Keeping an Eye on Actuarial Developments around the World

By Sharon Giffen, FCIA
CIA President

This past month, I have been honoured to represent the CIA at two gatherings of actuaries: the International Actuarial Association’s committee and council meetings in Chicago, and the Society of Actuaries’ annual meeting in Boston. 

IAA Highlights

I attended a seminar on population mortality issues around the world. Canadians are deeply involved in the work, and the results have been surprising to me. (Through its Research Executive Committee, the Institute is co-sponsoring the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries’ Modelling, Measurement and Management of Longevity and Morbidity Risk project.) Mortality improvements which we have come to take for granted are slowing in many countries; in some demographic segments, they have actually reversed. This is an issue for social programs around the world to watch carefully.

Much work continues on matters relating to the adoption of IFRS 17, which will impact insurance companies, both life and property and casualty (P&C). Groups are involved from multiple sectors, and Canadians are helping to drive towards the establishment of standards and guidance. It is our expectation that this work will be foundational to developing made-in-Canada standards for use by FCIAs. 

At many other committee meetings Canadian actuaries play important roles to ensure that a Canadian perspective is provided. Additionally, we benefit from knowing what else is going on in actuarial circles around the world. 

I also attended a session discussing the issues with diversity in the actuarial profession. While I am not complacent about diversity issues in Canada, we can be certain that we have the benefit of many years of seeing reasonable equality in opportunities with respect to gender and race, compared to our counterparts in other countries. I know we are far from perfect, but we are in a profession that is quite open to accrediting anyone who can fulfil the academic and work experience requirements.

SOA Highlights

I was pleased to co-host a breakfast with two other FCIAs: Mike Lombardi, now President of the SOA, and Henri Boudreau of OSFI, who was at the meeting to present on issues with respect to capital. Although the audience was small (it was an early morning start!) we had a good discussion about the various SOA and CIA initiatives that will benefit Canadian actuaries. Interestingly, one of the questions related to the diversity challenges of the two organizations. It is a cornerstone topic in actuarial circles these days.

I also co-facilitated a session entitled Transitioning between Fully Employed and Fully Retired. Whereas I had thought our audience would be fifty-somethings who were thinking about the years until 65, our audience included a surprising number of sixty-somethings who were not at all ready to hang up their professional hat. There were great discussions at table groups with a report back at the end—I believe there were a good number of attendees who felt it was a worthy way to close out the first day. 

Sessions had the usual broad cross section of topics: many included Canadian speakers as well as country-neutral sessions to ensure there was valuable content for all attendees. 

Canadians Leading the Actuarial Profession

In case you had not noticed, there are now Canadians in presidential roles in three major North American actuarial associations. Mike Lombardi took office as President of the SOA in October, and Jim Christie will take office as President-Elect of the Casualty Actuarial Society in November. Congratulations to both—it is marvellous to see that Canadians are having such a significant impact on the actuarial profession!

Sharon Giffen, FCIA, is President of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries.

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