Actuarial Clubs

 

Each spring, the CIA President-elect visits Canadian actuarial clubs. Scattered across the country, they include clubs in Alberta, Montréal, Québec City, Toronto, Vancouver, Waterloo, and Winnipeg. These clubs differ in size and activity level, but they all provide local opportunities for actuaries to meet and socialize. This month, the (e)Bulletin takes a look at three of them.

Vancouver Actuaries Club

The Vancouver Actuaries Club is an informal, social club with upwards of 100 people on its mailing list, and about 60–70 people who regularly show up to club events. About half of the members are students new to their careers; the rest are more established professional actuaries.

The club hosts four annual events, one each quarter:

Allen Furlong, President of the club, says the social aspect is important. "It’s all about being social with other people in the profession," he says. "Having a sense of belonging and being with other people who are going through the exams, or going through other similar experiences."

Each event has its own flavour and mix of attendees. The self-funded pub night (participants cover their food costs while the club provides the space and name tags) is a very popular social and networking event, well-attended by actuaries and students. The May luncheon focuses more on education and hearing about what the CIA is doing and less about networking; a lot of senior members attend this event as well.

While the club has historically operated through a mailing list and connections at Vancouver companies, Mr. Furlong says they are looking to establish a more accessible way of operating. "We would like to foster a more visible community, rather than just being contacts for a mailing list," he says. The club is considering creating a website and social media presence, more informal activities such as participating in the CIA’s Back to School program, and outreach to actuarial students at Simon Fraser University and the University of British Columbia. "But we want to maintain the social aspect of the club," he says. "The club isn’t just somewhere you seek jobs."

Winnipeg Actuaries Club

The main focus of the Winnipeg Actuaries Club is continuing professional development (CPD). Members must be an ASA or ACIA to join. The club has 171 members. "We have a large contingent of younger actuaries," says Clayton Zaluski, President of the club. "They are the ones who show up most often. The older members often have other commitments."

The club holds a spring and fall meeting as well as an annual golf tournament in June. "The point of the club is to provide CPD training," says Mr. Zaluski. "We try to get a speaker who is CPD-relevant, to help provide our members with one-to-two hours of structured content for CPD." The meetings are usually luncheons, and also include any formal business and new initiatives the club wants to discuss. The golf tournament allows for networking, with a dinner and games after the event.

Outreach is important to the Winnipeg club. It has a strong relationship with the University of Manitoba, partnering with it to make connections with and provide support for actuarial students. The club sponsors a student scholarship and holds math contests with prizes.

The club has grown substantially in the past five years, a result of increased hiring of actuaries in Winnipeg. "We are probably similar to other areas of the country," says Mr. Zaluski. "Actuaries are in demand."

The club is looking at increasing the CPD they have to offer and is in the process of developing a website. "We have a strong commitment from the people involved in the club," says Mr. Zaluski, "so we haven’t needed a website up until this point."

Pacific Rim Actuaries Club of Toronto

The Pacific Rim Actuaries Club of Toronto is an active club for actuaries with an interest in the Pacific Rim region. Founded in 1993, it has over 150 active members representing the major insurers, reinsurance companies, and consulting firms in and around Toronto. Members are a mixture of Fellows, Associates, and other actuarial students.

The club holds two to three meetings each year with speakers, two dinner meetings in the winter (Chinese New Year) and fall, and a summer social event. The club sends blast e-mail announcements before the events, which are ticketed through the use of Eventbrite. "This eliminates financial losses from no-shows, as tickets are sold prior to the events," says Paul Chow, President of the club.

 
An event sponsored by the Pacific Rim Actuaries Club of Toronto. 

The club has been successful in securing corporate sponsors for its events. A typical meeting includes a 45-minute reception, which allows people to network. A slide show occurs during the reception that includes pictures from prior meetings and logos from each sponsor. Gold sponsors draw prizes at the Chinese New Year’s meeting and have an opportunity to address the crowd for one minute while on stage.

"We are different from other actuarial clubs in that the topics discussed usually are applicable to business in the Pacific Rim countries and the dinner meetings usually include a Chinese banquet," says Mr. Chow. The club’s mandate is "to establish a platform for actuaries in the greater Toronto area to share thoughts and ideas on business and financial issues related to the Pacific Rim region. Although life insurance is discussed the most, our past meetings also included topics on pensions, investments, economics, government regulations, property and casualty insurance, and others." Some speakers are actuaries; others are not.

"CPD credits may be earned by some attendees," Mr. Chow adds, "But our meetings are to obtain knowledge about, and applicable to, business in the Pacific Rim countries and opportunities to network and socialize."

The club’s website includes the following:

"Whether members or not, we invite all actuaries and actuarial students to attend our meetings and other events to obtain knowledge from presentations by talented people and to network and socialize with the Toronto actuarial community," says Mr. Chow.

The Pacific Rim Actuaries Club of Toronto’s next event is a dinner meeting on November 17, with details for the event to be released in mid-October.

Check out the CIA website for more information on Canadian actuarial clubs.

Canadian Institute of Actuaries/Institut canadien des actuaires
http://www.cia-ica.ca/