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November 2017

Actuarial Global Outreach across Borders

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Actuaries without Borders (AWB) is a section of the International Actuarial Association (IAA) that helps provide temporary actuarial services in parts of the world where those services are lacking.

“Actuaries without Borders is a unique IAA section in that it doesn’t focus on a specific practice area,” says Doug Carey, Chair of AWB ( “Our focus is to help with projects around the world that fit within our scope.”

AWB’s mission includes education, training, and assistance with the development and sound management of social security, enterprise risk management, pensions, insurance, investments, healthcare, and other areas where actuarial services can be of use.

Education and Training

Since 2002, AWB has provided education and training in countries throughout the world, including India, Kazakhstan, Nepal, Romania, and Azerbaijan. A January 2017 AWB project in Armenia helped to train and instruct people sitting the Society of Actuaries (SOA) exams. “We attracted good instructors,” Mr. Carey says. “The students were very motivated.”

In most cases, a local actuarial association contacts the AWB to request assistance. Other recent AWB projects include workshops in Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, and Kenya. The group’s current and future projects involve a global mentorship program, a two-day introduction to enterprise risk management (ERM) workshop in Bulgaria, and a two-day workshop in Macedonia on introduction to insurance core principals (ICPs), Solvency II, and the four internal control functions.

Giving Back to the Profession

Mr. Carey became involved in the organization four or five years ago. “I had been an actuary for about 40 years, and as I was preparing for retirement I wanted to find something that would allow me to keep involved in the profession,” he says.

He adds that the work volunteers do is not only useful to the people and countries receiving assistance, but also to the volunteers themselves. “AWB provides an opportunity to work much more broadly than before; to develop connections completely outside one’s sphere,” he says. He mentored a young woman in Azerbaijan; she is now a member of the AWB committee. “It’s personally rewarding to see people succeed, to make a difference in these people’s lives and their professional development.”

How it Works

AWB has a pool of volunteers and a committee (comparable to a board) of 14 members, 12 of whom are elected (two are delegates appointed by the IAA Council); one is recruited as executive director (ED) (, supervising and monitoring the AWB requests/projects.

The client/project requester (often an actuarial association) submits a request online. The ED contacts the client to get a better understanding of the request, helps to reorient the request, if needed, explains to the client about its obligations (payment of airfare, lodging, etc.), and makes a risk assessment. The ED also looks for a project manager. After that, the ED will present the project and project manager to the AWB committee for approval.

AWB itself has only a small amount of funding; local sponsors usually fund the project, while AWB, through its director of funding, looks continuously for other financial sponsors as needed. For example, the Asian Development Bank helped with funding for a project in Kazakhstan. Volunteers receive reimbursement for their expenses.   

Interested in Volunteering?

AWB is always looking for new volunteers from a variety of practice areas. The only requirement for volunteering is being a member of the AWB section, which costs C$50 per year. People who are intent on teaching, mentoring, and tutoring young actuarial professionals in actuarial developing countries are particularly welcome.

“Obviously we want active AWB members,” says Mr. Carey. “We have monthly committee calls. We ask the committee (board) members, elected by the AWB section, to commit to the calls as they have a responsibility to the AWB section and to existing and future AWB clients. This is so rewarding for volunteers” he adds.

For more information about Actuaries without Borders, visit their website or contact Doug Carey.


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