Connecting With the Strategic Plan

Mike Lombardi

Photograph: Hyon Smith

Have you ever wondered how or why the Society of Actuaries (SOA) makes decisions about curriculum changes or industry disruptors like InsurTech? The answer is our Strategic Plan. The SOA Board of Directors approved the current plan (2017–2021), and it is our organization’s guide to help make decisions. As members, you also can use it to provide insight into future projects and investments the SOA makes.

We don’t expect members to memorize the Strategic Plan areas, but we encourage everyone to be familiar with it. View details on the mission, vision and current initiatives the SOA Board is working on right now.

Now, the question is: How do we bring it to life?

If you are planning to volunteer to speak at a local school career fair or math classroom, contact candidateconnect@soa.org for presentations and handouts to help guide your communication.

The answer is through you as an actuary. The Strategic Plan states, “SOA’s credentials are prestigious, relevant and globally recognized.” One way members can demonstrate this is to help spread the word about the actuarial profession. Volunteer to speak at a local school career fair or math classroom. The SOA has presentations and handouts to assist you with these activities. Learn more about the updated ASA, FSA and CERA curriculum pathways and share with employers and colleagues.

With the changes in the SOA curriculum for associates and fellows, there is an added emphasis on predictive analytics for future actuaries. But what about for members?

The Strategic Plan says, “The SOA keeps actuaries at the forefront of evolving methods for solving complex business problems.” Predictive analytics is an important example of such evolving methods. In addition to continuing professional development sessions and webcasts, the SOA offers the 2018 Predictive Analytics Symposium and the Predictive Analytics Certificate Program, offered twice this year. Members may also consider participating in the SOA-sponsored Kaggle Involvement Program, which is a competition to showcase the predictive analytics work of actuaries. More details on the Kaggle program will be available later this year.

The SOA Strategic Plan looks to “continuously identify, analyze and prioritize responses to environmental changes in a timely manner.” Members can assist the SOA with this, too. See a trend forming that could impact the SOA or the profession? Let the SOA know by completing the Environmental Scanning Observation form, which will go straight to our Issues Advisory Council (IAC).  Taking a few moments to send your observations can help the SOA identify new challenges and opportunities.

Do you have individuals who provide support for your actuarial team? If so, consider sharing information about the certified actuarial analyst (CAA) qualification with your employer and colleagues. As part of our strategic plan “to deliver actuarial education that anticipates stakeholders’ changing expectations,” the SOA formed a joint venture, CAA Global, with the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) to offer the CAA qualification. The SOA also formed a subsidiary, SOA Center for Certified Actuarial Analysts, to support CAA affiliates. Now actuarial support staff can obtain a qualification with the confidence of a rigorous exam process approved by the SOA.

As part of the strategy to “construct research programs on key industry and societal issues,” the SOA created and completed a new initiative to pursue research on five key Strategic Research Programs: Aging and Retirement, Actuarial Innovation and Technology, Mortality and Longevity, Health Care Cost Trends, and Catastrophe and Climate. For more details on the Strategic Research Program Initiative, read “Strategic Research Programs.” The SOA Strategic Research Programs are an important part of our organization and an opportunity for you to participate either as a  member of a research planning committee, spreading the word about research proposal requests and, easiest of all, sharing articles and news coverage about SOA research findings and their impact on societal issues. We post those articles in your member email newsletter, SOA News Weekly, so they are easy to read and share.

In closing, I have shared with you the ways you can participate in the SOA’s strategy. Please consider sharing your thoughts on the plan and emerging issues with the SOA and with others. Share how you think the SOA is doing to bring its mission and vision to life for you as an actuary. I welcome your thoughts and perspectives, and I hope to work with you to realize a future of relevance and recognition throughout the world.

Mike Lombardi, FSA, CERA, FCIA, MAAA, is president of the Society of Actuaries. Find him on LinkedIn.