CIA (e)Bulletin/(e)Bulletin de l'ICA

Canadian Institute of Actuaries/Institut canadien des actuaires

April 2016
Elliott Bauer
D.W. Simpson & Company
Eckler Ltd.
President's Update

 

By Rob Stapleford, FCIA

The CIA Board has many important issues currently on its plate and numerous projects that are in their final stages ahead of our next Board meeting at the June Annual Meeting.

Strategic Plan

One significant Board activity is the review and updating of the Institute’s strategic plan. Each of the four key initiatives that are being added to the plan has Board members, volunteers, and CIA Head Office staff working hard to reach the milestones in time.

Blue Ribbon Task Force

One of these key initiatives is increasing the CIA’s engagement in public policy, one that the Board has been fully behind for over a year. The Blue Ribbon Task Force chaired by Jacques Tremblay is looking into this initiative, working on processes for the CIA to get in front of some big topics, how to generate appropriate research, and take an evidence-based proactive stance, all with built-in member outreach. It is trying to balance taking bolder positions in the public policy space while making sure that members have ample opportunity to express their thoughts during public position development, and looking for ways to develop appropriate initiatives that would support the vision, mission, and values of the CIA, in the public interest. There are diverse opinions about the CIA’s involvement in public policy, and the members of the task force represent the broad spectrum of those opinions. Stay tuned for more news following the Annual Meeting.

Public Position on Public Pension Plans

The Pension Advisory Committee (PAC), chaired by Michel St-Germain, has developed a public position which focuses on the expansion of public pension plans. It is a natural and timely follow-up to November’s public position, A Call to Timely Action: Meeting the Needs of Canada’s Future Retirees. That document laid out six conditions which must be met for the CIA to support an expansion of public pension plans. The new public position is the culmination of several months of work by the PAC and has been reviewed by the Public Positions Committee under Mike Hale. It is undergoing some last-minute tweaking before going through the final approval process.

One interesting aspect of the work on this position is the plan to distribute it to all finance ministers, deputy finance ministers, ministers responsible for pensions, particular members of the media, and government officials responsible for pensions, a month before the finance ministers meet in June to discuss the expansion of public pension plans. The document was written to deliver actuaries’ ideas on this subject which will inform the ministers’ discussions before and at their meeting.

Oral History Book

The book Our history. Our achievements, the oral history of the CIA, has been printed and members who have ordered their copy can expect to receive it in the next few weeks. For those members who have not yet taken advantage of this unique offer, you can still order your free copy on the CIA website. Just sign in to the members’ site and click on the Our History. Our achievements. postcard to go to the order form.

That’s all for the moment. Watch the CIA website for the mid-May video. We’ll have more interesting news for you in a month!

Rob Stapleford, FCIA, is the President of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries.

 
In Focus

 

By Ty Faulds, FCIA

ASB Membership

The Actuarial Standards Board (ASB) is very pleased to welcome Geoffrey Melbourne and Josephine Marks to our board and to thank Laura Newman for all her support over the last several years. The current membership of the ASB includes Stephen Cheng, Ty Faulds (Chair), Conrad Ferguson, Jacqueline Friedland, Alexis Gerbeau, Edward Gibson, Josephine Marks, Geoffrey Melbourne, Dave Oakden, Catherine Robertson, and Tony Williams; and on an ex officio basis, Pierre Dionne, Chair of the Practice Council and Michel Simard, Executive Director of the CIA. Please feel free to approach any of us with any suggestions or questions you might have.

Mortality Improvements

The Task Force on Mortality Improvement chaired by Alexis Gerbeau is waiting for the 2013–2014 Canadian population experience to be published before completing their cross-sector research report. Information from other sources indicates the Canadian population may be seeing a similar slowing down of mortality improvement trends to those observed in the UK and the U.S. Statistics Canada expects to release 2013 deaths in the fall of 2016 followed by 2014 deaths in the spring of 2017.

The ASB has formed a designated group (DG), chaired by Dominic Hains, to consider these developments for life insurance mortality improvement, since in addition to potentially promulgating new scales, we expect changes will need to be made to the structure of the margins for adverse deviations given the expected change in structure of improvement scales. The ASB will consider any implications for the other practice areas as the experience is reviewed.

Continued Low Interest Rates

As mentioned in my last update, a continuation of the low interest rate environment has prompted the ASB to monitor these developments closely and consider increasing the frequency of updates to the related promulgations for the life insurance practice area. We are working through a process to review research on these annually with the Committee on Life Insurance Financial Reporting. This involves reviewing and updating the calibration criteria for stochastic risk-free interest rates models and then determining the corresponding changes to the ultimate reinvestment rates (URRs). Given the amount of work required to establish this routine process, we do not expect it to be in time for a revision to the promulgated criteria and rates for this year end. At our last ASB meeting, we discussed whether we should consider changes to these criteria absent this supporting research.

While the ASB will continue this discussion at our next meeting, I have the following observations. Below, I’ve updated the tables on pages 11/12 of the 2013 research paper Calibration of Stochastic Risk-Free Interest Rate Models for Use in CALM Valuation for experience up to the end of 2015. Given the similarity in the two parameter sets on page 12, I’ve included only set two below.

Calibration Criteria

1936–2012

CIR Set 2

BS Set 2

1936–2015

Change

2.5th

2.60%

2.59%

1.94%

2.32%

2.36%

(.23)%

5.0th

2.80%

2.81%

2.40%

2.60%

2.60%

(.21)%

10.0th

3.00%

2.97%

2.99%

2.99%

2.91%

(.06)%

90.0th

10.00%

10.41%

10.46%

10.40%

10.36%

(.05)%

95.0th

12.00%

12.00%

12.07%

13.01%

11.92%

(.08)%

97.5th

13.50%

13.37%

13.54%

15.96%

13.31%

(.06)%

My observations are

  • For these relatively common forms of stochastic models, the 10th percentile seems to be the constraining criteria for the left tail. At this percentile, the historical experience has only declined 6 basis points (bps);
  • These models calibrated to the current criteria produce results below or similar to the updated historical experience for the 5th and 2.5th percentiles; and
  • The URRs for deterministic scenarios were designed to be reasonably consistent with stochastic models calibrated to these criteria.

Pension Initiatives

Very extensive feedback has been received on the Notice of Intent – Amendments to Section 3500 of the Practice-Specific Standards for Pension Plans – Pension Commuted Values. The DG, chaired by Gavin Benjamin, expects that the review of this feedback and development of the exposure draft will take them through the summer. As a reminder, this initiative is focused on a review of the assumptions underlying pension commuted values other than mortality and includes thoughts on variations for shared-risk plans. A second DG focused on assumptions underlying marriage breakdown capitalized costs is expected to start work after enough progress has been made on the pension side.

The ASB has discussed a draft of the notice of intent (NOI) to address the calibration criteria of pension asset returns proposed by the DG chaired by Tony Williams at our last two meetings. Existing actuarial standards do not address the volatility associated with stochastic modelling of investment returns for pension funding. The DG will not be mandating a particular stochastic model for investment returns, but rather (as with life insurance) will prescribe calibration criteria for the outputs of any stochastic model used. One of the ASB’s goals is to drive consistency in standards unless there is a good reason for the inconsistency; however, on an initial review, the DG has expressed some discomfort with simply adopting the calibration criteria in place for life insurers. We expect to approve this NOI by our next meeting. Given this consistency goal, actuaries practicing in life insurance financial reporting may want to follow this initiative closely as well.

The DG chaired by Geoffrey Melbourne is making good progress on developing a NOI to review pension valuation disclosures as they relate to shared-risk plans, target benefit plans, and stress testing. A draft is currently being discussed with the relevant practice committees and the DG hopes to bring a proposal to the next ASB meeting.

The Use of Models

The ASB also discussed the feedback received on the Exposure Draft for Standards of Practice ─ Use of Models which covers most of the material addressed in the International Actuarial Association’s (IAA’s) statement of intent (SOI) on the governance of models. The DG chaired by Bob Howard has recommended a number of changes that it feels will largely address the concerns raised. The ASB supported these recommendations which the DG is incorporating into an exposure draft (ED) for re-exposure. This redraft is currently being discussed with the relevant practice committees and the DG hopes to bring a proposal to the next ASB meeting.

International Developments

The Actuarial Standards Committee (ASC) has been very active in developing model standards of practice and you can view the current status of these at the link provided. The ASB remains committed to converging with these model standards and has made significant progress on a number of related projects.

The ASB discussed the feedback received on the Exposure Draft for Standards of Practice – Establishment of Social Security Practice-Specific Standards which aims to incorporate the principles of ISAP 2 into the Canadian Standards of Practice. The DG chaired by Ed Gibson has recommended a number of changes that the ASB is considering and may recommend a re-exposure after its June meeting. Our guidelines on re-exposure can be found here

ISAP 3 (Actuarial Work under IAS 19 – Employee Benefits) was adopted by the IAA in April 2015. The ASB has formed a DG to consider convergence with this model standard and at our April meeting appointed a chair (Catherine Robertson) to lead this DG.

The ASB is following the IAA’s plans associated with enterprise risk management model standards (ISAP 5 and ISAP 6) with interest and hopes to use these as a springboard to implement similar standards in Canada. The ASB provided comments to the IAA on the ED for ISAP 5 – Insurer Enterprise Risk Models in March 2016.

Business-as-Usual Projects

As part of our strategy, the ASB is committed to routinely reviewing all standards on a rotating basis. Under this initiative, the ASB has reviewed an exposure draft under development by the DG chaired by Josephine Marks. This draft is making its way through the due process steps and should be ready to be recommended shortly. The DG reviewing revisions to the General Standards (chaired by Paul Della Penna) continues to make progress on its exposure draft.

Ty Faulds, FCIA, is Chair of the Actuarial Standards Board.

 
Actuaries on the Move

William da Silva was quoted in a Globe and Mail article on pension plan solvency.


Networking is a key part of any successful professional's career, and the CIA is offering you a fresh opportunity to inform your peers about your achievements and progress.

Our (e)Bulletin section, Actuaries on the Move, is a chance for you to publicize your new job, title, credentials, or other information. This is an opportunity to tell thousands of fellow actuarial professionals—whether they are ex-colleagues, former college friends, potential employers, future clients, etc.—about, for example:

  • Your new job;
  • A change of title or area of responsibility;
  • Your new qualifications;
  • A change of contact details;
  • Awards or other recognition; or
  • Publication of academic papers or articles.

Simply send an e-mail—one line of information can be enough, but feel free to add more if you so wish—to the CIA's English editor at bonnie.robinson@cia-ica.ca and we will aim to include it in the next issue of the (e)Bulletin.

For more news of CIA members and their activities, follow the CIA on Twitter.

 
Public Affairs Corner

 
Pascale Belleau, MA, MSc 

The CIA Head Office is pleased to welcome Pascale Belleau to the team as CIA associate director, public affairs.

With her rich experience in communication and public affairs in not-for-profit, scientific, and governmental organizations, Pascale will provide leadership support for the CIA public affairs strategy. She will oversee various internal and external communications and public/government relations efforts with members, politicians, government officials, business leaders, and decision-makers.

I am thrilled to join the organization and to support the CIA in public policy discussions," Pascale says. "Actuaries have a unique perspective and I look forward to highlighting how their specific and rare skill set can help provide important insights into key public and social challenges."

 

Fluently bilingual, Pascale holds an MA in communication from the University of Ottawa, an MSc in renewable resources from McGill University, and a BSc in biology from Université de Sherbrooke. She is currently completing an MBA from Laval University.

Prior to joining the CIA, Pascale was director of public affairs and communications at the Canadian Council on Animal Care, a national peer-review organization responsible for setting, maintaining, and overseeing the implementation of high standards for animal ethics and care in science throughout Canada.

 
Insight Decision Solutions
RGA Canada
On the Horizon

 

By Bonnie Robinson

Few would argue that Canada’s healthcare system is under strain. The country’s population is aging and healthcare costs are climbing. Increasingly, actuaries are playing a role in ensuring the sustainability of Canadian healthcare.

"If you look at healthcare in general, it is being consumed, but never monitored from an actuarial perspective," says Pierre-Yves Julien, president and CEO of Medavie Blue Cross and Chair of the CIA’s Health Committee. "People are making decisions that have long-term implications without much concern about sustainability. There is a skill set that actuaries could bring to bear on decisions regarding healthcare. We can make sure that when healthcare is debated, the opinion of actuaries can be sought to bring facts to impressions."

The crucial role that actuaries can play in this discussion was the focus of a recent CIA advertising campaignThe campaign delivered over 8.3 million impressions through print, TV, and digital advertisements in the The Globe and Mail, La Presse, The Hill Times, Policy Options, iPoliticsCBC News Network, and CBC RDI. The social media portion of the campaign delivered almost half a million impressions on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. "This integrated campaign really delivered on its objective of raising awareness of the CIA and the role actuaries can play when it comes to healthcare," says Jacques Leduc, CIA director of operations, finance, and administration.

Actuarial Approaches in Healthcare

Ella Young, corporate director, enterprise risk management and director, care continuum and actuarial analytics at Vancouver Coastal Health and a member of the Health Committee was also asked for comment. "There’s a lot of opportunity for actuaries in healthcare, particularly in terms of good predictive modelling work," she says, "so that the system has a better chance of getting on top of expected-to-be high-risk people."

She says that salary is one of the challenges of getting actuaries involved in healthcare, but in addition, "access to identifiable healthcare data is difficult, even for those of us in the system. Healthcare is cautious and protective of individuals’ privacy." Because actuaries are not present in the healthcare field, the public sector has come to rely on certain other expertise, including health economists, statisticians, epidemiologists, and so on.

"Many claim to be doing predictive modelling," Ms. Young adds. "Whether they are or not depends on how you define it. In the absence of an agreed definition, it is difficult to compare." She has found that most senior executives are not aware of this, and that the predictive models their staff present may not be very predictive. "At the end of the day, if this predictive model hasn’t answered questions or performed well, people are left with the impression that predictive modelling isn’t useful, so it’s getting a bad name, which could reflect negatively on actuaries."

For several years, Ms. Young has been fortunate to work with a few senior executives who understood that the models they were receiving were not adequate. "The data store on which I have been able to build models has enabled an accuracy beyond what is in the published literature," she says. Ms. Young has also made a point of liaising with patient groups who have reached an end state where they don’t want to be, where a patient’s life is simply medical appointments and taking pills. "We focus on that, and working with the provider to try to help people not get there, and hopefully there is a cost-benefit as well."

Chicken and Egg Situation?

"Healthcare is a unique animal," she adds. "It is difficult for those who aren’t in it and/or don’t understand it, to add value, which is the case with many consultants. If we get to a point where privacy and other related issues can be satisfied reasonably, that might change."

"Actuaries need to clearly articulate a value proposition that others aren’t doing," she says. "They need to differentiate their skill set. Without the right data, it can’t be done."

CIA Research Papers

The CIA has sponsored a number of research papers that focus on Canadian healthcare, including Sustainability of the Health Care System and Impact of the 2014 Revision to the Canada Health Transfer (co-published with the Society of Actuaries), Modelling New Brunswick’s Future Healthcare Expenses and Resource Needs, and Extended Healthcare and Dental Experience: A Report on a Post-employment Benefits Experience Study. Recently, the Institute published a Public Position on a National Pharmacare Plan (NPP) that called for, among other things, actuarial involvement in understanding cost and funding implications, and broader, comprehensive analysis and assessment of the future cost and design of Canadian healthcare.

"The National Pharmacare Plan public position was a long process to develop because at times people on the [Health] committee wanted to include an opinion on the merit or not of a particular option," says M. Julien. "It was important for the document not to have an opinion, but to help others form an opinion—to provide a framework for decisions rather than an opinion on a particular solution." Julien thinks that in the end, the committee produced a document that "is in the public interest and not an opinion on how to take a course of action. It helps position the Institute externally but still have the support of members."

Health Committee Future Work

M. Julien adds that the work of the Health Committee is far from over. In March, the group began the next stage of work related to pharmacare: looking at the existing pharmacare studies used to develop the NPP position paper. "We want to analyse which elements have been utilized, and which have been overlooked in those studies," M. Julien says. This work will allow the committee to determine if there is data for missing elements, and direct the Research Committee to try to find it.

Also on the horizon is the publication of a research project that involves the development of a resource model for the projection of long-term employer-sponsored healthcare plan cost trends. Actuaries could use the model as a resource for the estimation of reportable liabilities for Canadian retiree healthcare benefits and other post-employment benefits as required under accounting standards.

M. Julien advocates a practical, careful approach to actuarial expansion into other fields, particularly healthcare. "If we want to be in other fields, we still have work to do to ensure we are able to apply the skill set," he says. "Finding data is still part of the journey we want to be on. We are only at the beginning of that journey; within three-to-four years we will have the basic elements to be ready when people do come to actuaries for help." 

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

 
Institute News


The Elections Committee launched the 2016 CIA election campaign on April 27. As in past years, an online discussion forum is available on the CIA website, where the Elections Committee or CIA members suggest topics or ask questions of this year’s candidates, to generate sound and useful discussions ahead of the voting period. Please visit the Elections page (please log in to the members’ site to view the page) and add your voice to the discussion; your opinions matter.

This year’s slate of candidates appears below. Position statements and biographical data for all of the candidates are available on the CIA website Elections page.

President-elect
Sharon Giffen (elected by acclamation)

Candidates for Director

(Note that the names of the candidates for Director are in the order in which they will appear on the ballot—first name selected randomly, then listed alphabetically thereafter.)

Jason Vary
Barbara Addie
James Bremer
Patrick Chamberland
Emile Elefteriadis
Pat Johnston
Pierre-Yves Julien
B. Dale Mathews
Liam McFarlane

Voting takes place between May 11 and June 1, 2016. Stay tuned for details on this year’s voting process.

 

 

By Alicia Rollo, CHRL

Staying current with the CIA’s eligibility requirements is important. Even if you are already a Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries (FCIA), you probably work with candidates who are either just starting out or are midway through exams, and who look to you for advice and guidance. Or, you may be a new Associate of the CIA, working towards achieving the FCIA designation. Regardless of what stage you are at in your career, having and providing accurate information is critical. This article provides an overview and update on the new CIA syllabus and associated qualification requirements, as well as the education pathways, and highlights some anticipated changes. If you need further information at any time, please contact us. A list of eligibility and education staff contacts is included at the end of this article.

The CIA Education Syllabus

Looking at education holistically, the CIA education system is made up of a number of parts, including in-house as well as outsourced education and examinations which are delivered by the CIA’s education partners, the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS), the Society of Actuaries (SOA), and 11 accredited universities. At the core of the system is the CIA’s education syllabus, which outlines the requirements for Associate and Fellow membership in the CIA, and is the benchmark against which all education partners are evaluated and selected.

The first iteration of the CIA syllabus, approved by the Board in November 2015, is the result of the work of the former Task Force on Canadian Eligibility and Education, chaired by Angelita Graham, and the current CIA Education Syllabus Committee, co-chaired by Mathieu Boudreault and Thomas Hinton. Final touches to the syllabus document are underway after which it will be translated and published to the CIA website in early summer. The syllabus will continue to evolve and will be updated soon to reflect the pending approval and implementation of the revised IAA education syllabus.

The existence of the CIA syllabus marks a key milestone in the CIA’s education strategy, which ultimately is for the CIA to have greater responsibility and accountability for the education of actuaries in Canada.

The Evolution of the Qualification Requirements for ACIA/FCIA

Historically, the path to membership in the CIA was straightforward. Get your Associate of the Society of Actuaries (ASA), Associate of the Casualty Actuarial Society (ACAS), Fellow of the Society of Actuaries (FSA), or Fellow of the Casualty Actuarial Society (FCAS), or other Fellow designation from a country with which the CIA had a mutual recognition agreement (MRA), acquire the appropriate experience (for qualification as a Fellow), and then apply to the CIA. It truly was a 100 percent outsourced model. Despite the fact that many Canadians volunteered, and still do today, on education committees of the CAS and SOA, the CIA had no official accountability or responsibility for syllabus content or examinations, except for the Board’s overall approval of the qualification requirements, as defined by other actuarial organizations.

Practice Education Course (PEC)

Things began to change in the year 2000 when nation-specific material was removed from the SOA exams. The CIA created its Practice Education Course (PEC) to ensure candidates in all specialty tracks, including property and casualty (P&C), received the required Canadian-specific education and assessments. This was the CIA’s first foray into direct accountability and responsibility for actuarial education.

Since that time, the CIA has partnered with the CAS for assessment of property and casualty specialty knowledge, including Exam 6–Canada (formerly exam 7–C). As a result of a memorandum of understanding on education with the CAS, the content for Exam 6–Canada is now established by a committee of the CIA, and the exam is set and administered by the CAS.

For the individual life and annuities, retirement benefits, group and health, corporate finance and enterprise risk management (ERM), and quantitative finance and investment tracks offered by the SOA, Canadian content, where relevant, has been reinserted over time on the SOA examinations. Now most Fellowship tracks cover the CIA syllabus to the desired 85 percent threshold, resulting in some duplication of content between SOA exams and PEC exams. We are currently working with the SOA to increase coverage of the group and health track to also meet this requirement so that we can determine how the PEC should evolve in the near future.

Future of the Practice Education Course

Given that the CIA syllabus is being well covered by the examinations of the SOA and CAS, the time has come to look at the PEC and how it can be better deployed. The Education Syllabus Committee and PEC Organizing Committee are currently looking at a potential new design for PEC. The PEC will definitely remain in its current form for 2016 and 2017, with changes likely being introduced for the 2018 sitting. Please watch the CIA website and announcements for updates as these plans progress.

It is important to note that as PEC evolves, so will the CIA’s requirements in terms of recognition of SOA exams. Currently candidates do not specifically have to write the Canadian versions of SOA examinations because the CIA’s desired additional content is covered and examined at PEC. If the CIA chooses once again to rely solely on the SOA examinations for assessment, the Canadian versions of examinations, where they exist, will be a firm requirement. This is advance notice to anyone just getting started on their Fellowship courses and exams with the SOA to choose the Canadian version of an examination where one exists, to ensure that it will be recognized by the CIA. Otherwise, a candidate may need to write the Canadian-specific version of an exam that they already completed.

International Portability of the ACIA/FCIA Designation

Mutual recognition agreements facilitate the international mobility of CIA members. The CIA is fortunate to have MRAs in place with actuarial organizations in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, and, most recently, South Africa. These agreements allow Associates and Fellows of the CIA to be eligible for membership in these countries, provided that they also meet country-specific requirements. The MRAs also allow candidates from these countries to be eligible for membership in the CIA, provided that they also meet our specific requirements.

Members holding the FCIA designation are also eligible to apply for the Member, American Academy of Actuaries (MAAA) designation for work in the United States.

University Accreditation Program

A more recent development in the CIA education system was the introduction of the University Accreditation Program (UAP) in 2012. The UAP allows candidates to receive credit for some of the preliminary exams (FM, MFE, MLC, and C) by successfully completing accredited university courses at the grades established by the CIA. All accredited universities are closely monitored by the CIA, and an external examiner visit is conducted at every university each year. During these visits, copies of the course examinations are carefully reviewed, and the external examiner meets with the instructors who teach the accredited courses. The accreditation actuary (AcA) in each university also plays a critical role. The AcA must be a Fellow, and is responsible for ensuring the CIA accreditation policy and preferred practices are followed.

Recognition of UAP

UAP is growing in popularity with more than 400 UAP credits granted in the first four years of the program. We are starting to see our first ACIAs and very soon we will see FCIAs who have come through the UAP education pathway.

We are thankful for the employer support we have received for the program to date and for the CAS’ recognition of UAP towards the achievement of the ACAS and FCAS designations. In addition, we are thankful to our MRA partners who also recognize UAP credits, which allow UAP candidates more career options internationally.

While some employers are accustomed to using the preliminary exams as a selection tool, it would be to their advantage not to overlook candidates with the equivalent UAP credits in their recruitment process, since these are bright young candidates who have excelled in their courses and have duly earned credit from the CIA for some of the preliminary exams.

Looking Forward

Stay tuned to the CIA website and communications for important updates as the education system continues to evolve. A Task Force on the Future Vision of CIA Education is currently working on a report and recommendations which are anticipated to reach the Board in the fall of 2016. These are very interesting and exciting times in the maturation of the CIA as an education body, with full accountability and responsibility for the education of actuaries in Canada.

Questions and comments regarding the CIA education system can be directed to me or to any of the following staff:

 Roxanne Vézina

Coordinator, membership and education

  • General membership and eligibility inquiries

 roxanne.vezina@cia-ica.ca

 ext. 111

 Caroline Thebault

Coordinator, education and professional development

  • UAP
  • PEC

 caroline.thebault@cia-ica.ca

 ext. 134

 Joseph Gabriel

Staff actuary, education 

  • Eligibility inquiries
  • MRAs
  • UAP
  • CIA Syllabus

 joseph.gabriel@cia-ica.ca

 

 ext. 150

Alicia Rollo, CHRL, is the CIA’s director of membership, education, and professional development.

 

 

By Chris Fievoli, FCIA

One of the more significant operations performed by the CIA is our research function. Each year, we have a number of projects under way, managed by the Research Committee (ResCo) and its various subcommittees. Please refer to our current research newsletter for an update on our most recent activities.

An important part of this process is deciding what projects we will pursue in a given year. This article provides some insight on the exercise we recently completed to prioritize projects for the 2016–17 fiscal year, which runs from April 1, 2016 to March 31, 2017.

Where Do the Ideas Come From?

There are two types of research studies that ResCo conducts—regular studies repeated on a periodic basis (referred to as maintenance projects, which are typically experience studies), and studies conducted on a one-time basis. The individual life mortality study that is completed annually is an example of the former; the water damage study is an example of the latter. Maintenance projects typically consume only a fraction of the total research budget, so a number of one-time projects need to be considered each year. ResCo strives to ensure that there is a reasonable balance between maintenance projects and one-time projects that support the CIA’s strategic objectives.

Having a balance across practice areas is important, so the Research Committee oversees nine subcommittees, each related to a specific field of practice. These subcommittees are as follows:

  • Annuitant Experience;
  • Segregated Fund Experience;
  • Group Life & Health Experience;
  • Individual Life Experience;
  • P&C Research;
  • Pension and Group Annuity Experience;
  • Enterprise Risk Management Research;
  • Academic Research; and
  • Individual Living Benefits Experience.

The subcommittees normally generate ideas for one-time projects, but ResCo wanted to make sure that a wider range of opinions within the CIA structure was considered. To that end, a number of CIA committees were contacted and given the opportunity to submit proposals. These included the following:

  • All practice committees;
  • Communications Committee;
  • Public Positions Committee;
  • Enterprise Risk Management Applications Committee;
  • Pension Advisory Committee; and
  • Health Committee.

Each proposal had to provide an outline of the project and an estimated cost for budgeting purposes. As well, submitters were asked to score the proposal according to a set of criteria.

Project Scoring

All one-time research projects submitted for consideration were scored according to the following criteria:

  • Impact (40% of total score) – how much of an impact would the proposed project have on both the public and the actuarial profession?
  • Cost-benefit (20%) – is the desired outcome justified by the estimated cost?
  • Uniqueness (20%) – is the project original, and is it likely to succeed?
  • Quality (20%) – has the research process been carefully considered, and will it deliver a high-quality product?

Proposals were also scored for achievability; that is, how plausible is the concept and methodology, and how reliable is the proposed researcher? The achievability score (0–100%) was applied to the overall score derived from the four criteria above.

Once the proposals were received, each ResCo member provided their own score for each proposal. These scores were collected and aggregated, which resulted in a preliminary ranking.

The Final Decision

The Research Committee met in person on February 25, 2016 to finalize the priority list. Using the preliminary scores as a guide, ResCo members discussed the merits of each project. The proposers of each project were invited to attend the meeting as well, in order to present additional facts on their idea and respond to any questions. ResCo members also considered the following:

  • Strategic importance – the CIA’s strategy emphasizes the importance of research to meeting the CIA’s responsibility to the public, and promoting the actuarial profession in Canada.
  • Academic relations – this year, the CIA agreed to provide specific grants to universities for academic research projects. ResCo ensured that a significant number of these projects made the final list. The Academic Research Subcommittee played a key role in sourcing and evaluating project proposals.
  • Opportunities for co-sponsorship – the Society of Actuaries has indicated an interest in co-funding some CIA initiatives. The potential for additional funding was a consideration in the final prioritization.
  • Public policy – Research projects were are also considered from the viewpoint of whether they could potentially lend themselves to the development of public positions.

The final list was shared with the CIA Board, and submitted to the Member Services Council, to ensure consistency with our strategic direction.

Assessment

Overall, the prioritization process was considered a success. Getting buy-in from a wider audience was an important goal, and ResCo members collectively felt that the final priority list was the right one.

CIA members are encouraged to contact me with any questions about our projects. Suggestions for future projects are always welcome.

Chris Fievoli, FCIA, is resident actuary at the CIA Head Office.

 


By Carmelina Santamaria

The CIA is incredibly proud to say thank you to more than 500 members for the time and energy they contribute to the profession. This is the fourth year the CIA has recognized our volunteers during National Volunteer Week (April 10–16).

In April 2012, the volunteer department at Head Office and the then Committee on Volunteer Initiatives (CVI) sent our first-ever personalized thank-you e-mail to all current volunteers and published an article in the (e)Bulletin. In 2013, we expanded our activities to also include dedicated (e)Bulletin articles from the president and the vice-chair of the CVI on the importance of volunteering. In 2014–2015 we continued with personalized thank-you e-mails from the CIA president and launched a social media campaign.

This year, in addition to personalized thank-you e-mails from CIA President Rob Stapleford and a social media campaign, we wanted the membership at large to learn how the work of some of our volunteers impacts the profession. We profiled six current volunteers performing different roles for the CIA, one volunteer for every day of the week:

  • Ryaz Mohamed, first-time volunteer and member, CIA Exam 6 Syllabus Committee
    • Decided to volunteer to improve exam-writing experience for future actuaries in Canada;
    • Volunteering is great for career development;
    • Skills developed: coordinating with large groups;
  • Marc Tardif, director on the CIA Board
    • After volunteering on various committees he decided to run for an elected position;
    • Appreciates the spirit of cooperation;
    • Skills developed: communication and being ready to express yourself and sell your ideas;
  • Elisabeth Lamarche, member of both the Post-Employment Benefit Plans Committee and the Group Benefits Exam Subcommittee of the Practice Education Course Organizing Committee
    • Striking the right family/work/volunteer balance is difficult;
    • Don’t wait until you think you have the time, include volunteering in your schedule;
    • Volunteering gave her more visibility at her firm;
  • Micheline Dionne, CIA Past President
    • Didn’t wait until retirement to become first and only female president;
    • Volunteering helped her be involved in causes that are dear to her heart and to prepare for the future;
    • Worked in areas of research, university accreditation, and international collaboration;
  • June Smyth, Chair of the Pensions Subcommittee of the Continuing Education Committee
    • Proud of the contribution she has made to strong continuing professional development (CPD);
    • Volunteering has opened up opportunities to meet people in different practice areas which is difficult in her position at a small firm;
  • David Oakden, CIA Past President and Gold Volunteer Award Recipient
    • Volunteered on almost 40 committees, councils, task forces, and designated groups during his 35 years as a volunteer;
    • Exchange of ideas among colleagues very valuable part of committee work; and
    • Considers volunteering the most meaningful and valuable part of one’s career.

We hope that those who have been uncertain about volunteering will be inspired by these colleagues. If they can do it, then you can too.

Carmelina Santamaria, is coordinator, volunteer services at the CIA Head Office.

 

 

Former CIA president and founding member E. Sydney Jackson passed away April 10, 2016. Aged 93, he was the last surviving founding member of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries (CIA), and the only one to have witnessed the CIA’s 50th anniversary.

After earning his BComm from the University of Manitoba in 1947, he taught actuarial studies for a year. In 1948, he joined the actuarial department of the Manufacturers Insurance Company of Canada. He was appointed chief actuary in 1956 and actuarial vice-president in 1964.

Mr. Jackson was the first elected CIA President-elect in 1965, becoming the Institute’s third President in 1966. As one of the founding members of the Institute, his name appears in the Act of federal Parliament that incorporated the CIA.

"Those guys were influential in grasping the concern that Canadians needed a legal standing for the profession," said Rob Dowsett, in Our history. Our achievements., the CIA’s oral history book. "Naylor, Humphrys, and Syd Jackson studied the possibilities of how to get legal recognition for Canadian actuaries in Canada."

Contributing to the oral history book, Mr. Jackson himself recalled the atmosphere that led to the creation of the Institute. "There was concern about the way the actuarial profession was developing in the United States, where anybody could call themselves an actuary," he said. "There was a feeling that we, in Canada, would only like to say that an actuary is a Fellow of a recognized body. As far as I know, I’m the only surviving member of that working group. I think it went through quite routinely as an Act of Parliament."

In 1970, Mr. Jackson was appointed executive vice-president of Manulife and then President in 1972, the youngest person ever to have held the position with the firm. After leading a major period of expansion for the company, Mr. Jackson became Manulife’s chair of the board and chief executive officer. Chair until 1990, he later served as director, interim chair, and vice-chair until he retired from the firm in 1994.

"I only met Mr. Jackson once as part of a pension project for the industry," CIA President Rob Stapleford says. "He was a very gracious man who made a nervous young actuary feel comfortable."

E. Sydney Jackson obituary

 

 

Former CIA president Brian FitzGerald passed away April 16, 2016 in Toronto. He was 75.

In 1963, Brian
 earned his masters in mathematics from Oxford University. He began his career as assistant actuary with Canada Life Assurance Company before moving to roles as vice-president of Tomenson Alexander, principal at Towers Perrin, director and pension committee chair at the Ontario Electricity Financial Corporation, and CEO and chair of the board of the Ontario Electricity Pension Services Corporation. In 2002, he founded his own consulting practice, Capital G Consulting. 

Brian served as CIA President in 2004–2005. He hosted the CIA’s 40th anniversary celebration in St. John’s, Newfoundland, where the Institute’s current logo and branding plans were unveiled. An active volunteer, Brian also worked on numerous committees and task forces, including the Younger Actuaries Committee, the Pension Plan Financial Reporting Committee, the Task Force on the Future of the CPP/QPP, the Public Policy Committee, and the Disciplinary Tribunal Panel. He also co-authored The Pension Puzzle.

No funeral will be held, but a celebration of Brian’s life will take place in the spring.

Brian FitzGerald obituary

 
Events News

 

Continuing professional development (CPD) is an essential requirement of being both an actuary and a member of the CIA, enabling actuaries to ensure that their skills are up to date in order to best serve the public, clients, and their employers. This year’s Annual Meeting (June 28–29) in St. John’s, Newfoundland, has excellent CPD opportunities in specific practice areas as well as in general areas of interest.

CPD by Practice Area

For property and casualty actuaries, there are five sessions, including two on disruptive technologies: Cyber Risk – Both a Threat to and an Opportunity for the Insurance Industry?, and Auto Insurance in the Era of Autonomous Vehicles.

The enterprise risk management (ERM) stream features three sessions, including one on risk aggregation and diversification.

Individual life and health actuaries may be interested in learning about what keeps your chief risk officer up at night and predictive modelling in risk selection, while those in corporate life and health can learn about behavioural impacts on mortality and operational risk management and quantification.

There are three sessions for those in group life and health including defined contribution benefit solutions and emerging experience with critical illness and travel coverage.

Pension actuaries have five sessions to choose from, including one on innovations in decumulation options and a debate on early retirement.

Profitability impacts of distribution pricing in the older age market and critical illness insurance risk are two of the four sessions available for members practicing in reinsurance.

Earning Professionalism Hours

Special keynote addresses by Michael Woodford (Whistle-Blowing and Lessons on Governance and Crisis Management) and Diane Girard (Ethical Challenges for Actuarial Professionals) provide excellent opportunities to earn credit towards the four hours of professionalism CPD required over a two-year period.

Register Now

Take advantage of these CPD opportunities and save $100 on fees by registering before May 27.
 
Social Media and the CIA

 

Students and young actuaries are the future of the actuarial profession in Canada. One of the ways the CIA tries to connect with them is through social media, particularly Facebook.

"I’ve attended the ASNA [the Actuarial Students National Association] convention for the last three years," says Kelly Fry, CIA manager, marketing. "When I talk to students about social media, they tell me that Facebook is one of the better tools to reach them."

Fry says that as students get closer to graduation, they become more aware of how they can use social media for professional development and to connect with companies that share their values. The CIA typically posts items that may be of interest to students, including entry-level jobs, ASNA updates, information about the actuarial profession, and student webcasts.

"We think this is the best way to reach a younger audience and inspire them to become an actuary or learn about the profession," she says. While Tumblr and Instagram have increased in popularity among young people, "it’s challenging for an organization like us on these platforms because we deal more with numbers than pictures," Fry adds. "There is a real benefit to these platforms, but curating content for them is difficult."

As part of an effort to reach more students, and potential actuaries, on Facebook, the CIA will be developing targeted CIA Facebook ads that would appear to Facebook users in a student demographic whose profiles indicate an interest in statistics, or other science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) activities. "Social media is a way to reach out to a large group of people today in a cost-effective way," Fry says. "Years ago it would be very costly to get in front of students like this, as travel and direct mail would have been necessary."

Fry hopes these ads will generate demand from students for the CIA’s Back to School program, where actuaries visit high schools to discuss what actuaries do, how to qualify as an actuary, and encourage students to consider pursuing actuarial studies. "Many students haven’t heard about the actuarial profession unless they personally know an actuary," Fry says. "Seeing these ads on Facebook will reach those students and may prompt them to ask their school to contact the CIA to have an actuary visit a class."

 
Spotlight on New Fellows

 

By Amélie Landry-Aubert, FCIA

1. When and why did you become an actuary?

As early as grade school, I liked math and science. But when the time came to choose my field of study at university, the choice wasn’t easy. The actuarial profession was fairly nebulous in my mind, and I didn’t know anyone in that field. So I studied medicine for a year before realizing that I missed studying math. I’ve always liked the logical process that goes with this science, and I wasn’t finding this in my medical studies.

2. What inspired you to pursue an actuarial career?

When I left the field of medicine, I took some time to reflect on my career and to learn what an actuary does and what actuarial studies involve. I went to some university classes with a girlfriend and that’s when I made the decision to enrol in this program. I’ve never looked back.

3. What was your experience of the actuarial exams? Did you experience any particular challenges?

At the beginning of my actuarial BA, I heard about all the exams you had to pass to obtain the Fellow designation and realized how many hours of study it would take. But I found the challenge motivating. So I took them one by one and gradually made my way through the exam process. Since I’ve always liked studying and the subjects applied to my work in a concrete way, it helped me a lot and I found it very interesting. I would say that one of the challenges is to be able to balance work and studies. When we’re undergraduate students and studying for the first exams, we have a lot more free time. But when we start working full-time, it takes solid time management and prioritization to strike a successful work-study balance.

4. How did you find the transition from being a student to becoming a young professional?

The transition went fine. I did an internship with Industrial Alliance, where I ended up working part-time until I finished my BA. When I completed my studies, they hired me full-time, so I already knew the place, the work, and the people, which eased the transition considerably.

5. What is your current professional role? Can you describe the type of work you’re doing?

After my studies, I worked on life insurance products pricing in Québec City. I took part in all sorts of projects, including product development, in collaboration with people from several different departments. Next, since I had always wanted to study or work outside Québec but never had the chance, I asked to be transferred to one of the company’s other branches. And that’s how I ended up in Vancouver early in 2016. Since the actuarial team there is smaller, my work is more varied. I’m still working in life insurance, where I’m doing product development pricing, as well as helping analyze monthly outcomes from an expenditure/profit standpoint. But I’m also working in the field of property and casualty insurance. I look on this as a new work environment that has brought with it a new set of intellectual and linguistic challenges. It’s very motivating.

6. What do you enjoy most about your job?

The range of career opportunities for an actuary. I like the analytical side of our work, the diversity of projects, the fact that we work with other actuaries but also with people from a number of other fields. I like being a resource for people in other departments in the company. I also like the opportunity to train new interns and share my knowledge with them. I also had the chance to work as a lecturer at the university. That too was a great work experience.

7. What are your short-term career ambitions?

I wanted to work in English in a new environment. This recently came to pass and I’m very pleased with all these changes in my life. As I’ve just started in a new position, I’m facing a professional adaptation in the short term. Right now, I want to get up to speed in the new actuarial fields I’m working in.

8. Where do you see yourself professionally in 15 years?

I appreciate the fact that an experienced actuary has all sorts of opportunities from a professional standpoint, because it requires us to constantly be taking up new challenges. For my part, I’m drawn by the opportunities to land a manager position. In the company I work for, these management positions are not just on the actuarial side but in other departments as well, and that’s what is attracting me in the long term.

9. What career would you follow if you weren’t an actuary?

As those close to me know, I’m always joking about one day opening a bakery. It might seem surprising, but considering my passion for cooking and baking, I think that if I weren’t an actuary, I’d like to work in that field.

10. What are your hobbies?

I like running and yoga, two activities that complement one another and that help me stay in shape. I’ve ramped up my yoga over the past year and I just adore this physical activity. It helps people develop their strength (not just physical but mental too), flexibility, and balance. As I was saying earlier, cooking is also a real passion for me. I read cookbooks and cooking magazines as though they were novels. I also check out blogs written by various chefs. Travel is another of my passions. I like discovering new cultures, learning about the food in different countries, and going for walks in a new city. I’ve had the chance to discover several countries, but as soon as I’m back from a trip I can’t wait to take off again!

11. Where is your dream vacation destination?

My two dream destinations are Tahiti and Myanmar (Burma). They’re quite different, but they both appeal a lot to me—Tahiti for its beaches and vegetation, and Myanmar for its temples, culture, and history.

Amélie Landry-Aubert, FCIA, is actuarial analyst at Industrial Alliance Financial Group.

If you would like to be featured in Spotlight on New Fellows, please contact CIA English editor Bonnie Robinson at bonnie.robinson@cia-ica.ca.

 
Volunteers on the Move

Practice Council

The following people have been appointed to the (sub)committees named below:

  • Committee on Life Insurance Financial Reporting:
    • Emerging Expectation of Future Reinvestment Subcommittee: Caroline Rendall (Chair), Steven Chen, Trudy Engel, Saul Gercowsky, Martin Labelle, and Jean-Philippe Morin, effective March 10, 2016;
  • Committee on Property and Casualty Insurance Financial Reporting: Mariane Takahashi, effective April 1, 2016; and
  • Committee on the Appointed/Valuation Actuary: Azmina Jiwani (Chair), effective immediately.

The following people have completed their term with the (sub)committees named below, and have left with thanks:

  • Committee on the Appointed/Valuation Actuary: Cindy Forbes; and
  • Committee on Life Insurance Financial Reporting:
    • Emerging Expectation of Future Reinvestment Subcommittee: Rebecca Rycroft.

Eligibility and Education Council

The following people have been (re-)appointed to the (sub)committees named below:

  • CIA Education Syllabus Committee: Zhouliang (Joel) Li, effective March 10, 2016;
  • Accreditation Committee: Zhouliang (Joel) Li, effective March 10, 2016;
  • Eligibility Committee: Stella-Ann Ménard, Cathy Macdonald, Andrew Kitchen, and Nathalie Cloutier, effective February 19, 2016;
  • Academic Relations Committee subcommittees:
    • 2016 Graduate Scholarship Program Selection Subcommittee: John Dark, Christiane Lemieux, Gary Parker, and David Scollnik, effective immediately;
  • Committee on Continuing Education (CEC) subcommittees:
    • Property and Casualty Insurance Subcommittee: Rachel Dutil and Lisa Guglietti, effective January 1, 2016;
    • Individual Life and Health Insurance Subcommittee: Jean-Pierre Cormier (Chair), Laura Anders, Yiru (Helen) Chen, and Debbie Chiu, effective January 1, 2016; and
    • Reinsurance Subcommittee: Mayur Shah (Chair), Stephanie Banfield, Patrick Charbonneau, Maria Semak, and Elena Stoyanova Tonkovski, effective January 1, 2016.

The following people have completed their term with, or resigned from, the (sub)committees named below, and have left with thanks:

  • CEC subcommittees:
    • Corporate Life and Health Subcommittee: Boon Thye Ho; and
    • Exam Translation Committee: Annie Blais, Isabelle Morin, Stéphane McGee, Chantal Guillemette, and Maxime Gélinas. 

Member Services Council

The following people have been appointed to the committees named below:

  • Predictive Modelling Committee: Bashir Moallim and Carl Lussier, effective March 4, 2016 and Ling Guo, effective March 14, 2016;
  • Enterprise Risk Management Applications Committee: Mario Robitaille, effective March 7, 2016;
  • Communications Committee: Stefan Ramonat, effective March 8, 2016; and
  • Research Committee: Chris Moorley, effective April 12, 2016.

The following people have completed their term with, or resigned from, the (sub)committees named below, and have left with thanks:

  • Research Committee: Denis Latulippe, effective January 31, 2016;
    • Annuitant Experience Subcommittee: Mark Harazny, effective January 15, 2016;
  • Climate Change and Sustainability Committee: Bill Brath, effective February 17, 2016;
  • Enterprise Risk Management Applications Committee: Kim Girard, effective February 19, 2016;
  • Predictive Modelling Committee: Marc-André Belzil, effective March 16, 2016; and
  • New Members Committee: Paul Lai Fatt, effective April 4, 2016. 

The MSC has approved the creation of a Committee on Emerging Practice with the following mandate:

  • Develop, deploy, and monitor a marketing strategy that aims to
    • Identify opportunities and develop short- and long-term plans for new (start-up) emerging practice areas, fast-tracking potential resolution of any existing gaps impeding their development;
    • Increase the participation of CIA members in activities supporting the development of emerging practice areas; and
  • Enhance the hiring of actuaries in emerging practice areas;
  • Monitor and manage the progress in the development of these new areas until they become fully functioning practice areas with independent practice group oversight, suggesting strategies to ensure appropriate progression time from one stage of development to the next; and
  • Monitor and enhance the retention within the CIA of actuaries who are moving into emerging (non-traditional) practice areas.