Enhancing the Member Experience

Recently developed strategic initiatives aim to increase member participation James M. Glickman

Photograph: Hyon Smith

I am always looking for ways for the Society of Actuaries (SOA) to improve the member experience. I believe it is crucial to support our next generation of actuarial leaders, and at the same time, empower our members to expand their current skill sets for the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.

The SOA Board of Directors recently completed a task force review of our millennial generation FSAs, which you may have already heard, as a segment, now encompass more than 45 percent of our total membership. Although we have good engagement with this portion of our membership, it could be much better. However, to achieve this increase in participation, we recognize the need to build modern, digital, cutting-edge tools that will specifically appeal to our newer FSAs. That is why it is an SOA priority, through several recently developed strategic initiatives, to increase participation in professional development, develop a futuristic digital strategy and increase our international offerings.

Over the past few years, we have incorporated webcasts, e-Learning courses, podcasts, predictive analytics certificate programs and virtual sessions into our professional development offerings. However, this is just a start.

Last year, the SOA Board approved recommendations for new international education principles. These recommendations focused on both international content for the basic education ASA curriculum and use of local languages for delivering continuing professional development for credentialed members.

The SOA Board has formed two related task forces to examine further improvements. One is examining a redesign of the professional development materials our organization provides. This effort has just begun and will be continuing through 2020. Its goal will be to analyze not only what we do that works, but also, through market research, determine better ways to engage and offer professional development to our members. In addition, we are examining what the SOA can do to enhance our local actuarial clubs and make their professional development content and other offerings more relevant to their members.

We plan to gain further insights on the latest and greatest professional development delivery methods, including new formats and content we can utilize. Within the coming year, I expect the Board will have reviewed and begun development on a game plan for the future, expanding how and what we offer to members. It should include easy-to-navigate digital delivery, encompassing the latest information, presented in more frequent but shorter bursts of content.

You may have the chance to see some of the first changes to our professional development if you will be attending the 2019 SOA Annual Meeting & Exhibit in Toronto. It will have revised formats for both the Monday morning general session and the Tuesday presidential luncheon. We will feature a more interactive-style discussion format for Monday morning, while the Tuesday luncheon will feature a notable expert in predictive analytics. Also, Monday will feature a virtual session, so those not on-site can participate in additional learning opportunities. All of these efforts help to emphasize our shift to more interactive events.

Through another initiative, we are in the process of implementing new member and candidate online services, both web-based and delivery through mobile technology. We have developed a long-range road map for our new digital platform that will better serve the actuarial profession domestically and around the globe. The SOA’s browser-based R programming platform, designed to serve our actuarial candidates, is being reviewed to explore how to expand its usefulness to a wider range of actuaries and actuarial applications.

The SOA has, for several decades, continued to seek ways to help support the global profession. As our membership grows internationally, we continue to build our educational offerings and support for members and candidates outside of North America.

You are probably already familiar with the annual symposia we host in China and greater Asia, including this summer’s activities in Bangkok. While offering these events, we also take the opportunity to meet with local regulators, educators and employers to hear their feedback and insights firsthand. As a part of our international strategy, we are now exploring how we can support the actuarial profession in India.

I encourage you to continue to learn more about these developments to further enhance your member experience.

Finally, please remember, we need both your feedback and ideas to help us determine how we can best meet your needs and challenges for the future. Thank you.

2017–2021 Strategic Plan

James M. Glickman, FSA, MAAA, CLU, is president of the Society of Actuaries.

Copyright © 2019 by the Society of Actuaries, Chicago, Illinois.