and subject-matter expertise to be invaluable in this industry discourse. CAS actuaries should be on the forefront of evaluating and evolving our own methodologies to produce positive outcomes for both insurers and consumers.
This past fall, we convened a short-term working group of CAS staff and volunteers to define how the CAS can support actuaries in fulfilling these responsibilities. The working group reviewed past and current work in this area, considered risks and opportunities, and aligned its recommendations with the CAS strategic plan, core values and governance principles.
On December 4, 2020, the CAS Board of Directors approved a recommended CAS Approach to Race and Insurance Pricing, with four key areas of focus and goals:
- Basic and Continuing Education – to provide members and candidates with a strong foundation in the historical issues of systemic racism and their potential impacts on insurance, covering concepts of disparate impact and discrimination, past and current research, and professionalism implications.
- Research – to develop methodologies that identify, measure, and address disparate impact, to evaluate emerging technologies and to prepare actuaries and insurers for potential regulatory actions, in alignment with the CAS Core Values of continual improvement and innovation.
- Leadership and Influence – to play a leading role in the discourse on potential racial bias in insurance pricing, among our membership as well as across the insurance industry and with the public.
- Collaboration – to proactively engage and partner with regulators, insurers, actuarial bodies, consumer groups and other organizations addressing issues related to race and insurance and to ensure that diverse perspectives contribute to CAS-commissioned efforts.
Undertaking this work is important to maintaining public trust in the profession and to continually evolving our practices and growing the knowledge base of our members. Analytical models are being heavily scrutinized for racial bias across many industries, and actuaries must be prepared to understand and address such issues, ideally before they arise. We cannot afford to wait for regulators or other organizations to examine matters of potential discrimination and disparate impact without the valuable input and expertise of CAS actuaries.
While this approach is focused specifically on personal lines of insurance and race/ethnicity as a protected class in the United States, we expect that the framework and outcomes of this approach can and should be applied in the future to other protected classes, other insurance lines of business, and other jurisdictions in which CAS actuaries practice. Maintaining the focus on race/ethnicity in the U.S. at this current moment allows the activities undertaken to remain highly relevant and valuable to the efforts of the broader insurance industry and regulators.
The CAS Approach to Race and Insurance Pricing will be overseen by the CAS Board Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee, chaired by CAS Immediate Past President Steven D. Armstrong. This group will prioritize the recommended actions, develop timelines, assign the appropriate staff and volunteers to implement actions, and monitor progress.
We look forward to engaging a wide variety of perspectives in this effort. CAS members and other stakeholders are invited to provide any feedback on the CAS Approach to Race and Insurance Pricing by sending an email to CEO@casact.org.
|Jessica Leong, FCAS