The Global Reach of the Actuarial Profession

by Wes Griffiths, FCAS

Did you know that there are over 80,000 actuaries worldwide from over 115 different countries and that actuaries from many of the different countries come together as a part of the International Association of Actuaries (IAA)?

So, what in the world is the IAA?

The IAA is a worldwide association of professional actuarial associations (that’s a mouthful). Nearly all actuarial associations worldwide are members of the IAA with the largest associations (SOA, IFOA in the U.K., CAS, CIA in Canada and the DAV in Germany) representing almost two-thirds of all actuaries worldwide. To be a member of the IAA, an association must have a code of professional conduct, a formal discipline process, standards of practice requirements and meet the educational syllabus set forth by the IAA. I like to think of the IAA as the United Nations of actuarial associations – that place where we all come together for the good of the profession.

Why does the IAA exist?

The IAA exists to encourage the development of education and professionalism for the global actuarial profession. The organization connects industry decision makers and ensures that actuaries are recognized as leading experts in risk and financial security and continue to make a positive impact on society. IAA is the face of the global profession that aims to build public respect and confidence and advance the profession’s competency.

On a more micro level, the IAA aims to ensure that every actuary has access to a local association and that every actuary practices under professional standards.

How does the IAA work towards their goals?

Much like how the CAS operates, the IAA has a committee structure to tackle its strategic priorities leveraging volunteer representatives from the various country associations. There exist specific committees focused on key areas such as international standards of actuarial practice, encouraging and promoting standards in actuarial education, representing the actuarial viewpoint in discussions of proposed international financial reporting standards (IAC) and international regulatory standards (IRC), insurance regulation aimed at promoting the role of actuaries and encouraging and promoting the development, maintenance and enhancement of professional actuarial practice.

Because actuaries are located across all parts of the globe, finding a convenient time for a standing conference call is a challenge. While they do meet periodically by phone and now by Zoom, the IAA does hold periodic in-person meetings where leadership and committees meet in a central location to further the work and for fellowship. In 2022 meetings were held in Brussels in the spring and Montréal in the fall with Australia on tap for spring 2023.

Why is the CAS a member of the IAA?

As the only actuarial organization exclusively focused on P&C exposures, we have an opportunity and an important professional obligation to influence and evolve the profession by promoting education, research and P&C practices worldwide. Our active involvement in the IAA provides direct and convenient access to international standard and policy-setting organizations and positions us to support the development of the actuarial profession broadly where it is currently nonexistent or emerging. The IAA creates a vibrant ecosystem for sharing information and ideas and has helped the CAS to explore, create and maintain significant partnerships with different organizations all around the globe in an effective and efficient manner. CAS would struggle to maintain its visibility, stature, relationships and progress outside of North America without the IAA.

What is the IAA focused on lately?

The IAA continues to have proactive involvement with key supranational audiences providing actuarial input to improve the soundness of decisions being made on important issues with a global impact. In recent years, several of the IAA’s partners include the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS), International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) and Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Topics of mutual interest ranged from the impact of COVID-19 on the industry and our products, climate risk/sustainability, microinsurance and the ever-popular IFRS 17.

Engaging the next generation of actuaries is also currently a focus of the IAA. In 2022 the IAA sponsored a new global competition titled “The Young Actuaries World Cup” that was aimed at engaging young actuaries on topical issues, providing an opportunity for young actuaries to showcase their skills and ensuring that younger generations see themselves represented within the IAA and its member associations. Actuaries entering the competition made videos describing their interpretation of the theme of the 2023 International Congress of Actuaries (ICA) Meeting dubbed “Bridge to Tomorrow.” The top four submissions will win a trip to Sydney, Australia, in May 2023 to attend ICA 2023 and compete for the final prize. To follow along with the competition and to check out the submissions, go to

To learn more, visit the IAA website at