Results of the New Members Committee Survey


By Bonnie Robinson

In an effort to better serve new members and promote the role of the CIA within this group, the New Members Committee (NMC) conducted a survey in December 2015. The 268 respondents were members who had earned their FCIA (58 percent) or ACIA (42 percent) within the last five years. The intent of the survey was to gain insight from new members around volunteerism, professional development, and communication. The NMC will be releasing a report on the survey results in the near future.

"We are trying to assist with the engagement of new members in the CIA," said Joseph Kazibwe, Chair of the NMC. "We wanted to measure their engagement based on different categories: volunteering, communications from the CIA, etc. We also asked more philosophical questions to get a sense of what new members think about the profession and what they get back from the CIA."

During the two-week survey period, respondents provided feedback on a number of issues including the following:

Soft Skills Development

According to Mr. Kazibwe, developing soft skills was something that came up numerous times in the survey responses. "The ultimate goal for all actuaries is to move away from being just technical, but also to be leaders," he said. "We are viewed as introverts and very technical, so there’s a bit of a gap—that’s not a surprise—it would be good to try to get the CIA to focus more on training and networking skills."

The survey also found that new members are more inclined to digital rather than face-to-face interactions. "Webcasts might be a more effective method of delivering CPD, rather than meetings," said Mr. Kazibwe, "since they are brought to each individual rather than the individual having to travel to attend a meeting."

The survey also indicated that property and casualty (P&C) actuaries also feel somewhat excluded. "P&C actuaries feel underrepresented," Mr. Kazibwe said. "They indicated that there are not enough topics geared towards P&C actuaries; that they need to go elsewhere for that CPD, but they would prefer to have it come from Canada."


Mr. Kazibwe said that a large number of respondents expressed an interest in volunteering, but have never been contacted by the CIA. While the Volunteer Applicant Registry provides a database of members interested in volunteering, the NMC would like to find a way to make use of this list more efficiently. Mr. Kazibwe points out that much of volunteering does rely on that first volunteer opportunity, where you make connections with more experienced volunteers who get to know your skills and interests. The committee believes that providing volunteer opportunities that are shorter for those whose time is limited could help increase volunteer engagement, particularly among new members.

"New areas like predictive analytics, or other emerging practices that are being talked about in the CIA, also attract members to volunteer because of the new ideas," added Mr. Kazibwe.


Communication is another area where respondents had strong and varying opinions. "Communications are difficult," said Mr. Kazibwe. While 68 percent of respondents said they receive just the right amount of communication material, many find the frequency of communications too high. "We would like to see targeted communications, so that people don’t just gloss over information," said Mr. Kazibwe. The CIA's planned customer relationship management (CRM) system should address some of these concerns.

More than Just Standards Setting

The NMC was interested in determining how new members see the actuarial profession and the role of the CIA. Based on a majority of responses, new members see the profession as technical and transactional rather than inspirational and purposeful, and they see the purpose of the CIA as setting standards.

Mr. Kazibwe would like to see that attitude change. "It is important that actuarial science is seen as a means to an end," he said. "It exists to help society, the financial sector, or insurance. As actuaries we need to look at ourselves as people solving problems and helping society and using actuarial science to do this. Promoting this perspective will help the profession and change the inaccurate perception of the CIA as being a standards-setting organization towards one that helps society."

Going Forward

Mr. Kazibwe is proud of the work the committee has done. "The team has really pulled together as a whole and we have been able to accomplish so much over the past year. It’s been a rewarding group effort. We’ve all worked hard to see the survey through to the end."

He adds that now that the NMC has presented its recommendations, it would like to turn some of those suggestions into part of its mandate. "We want to be part of the solution and help make those changes," Mr. Kazibwe said.

Bonnie Robinson is the English editor at the CIA’s Head Office.

Canadian Institute of Actuaries/Institut canadien des actuaires