CIA (e)Bulletin/(e)Bulletin de l'ICA
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December 2018
 
 

UAP: Six Years in and Going Strong

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By Joseph Gabriel, FCIA

Late October marked my fifth anniversary with the CIA as staff actuary, education. It has been a productive time with many rewarding milestones, as well as a good many more envisioned for the future. The CIA University Accreditation Program (UAP) was implemented in universities in 2012; therefore, having been at the centre of its administration and operation for most of its existence, I am thrilled to report on the program’s first six years.

Background

The UAP currently enables candidates to earn up to four Associate-level exam (FM/2, IFM/3F, LTAM, and STAM) credits toward ACIA and FCIA qualification through accredited university education, subject to meeting the minimum grades established by the CIA. For more details on the UAP, refer to this excellent article by Alicia Rollo, CIA director, education and international affairs.

Worldwide, renowned organizations such as the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (UK), the Actuaries Institute (Australia), and the Actuarial Society of South Africa use university accreditation for the achievement of actuarial credentials. The CIA has mutual recognition agreements with all three organizations.

In the United States, UAP is recognized as follows:

  • By the Casualty Actuarial Society toward ACAS and FCAS designations; and
  • By the American Academy of Actuaries toward the MAAA designation.

Although the Society of Actuaries (SOA) does not recognize UAP credits toward ASA and FSA designations, candidates may use UAP credits to meet the minimum requirements to apply for Validation by Educational Experience (VEE) credits. More importantly, through the memorandum of understanding between the CIA and SOA, candidates are guaranteed to be able to progress seamlessly through the SOA educational system with UAP credits and register for any SOA educational activity recognized by the CIA, including eligibility to attend the SOA Fellowship Admissions Course (FAC), which also forms part of the CIA requirements.

Some Numbers on UAP

In October 2015, I wrote an article on data collection and analysis on the UAP. These data enable the CIA to closely assess the program, to ensure that it delivers on the CIA’s objectives of rigour and thoroughness. They also track the utilization of UAP by candidates. With six years of data, I am able to report on how the UAP is now producing successful Associates (ACIA) and Fellows (FCIA) of the Institute.

Utilization since inception:

  • 740 exam credits granted to 476 candidates;
  • 47 candidates qualified as ACIA with at least one UAP credit; and
  • 13 candidates qualified as FCIA with at least one UAP credit.

With accredited courses being closely aligned with the CIA syllabus, current data show that UAP candidates are successful on Fellowship exams and other educational activities, regardless of how they obtained their preliminary education. As a brief reminder, in addition to achieving UAP credits, all candidates must successfully complete all other CIA eligibility requirements including preliminary examinations, courses and modules for which no UAP credit is offered, and the CIA Professionalism Workshop. Fellowship then requires the same educational elements required of non-UAP candidates including Fellowship examinations, courses and modules, the CIA Practice Education Course, and of course, the CIA’s professional and Canadian experience requirements.  

Expansion of the UAP Syllabus in Fall 2019

Based on the demonstrated effectiveness and thoroughness of UAP to date, we entered into discussions with all 11 accredited universities to gauge the possibility of expanding the UAP offering. The UAP Subcommittee of the Eligibility and Education Council (EEC) then proposed the inclusion of credit for the probability Exam (P/1) and the SOA Statistics for Risk Modeling (SRM) exam. For Exam P, in keeping with the normal UAP assessment process with universities, we conducted rigorous analysis of syllabus coverage, historical university course offerings, grade distributions, and university course outlines, and universities performed a mapping exercise to the CIA syllabus. A similar process is now underway with Exam SRM.

Subject to meeting the conditions set out in the revised UAP policy, accredited universities will have the option to have courses accredited for the coverage of either or both exams in fall 2019. However, universities must continue to cover all four existing exams to remain accredited.

CIA Board Approval and CAS Recognition

The CIA Board approved the changes to the UAP policy on November 21, and the CAS confirmed that it will recognize UAP credits for Exam P/1 toward ACAS and FCAS designations.

Having CAS support of the UAP continues to play a pivotal role with the program’s recognition by students, employers, and CIA members. The CIA is proud of achieving such acceptance of the UAP and will work relentlessly to uphold it.

A Bright Future

With increasing utilization every year, candidates successfully achieving ACIA and FCIA, and expansion of the program, the future is bright for the UAP. The CIA Board also recently received plans for the UAP measures-of-success program. Please watch for more reporting, both quantitative and qualitative, coming in 2019.  

This quote from Irish playwright, poet, and author Oscar Wilde, in my opinion, says it all: “Success is a science; if you have the conditions, you get the result”.

Joseph Gabriel, FCIA, is staff actuary, education.

 

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