Member Services Council: What Do We Do?

By Marie-Hélène Malenfant, FCIA

As Chair of the Member Services Council (MSC), I often have to answer the question: What is the MSC’s role in the CIA? This article is the perfect chance to present the work of the MSC—10 very dedicated council members who come from different practice areas with different profiles. This is a good thing, as the work we do for the profession is very diverse and challenging.

There are 14 committees and two task forces under the MSC, namely the following (note that you must be logged in with your CIA member account to view the committee pages):


Task Forces

Members can see the variety of issues being worked on, with the focus on communications, volunteering, emerging practices, and research. Let me talk about them, beginning with communications.


The Communications Committee works on surveys of the Member Listening Group and advises the Communications Department on communication issues. Since its appointment, the Public Positions Committee has been very active and has published 15 submissions/public positions on several subjects, including Québec’s Bill 57 (which tackles defined benefit pension plan funding), the Alberta consultation on payday loans, and the CIA submission on the International Actuarial Association (IAA) Education Syllabus.

The Editorial Panel is responsible for the oversight of all aspects of publishing the quarterly electronic periodical Seeing Beyond Risk, which is distributed to every member of the Senate, territorial, provincial and federal legislatures, business and government decision-makers, and the media.


The newly named Volunteer Management and Development Committee (VMDC) has an extended mandate to promote and coordinate volunteer initiatives. Also, the VMDC plans to develop tools to identify volunteers with greater leadership skills and to help them improve those skills. The objective is to offer an enjoyable and rewarding volunteer experience to our increasing number of volunteers. In 2010, the work of the CIA was made possible by the involvement of 340 volunteers. In 2015, we have 586, and the year is not yet done. At the moment, there are 230 members signed up on the Volunteer Applicant Registry. The role of the VMDC is critical, since volunteers are the lifeline of the CIA. For example, there are currently 94 volunteers involved in the work of the Research Committee alone. Finally, the New Members Committee will survey new CIA members in the next few weeks to get feedback on how to interest them in volunteering and how the CIA can help their personal and professional development.

Emerging Practices

Recently, a new Committee on Predictive Modelling has been created. This is an emerging practice in the United States and in the property and casualty business, and we expect that it will expand to other practice areas in Canada.

The Climate Change and Sustainability Committee is also part of the MSC. This committee is planning its second full-day forum for the spring and is developing a webcast. It is also working on a follow-up paper to the Climate Change and Resource Sustainability – An Overview for Actuaries research paper, published at the end of August and which has been well-discussed on the listservers. As well, the committee is now responsible for the CIA’s participation in the Actuaries Climate Index, in partnership with the American Academy of Actuaries, the Casualty Actuarial Society, and the Society of Actuaries.


The Research Committee is now made up of nine subcommittees. These subcommittees are busy identifying potential research topics of interest to the various areas of actuarial practice. The MSC, the Practice Council, and the Research Committee have recently approved and published a new revised Policy on Due Process for the Approval of Research Reports which recognizes that such reports can originate from any committee or council of the CIA. It provides clear guidance to research subcommittee members as they move through the many steps in the completion of a research project. We expect to improve it to cover the approval process of most types of publications. It is important, since one of the strategic objectives of the CIA is to be recognized as a credible and respected source of advice related to financial consequences of future contingent events.

Task Forces

Two task forces complete the MSC. One of them, the Task Force on Mortality Improvement, will soon publish a long-awaited qualitative report on a best estimate assumption of the general population and on adjustments, if any, for different segments of the population.

In summary, 25 committees, subcommittees, and task forces funnel into the MSC. These are staffed by over 250 volunteer actuaries forming a very strong team. Together we create, deliver, and maintain a high level of valuable services for members, students, and the public. We work for you, for the actuarial profession, and for the future. And we’re proud of it.

If you have any questions or comments to make on the work of the MSC or if you are interested in joining us, do not hesitate to contact me, Marie-Hélène Malenfant at

Marie-Hélène Malenfant is Chair of the Member Services Council.

Canadian Institute of Actuaries/Institut canadien des actuaires