Actuarial Club Visits

Dave Dickson at the Pacific Rim Actuaries
Club of Toronto.

By Dave Dickson, FCIA
CIA President

Traditionally the President-elect visits some actuarial clubs in Canada, usually in May. The visits have two purposes. One is to update members on what is happening within the CIA and the other is to receive input to help the President-elect prioritize efforts during his or her year as President.

The CIA Head Office has 26 staff, and the CIA has about 500 volunteers. It is important to focus them on what is important. They are busy people, so we don’t want to take on too much as little might be accomplished. On the other side, every President wants to make the CIA a better organization during his or her term of office and is anxious to get things done. So prioritizing is very important and the actuarial club visits provide important feedback.

Member Feedback

I started with visiting three western clubs. I spoke in Calgary, then in Vancouver and Winnipeg. After returning home to Ontario, I spoke at the Waterloo club, the Pacific Rim Actuaries Club of Toronto, and the Independent Actuaries Network in Milton. In total, I talked to about 300 members. Usually my presentation took about an hour; informal discussions afterwards often lasted another hour or two. Most of the clubs had an interesting mix of younger and more seasoned members.

My presentation focused on the CIA’s revised strategic plan and hot topics. Some of the hot topics discussed were the future of our General List, where we are going with education of Canadian actuaries, and the importance to us of predictive modelling. I also shared information from the impression audit done last summer and the new member survey conducted last winter. Usually there was a lot of discussion and I didn’t cover the entire presentation. After the presentation there were always very valuable informal discussions.

Dickson at the Pacific Rim Actuaries Club of Toronto.

Better Connections and Communications

There were a lot of questions and some members put forward some very good ideas and comments, many extremely insightful. Some of the questions involved what we are doing with research, how members could volunteer with the CIA, and concerns about how our continuing professional development (CPD) works. As a result, I have prepared a lengthy to-do list that CIA leadership is looking into. There were some important themes which surfaced and I’ll mention two.

A common theme is that we need to work on strengthening our connection with many of our members, especially newer ones. Many feel more connected to the actuarial organizations where they wrote their exams, rather than with the CIA. This topic concerns me and I will make it a priority next year to improve things. I think it will take some effort and time but there is a lot of opportunity to better connect with our members.

We already do things to better connect with students such as sponsoring the Actuarial Students National Association (ASNA) in an effort to familiarize them with the CIA. We also work closely with academics at Canadian universities. This helps us to better connect with students on their way to becoming members of the CIA.

We found that quite a few new members are interested in being more involved with the CIA and finding volunteer roles. We have already started to work on this through our new Volunteer Management and Development Committee.

The other important theme is that our communication with members can be improved. This came up at many of my visits. I believe that we need to have strong communication with our members, not just in communications that we distribute but also in any dealings we have with them. Also, technology is changing at the CIA and there are many opportunities to do things differently. These two themes are linked. With better communications, we will be able to better connect with our members.

I am Proud to be an Actuary and a Member of the CIA

I really enjoyed my visits. I met a lot of members and reconnected with some old friends. I was always very well-received and enjoyed some terrific events. It certainly helped me to decide on priorities for my year as President and will help me leave the CIA a better organization than I found it. Thanks to all who came out to my visits and for your valuable feedback.

After my visits, I received a number of e-mails on different topics. Many said positive things about the profession and the CIA. From one member, "at the risk of sounding corny, I am proud to be an actuary and a member of the CIA". Quotes like that make the trip even more worthwhile.

Dave Dickson, FCIA, is President of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries.

Canadian Institute of Actuaries/Institut canadien des actuaires