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Looking back over the past year

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By Micheline Dionne, FCIA
CIA President

I am regularly asked whether I’ve enjoyed my experience as President. The answer is a resounding yes: I’ve had a great time. Of course, I plan on taking holidays this summer to wind down from a very busy two years and get some rest. I can already tell you that I won’t be going any further than the cottage, and that I won’t be bringing anything heavy to read. But I also know that I will miss the intensity that has marked this period in my life.

Is the presidency demanding? That depends on the objectives you set going in and the plans you make. In fact, that’s where the problems begin: there’s so much to do that it’s hard to limit yourself. But at the same time, this is exactly what makes the presidential mandate so interesting and worthwhile.

Action Report

Here are the commitments I made at the time of my election, and where things stand now:

Play an active role in public policy matters. We maintained and even increased our presence in the public policy arena on retirement issues, and we raised our profile as a social partner. We launched discussions on public health, but we have a lot of work ahead of us to familiarize ourselves with the issues in this area so that we can offer judicious advice.

Continue to work hard on the international scene. The importance of international affairs has skyrocketed over the past two years, primarily in the insurance sector. We’ve put a lot of effort and energy into it, but we have to redouble those efforts in the years to come in order to expand our influence on the international scene and prepare to integrate international requirements in Canada as they relate to our valuation and capital standards. The message has been made clear, but we need to be vigilant and more proactive.

Increase our understanding of the risks. We have kept a close eye on research programs and established a new life insurance mortality table. We will also, I hope, have a first pension mortality table by the end of the year. A number of studies are underway concerning the risks of segregated funds, the results of which are due out later this year or in 2012. We entered into a partnership with the Actuarial Foundation of Canada (AFC) to carry out public interest research projects, and an initial research proposal is going ahead. We also received authorization to confer the title of Chartered Enterprise Risk Analyst (CERA). Unfortunately, much of the research should have been carried out in years past, rather than recently. When it comes to research, the CIA will need to be vigilant and stay the course if it wants to remain relevant. We need to constantly get beyond ‘impressions’ and replace them with facts; this, in a nutshell, is our main reason for being.

Modernize our training system. Much progress has been made in this area. We plan to kick off the university accreditation program in September 2012. The accreditation terms and conditions have been finalized with the help of the feedback you’ve sent to us. Eleven universities have expressed an interest and are preparing their applications as this is being published. Accreditation panels will visit each of these universities during the summer and examine their applications. The list of accredited universities should be finalized by November.

Thank you

I am not so much proud of as grateful for what we have accomplished over the past two years. I am grateful to each of you for giving of your time by sitting on the Board, by contributing to the efforts of the three councils, or by participating in the various committees, subcommittees and task forces. More than 500 of you are making your mark in this way, with many of you active in more than one group. Without you, the profession would simply cease to exist. There is so much left to be done, of course, but it’s nice to pause a moment at least once a year to express our appreciation for the work you have done.

I know I am speaking for all of us in extending my sincere thanks to the dedicated staff working for the Secretariat. Heading into this year, I was more worried about avoiding cases of burnout than about seeing individual staff members without enough work to do. Knowing that volunteers often work during their off hours (i.e., evenings and weekends) adds to the pressure staff feel in responding to your needs as soon as possible. Believe you me, all of them work very hard to support your efforts.

I cannot thank all of you enough!

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to write me at president@actuaires.ca.

Micheline Dionne, FCIA, is President of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries.

360 Albert Street, Suite 1740, Ottawa, ON K1R 7X7
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