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Ponderings from the Prairies  

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By John Dark, FCIA
CIA President

Hard to believe that my term as President is half done—and still no impeachable offenses have emerged!!

It’s certainly been an interesting time. Even though I thought I was prepared with over eight years of Board experience and a year as President-elect, it’s still been more challenging than I expected.

A positive thing: completing my continuing professional development (CPD) compliance statement (a reminder to everyone) was easier than ever before. IFRS 17 and the volume of level-one public statements have kept my level of study and research at a higher-than-normal level.

Consider Running for the Board or President

The value of volunteering and the many people I meet in this role continue to make it a rewarding experience. I know the Elections Committee is on the hunt for Board and presidential candidates for this year’s election. If asked, I urge you to consider it. You’ve heard it many times before, but it’s still true—volunteering for the CIA, in whatever capacity, does require work but ultimately always pays back more than it requires you to put in.

Public Statements

The fall was a very busy time for the CIA both at home and internationally. For 2018, our publication of 30 level-one public statements is a record, and they run the gamut of subjects. You can see the list on the website. It seems the more we make our opinion known, the more that stakeholders seek it out, and the more areas we find where we can contribute.

On that subject, our progress on level-two statements, while slower than anticipated, is still considerable and the first on retirement age is imminent with climate change close behind. Watch for these in the first part of 2019. It will soon be time to seek other potential level-two topics.

International Scene

The international front has also taken up significant time for CIA volunteers. For those of us in the insurance world, IFRS 17 has been an almost all-consuming effort as we rush to learn about a new standard and prepare for its implementation. In October, we sent a letter to the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) requesting a delay to the implementation date. We will never know how influential our voice added to those of others was, but the organization’s tentative deferral of the date (one year versus the two years we requested) will add considerably to the ability of Canadian actuaries to ensure the quality of the implementation of this standard matches the quality of our previous standards—for example, the Canadian Asset Liability Method (CALM) is well recognized around the world. We have also contributed significantly to the requests for clarification and even change in the IFRS 17 standard.  

Importantly, the International Actuarial Association (IAA) has seen recent calls for reorganization following a modification of the dues process. The CIA is a strong supporter of the IAA—both because of the value Canadians get from the IAA’s interaction with the many supranational organizations with which we interact, but also because it embodies many of the same beliefs we as Canadians hold around supporting up-and-coming actuarial associations in the developing world. We have made our opinions known and are actively engaged in the task force assembled to develop recommendations on IAA reorganization.

New Councils

At home, our six councils have all settled in after the reorganization and are fully staffed and functioning. They are all engaged in their normal activities but also involved in developing the strategic plan for the next four years, which we have scheduled for completion by the June Board meeting.

Society of Actuaries and the Casualty Actuarial Society

I also need to comment on a non-event. Our two highly valued education partners, the Society of Actuaries and the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS), surprised us at the September North American Actuarial Council (NAAC) meeting with news of a potential combination. We attended the annual meetings of both organizations and spoke in favour of the combination. As it happens, the proposal did not meet approval at the CAS board and so will not proceed. That notwithstanding, we value our relationships with both organizations highly and will continue to look forward to partnering with one or both of them on opportunities in the years ahead, like the upcoming Predictive Analytics Seminar, February 27 in Toronto.

I look forward to seeing many of you at events between now and our first-ever Annual Conference in Montréal in June.

All the best for a successful 2019!

John Dark, FCIA, is the President of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries.

 

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