Canadian Actuaries at the Caribbean Actuarial Association Conference
The Caribbean Actuarial Association (CAA) held its 28th Annual Conference in Kingston, Jamaica from November 28–30, 2018. Focusing on the theme “Running the Risk”, this year’s conference had over 250 participants, mostly from the Caribbean. Canada was well represented with some 25 Canadians participating or speaking at the event.
Delegates came from around the world, including the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, Brazil, Mexico, and South Africa. The CIA’s Immediate Past President Sharon Giffen, who attended the event, explains why international participation is fundamental for the CAA. “The association itself represents many Caribbean countries, but because the actuarial population of each island is relatively small, they work on international relationships to develop actuarial practice relevant to each island nation and expand their horizons,” she says. Formed in Jamaica in December 1991, the CAA became a full member of the International Actuarial Association (IAA) in December 2008.
Public Policy and an Actuarial Pioneer
Ms. Giffen was invited as an expert on a panel about the role of actuaries in public policy. The discussion was well received with great participation from audience members including Daisy McFarlane-Coke, an actuarial pioneer in the Caribbean. Renowned for her extraordinary contributions, Ms. McFarlane-Coke was the first black woman to qualify as a Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries (now the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries) in 1970, Jamaica’s first government actuary, and the CAA’s first president. “We were privileged to have Ms. McFarlane-Coke in the audience, who spent a great deal of her career in public service and is extremely supportive of the idea that actuaries can and should speak up on matters of public policy where we have value to offer,” says Ms. Giffen.
IFRS 17, Global Capital Tests, Climate Change
Other CIA members also spoke at the event. Members Trevor Howes, Simone Brathwaite, and Cynthia Potts presented with Barbados’ Bertha Pilgrim in a session titled “IFRS 17: Procrastinate at Your Peril!” Earlier in the day, Ms. Brathwaite joined Lisa Peterson to present on global capital tests for life insurance.
Caterina Lindman also spoke during a session on the impact of climate change on Caribbean resources, a highly important topic for actuaries in that part of the world. “The session was well received,” she says. “One thing that I learned that shocked me as I prepared my talk was that even if global warming is limited to 1.5 degrees, then approximately 70 to 90 percent of coral reefs will be destroyed. The implications of this are profound. One person told me that my talk was shocking, and she said that she meant that in a good way.”
An Opportunity to Learn and Network
A first-time attendee, Ms. Lindman enjoyed the conference. “Most memorable to me was the keynote speaker, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, a Jamaican gold-medal Olympian sprinter, who spoke about how she succeeded using great persistence and self-motivation. Also, the session on cryptocurrencies was quite informative, and the one on how Caribbean actuaries could improve the lives of Caribbean people was inspiring.”
“The event offered a clear focus on issues of relevance to Caribbean actuarial practice, balanced with significant input from others from around the world,” says Ms. Giffen. She also underscores the fact that each edition of the CAA Conference is organized by a new Fellow. “They nominate a new Fellow to organize and manage the conference, ensuring that their new members are introduced to actuaries from around the Caribbean and become part of the community very quickly.”
Indeed, the CAA Conference provides an excellent opportunity for actuaries to make international contacts.