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Retiree Takes a Swing at a New Challenge

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Rob Hinrichs has enjoyed a number of achievements in the 33 years since he became a Fellow of the CIA. But now, in his retirement, he is working on a new goal: improving his golf game.

He can return to the course more often following the end of a career that was dominated by periods at KPMG—where he enjoyed 13 busy years—and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board of Ontario (WSIB), from which he retired in May after 10 years. He said he enjoyed a variety of actuarial challenges in both organizations, and is leaving the workplace with many happy memories.

Mr. Hinrichs, who lives in Burlington, ON, and also served at North American Life Assurance and CUMIS Life Insurance Company, said: "When I joined KPMG I developed a pension valuation system from scratch as I had a fair bit of computing knowledge and wanted to learn the pension business. Later, due to my insurance experience, KPMG asked me to join the team in the wind-up of Confederation Life. This was a challenging time for everyone involved, but in the end every policyholder received full value for his or her policy or benefits. As the work was rewarding, another highlight was setting up the life insurance actuarial practice at KPMG, which provided actuarial consulting, valuation work and audit assistance for the KPMG auditors. "

Time spent assisting KPMG auditors and advisors for several workers’ compensation boards later led to a significant career move: "A project at the WSIB gave me considerable insight into the Ontario Board. Three years before I left KPMG I was asked to write a job description for the chief actuary at the WSIB. Eventually, when the chief actuary position became vacant and I applied for it, the job description that they gave me had three pages out of four that I had written myself."

"The transition from KPMG was very smooth, but the hardest part was not the actuarial work; it was conveying important financial information to WSIB stakeholders. Sometimes you had to bend over backwards to accommodate stakeholder concerns, and then do it again for another set of stakeholders."

"The most satisfying part of my work at the WSIB was knowing that what the actuaries did was helping in some way to improve the lives of injured workers and their families. Even showing people the dynamics of what drove the unfunded liability up and down helped to further the understanding of the real sources of costs and revenues. Current WSIB president and CEO David Marshall fully understood these sources and added considerable credibility to the explanations to stakeholders.."

One of Mr. Hinrichs’s last projects at the WSIB was also one of the most important: being a major contributor to the report from Harry Arthurs,
Funding Fairness: A Report on Ontario's Workplace Safety and Insurance System. "Now that it has been made public, stakeholders are seeing what the WSIB needs to do to move forward. The work the report recommends will likely take two to three years to come into being, stretching well beyond my retirement date. Its recommendations will have a major impact on the WSIB in such areas as classifying employers, setting premium rates and how it achieves full funding."

He has now stepped away from the office full-time, but Mr. Hinrichs—a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries and member of the American Academy of Actuaries—said he would probably still continue to look for "the odd job where I think I can add value. I was very happy with being a member of the designated group that re-wrote the standard of practice for actuaries practising in the workers’ compensation field, and will continue to be a member of Mike Hale’s subgroup on the Committee on International Relations looking at international accounting standards. I’ll stay involved in the profession. But my next major project is my golf game. I have a lot of work yet to do!"


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