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

Canadian Institute of Actuaries

Elliott Bauer
D.W. Simpson & Company
President's Update

By John Dark, FCIA
CIA President

Hard to believe that my term as President is half done—and still no impeachable offenses have emerged!!

It’s certainly been an interesting time. Even though I thought I was prepared with over eight years of Board experience and a year as President-elect, it’s still been more challenging than I expected.

A positive thing: completing my continuing professional development (CPD) compliance statement (a reminder to everyone) was easier than ever before. IFRS 17 and the volume of level-one public statements have kept my level of study and research at a higher-than-normal level.

Consider Running for the Board or President

The value of volunteering and the many people I meet in this role continue to make it a rewarding experience. I know the Elections Committee is on the hunt for Board and presidential candidates for this year’s election. If asked, I urge you to consider it. You’ve heard it many times before, but it’s still true—volunteering for the CIA, in whatever capacity, does require work but ultimately always pays back more than it requires you to put in.

Public Statements

The fall was a very busy time for the CIA both at home and internationally. For 2018, our publication of 30 level-one public statements is a record, and they run the gamut of subjects. You can see the list on the website. It seems the more we make our opinion known, the more that stakeholders seek it out, and the more areas we find where we can contribute.

On that subject, our progress on level-two statements, while slower than anticipated, is still considerable and the first on retirement age is imminent with climate change close behind. Watch for these in the first part of 2019. It will soon be time to seek other potential level-two topics.

International Scene

The international front has also taken up significant time for CIA volunteers. For those of us in the insurance world, IFRS 17 has been an almost all-consuming effort as we rush to learn about a new standard and prepare for its implementation. In October, we sent a letter to the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) requesting a delay to the implementation date. We will never know how influential our voice added to those of others was, but the organization’s tentative deferral of the date (one year versus the two years we requested) will add considerably to the ability of Canadian actuaries to ensure the quality of the implementation of this standard matches the quality of our previous standards—for example, the Canadian Asset Liability Method (CALM) is well recognized around the world. We have also contributed significantly to the requests for clarification and even change in the IFRS 17 standard.  

Importantly, the International Actuarial Association (IAA) has seen recent calls for reorganization following a modification of the dues process. The CIA is a strong supporter of the IAA—both because of the value Canadians get from the IAA’s interaction with the many supranational organizations with which we interact, but also because it embodies many of the same beliefs we as Canadians hold around supporting up-and-coming actuarial associations in the developing world. We have made our opinions known and are actively engaged in the task force assembled to develop recommendations on IAA reorganization.

New Councils

At home, our six councils have all settled in after the reorganization and are fully staffed and functioning. They are all engaged in their normal activities but also involved in developing the strategic plan for the next four years, which we have scheduled for completion by the June Board meeting.

Society of Actuaries and the Casualty Actuarial Society

I also need to comment on a non-event. Our two highly valued education partners, the Society of Actuaries and the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS), surprised us at the September North American Actuarial Council (NAAC) meeting with news of a potential combination. We attended the annual meetings of both organizations and spoke in favour of the combination. As it happens, the proposal did not meet approval at the CAS board and so will not proceed. That notwithstanding, we value our relationships with both organizations highly and will continue to look forward to partnering with one or both of them on opportunities in the years ahead, like the upcoming Predictive Analytics Seminar, February 27 in Toronto.

I look forward to seeing many of you at events between now and our first-ever Annual Conference in Montréal in June.

All the best for a successful 2019!

John Dark, FCIA, is the President of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries.

In Focus

By Alicia Rollo, CHRL

In my October article, I wrote about important upcoming changes to the CIA’s education system. Now that we are well into 2019, it’s full steam ahead with preparations for the 2019 Practice Education Course (PEC), and a good time for an update.

New Tracks

I mentioned in my previous article that a property and casualty (P&C) track is being added. Further good news: we will have a dedicated enterprise risk management (ERM) track this year to better serve candidate needs.

We are also considering splitting out the investment track as a stand-alone track with more relevant content. We are still recruiting volunteers to help with this, so if you know anyone who would be interested, we would appreciate your referrals.

Property and Casualty Candidates

The biggest impact in 2019 will be on P&C candidates who now need to successfully complete the CIA Professionalism Workshop (PW) and the CIA PEC in lieu of the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) Course on Professionalism (COP).

For a limited time, the CIA will accept the US version of the COP when combined with the successful completion of the CIA PW. Further information and transitional rules are available on the CIA website. The CAS recognizes the CIA PW and PEC in lieu of their COP for the purposes of becoming an Associate (ACAS) or Fellow (FCAS) of the CAS.

Eligibility to Attend PEC

Candidates may choose their PEC track based on their educational background or based on being able to demonstrate sufficient practical experience. 

If based on educational background, certain specific examinations are required for entry. 

Candidates wishing to choose their PEC track by meeting the experience requirement must demonstrate in writing that they have 36 months of relevant full-time experience in the last four years, and it must be certified by a Fellow.

Candidates in the conventional route are typically those coming through the Society of Actuaries (SOA) and CAS education systems with whom the CIA does not have mutual recognition agreements since the education systems are essentially shared.

We have initiated the experience route for attendance at PEC to provide flexibility for candidates in the conventional route who may have changed practice area since completing their Fellowship exams. This helps ensure that candidates choose a PEC track that is relevant to their current area of practice. Please see further details about this on the CIA website.

Experience Route for Fellowship – MRA Candidates

Mutual recognition agreement (MRA) candidates now also have the option to demonstrate sufficient Canadian experience in lieu of completing the requisite Canadian exam to complete their requirements for FCIA. The Canadian experience requirement is 36 months of track-specific actuarial work accrued in the last four years.

The CIA has MRAs with the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries in the United Kingdom, the Society of Actuaries in Ireland, the Actuaries Institute in Australia, and the Actuarial Society of South Africa.

Canadian examinations, where applicable, remain a requirement for candidates in the conventional route to FCIA. Candidates in the SOA and CAS education system must complete the Canadian version of examinations to qualify as an FCIA, even if they were able to attend their PEC track based on experience.

Registration for the 2019 PEC is now open and closes March 31. Register now to avoid disappointment.

Alicia Rollo, CHRL, is director, education and international affairs, at the CIA.

 


By Bernard Morency, FCIA

In September 2018, the Public Statements Committee became the Public Affairs Council (PAC). Our group’s mandate (log in required) was reinforced as the Board asked us to oversee the production of level-two statements and to be more proactive in identifying issues on which the CIA should comment. Furthermore, the upgrade to council status reinforces the importance of public statements to the CIA’s strategic priorities and successes.

What is the Purpose of the PAC?

The council was created to help fulfil the 2017–2019 CIA Strategic Plan’s goal of influencing public policy: “Meaningful and timely contributions to public dialogue allow the CIA to serve the public interest and the actuarial profession, and to be recognized as a key player in matters of public policy.”

In 2018, the CIA published 27 submissions, compared to 15 in 2017. Clearly, we have seen a huge increase in the number of requests for our opinion, and it is not slowing down. We commented on a wide range of topics for a diverse group of stakeholders including the following:

  • Submissions on funding rules for registered pension plans in Nova Scotia, Québec, Ontario, and Manitoba;
  • Submissions to the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) on the extension of the IRFS 17 implementation date, to the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS) on ICP 20, and to the International Actuarial Association on IAA Restructuring;
  • Submissions to the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) on its reinsurance framework, to Retraite Québec on disbursement rules, and to the federal government on enhancing retirement security for Canadians; and
  • Letter to a number of provincial governments on the regulations concerning premium rates for automobile insurance.

Although we do not actively publicize all of our submissions, we have nonetheless received valuable media coverage, such as this recent article in Benefits Canada on our submission to the federal government on enhancing retirement security for Canadians. It is clear that the voice of Canadian actuaries is in growing demand, and our submissions continue to be an important way to share it.

Where We Will Go in 2019

The council is looking forward to good success in 2019 in a number of areas:

Level-One Statements

Level-one public statements, which we call submissions, are usually in response to government or regulators regarding proposed legislation or guidelines or a request for clarification of a CIA standard of practice or guidance note. Sometimes we are proactive and prepare a submission and solicit a discussion with government authorities on a matter of interest to the public where we feel actuaries have a contribution to make. One such instance is a letter sent the Minister of Finance, Bill Morneau, on enhancing flexibility for the decumulation of pension savings at retirement. This letter was co-signed by a number of groups/associations including the CIA.  

The increasing quantity, diverse content, and range of complexity of these documents has shown that not all level-one statements require the same process and attention. Therefore, the PAC, with Board approval, has recently updated the steps involved. When necessary, a submission can be flagged as “complex”, triggering a closer technical review by an additional group of subject-matter experts (e.g., the International Affairs Council for topics of global relevance, or the Pension Practice Committee for topics in their area of expertise, or any other number of CIA bodies). Furthermore, the PAC is committing to more robust follow-up and tracking to better understand the impact and reach of these statements with their target audiences.

Level-Two Statements

Level-two statements are those that require member input and Board ratification prior to their release. Such statements could be a new public position in a non-traditional practice area, a position in a traditional practice area that the CIA has not articulated previously, or any position on which there could be a significant number of differing views within the membership.

We are currently working on three level-two statements: retirement age, climate change, and risk classification. The retirement age statement is the furthest along, having completed a membership comment period in late 2018. We received valuable input, with 37 sets of written comments from groups of actuaries or companies. The Single Topic Task Force on Retirement Age recently finished reviewing these comments and updating the document. It is now being finalized with editorial and design work, and the PAC is reviewing the final version ahead of Board ratification for a spring release.

The climate change statement is nearing a version ready for membership review, while the risk classification statement is under development. The PAC’s goal for 2019 is to have at least two level-two statements released, and to start working on two new level-two statements.

The Council and its Members

One of the PAC’s successes is that when we receive a request, we have a clear process for approving that request through an authorizing committee.

I strongly believe that it is very important that all members of the PAC have an opportunity to review and comment on all submissions. There is great value in the expertise outsiders bring when they look at these statements. Statement authors provide a detailed view inside of a topic usually responding to a stakeholder who has requested our comments. PAC members see all submissions. In addition to keeping an eye on the clarity of our position and consistency with prior ones, we think about how the submission will resonate with the public and with our members.  

It is this duality that enables the CIA to respond to requests and influence public policy with a well-reasoned authority that decision makers appreciate.  

Bernard Morency, FCIA, is Chair of the Public Affairs Council.

Actuaries on the Move

Career developments

The Society of Actuaries (SOA) honoured the work of exceptional Canadian volunteers last fall. Kelly Featherstone received a 2018 SOA Outstanding Volunteer Award. Presidential Awards also went to Brian Louth, Nazir Valani, and Hélène Baril. Awards were presented by outgoing SOA President Mike Lombardi.

Great-West Life, London Life, and Canada Life has named Brad Fedorchuk Executive Vice-President, Group Customer.

Martine Ferland has recently been named incoming President and Chief Executive Officer of Mercer (effective March 1, 2019). In September, she was appointed Group President and gave an interview to La Presse that was published in early 2019.

Carole Field was appointed wealth business leader for Mercer Canada in Calgary. She will focus on identifying and executing improvements to pension and other HR programs.

Neil Haynes was appointed to the General Board of the YMCA of Greater Boston. Mr. Haynes is currently Senior Vice-president and Chief Financial Officer at Sun Life Financial U.S.

 

Actuaries in the media

At the December KPMG conference, Anh Tu Le participated in a panel discussion on data analytics and insurance. She was quoted in a Canadian Writer article entitled “Why Ozzy Osbourne is a factor for actuaries to consider” that sums up the discussion.

On the topic of current demographic change occurring in the workforce, Joseph De Dominicis, Vice-president at Morneau Shepell, is quoted in this Benefits and Pensions Monitor article.

Minaz Lalani, Chair of Besurance, is quoted in this Insurance-Canada article about the Fenchurch General Insurance acquisition. Based in Alberta, Besurance is an insurance and technology company.

Rosemary Leckie, wife of late CIA Past President Robin Leckie, wrote about his life in the Globe and Mail’s Lives Lived column. Mr. Leckie passed away in July 2018.

Manuel Monteiro was quoted in an article on the performance of defined benefit pensions published in the National Post in early January.

Jason Vary is quoted several times in this Benefits Canada article regarding the CIA’s submission to the federal government’s 2019 pre-budget consultations. In its submission, the CIA suggested several changes to pension legislation that aim to make the current retirement income system more effective in securing pension promises.

__________________________________________________________

Inform your peers about your achievements and progress by publicizing your new job, title, credentials, or other information.

Email Bonnie Robinson, the CIA’s English editor, and we will aim to include your item in the next (e)Bulletin issue.

For more news on the CIA and its activities, follow us on Twitter and on LinkedIn.

Elliott Bauer
Hannover Re (Ireland) DAC Canadian Life Branch
On the Horizon

By Gaetano Geretto, FCIA

The mandate of the CIA’s Climate Change and Sustainability Committee (CCSC) (log in required) is to raise awareness of climate change and environmental sustainability within and outside the profession, and to help the Canadian actuarial profession play a meaningful role in addressing these global challenges, both in providing advice to clients and related stakeholders, as well as offering input on public policy.

An increasing body of evidence demonstrates that climate-related issues represent a material risk to future economic stability affecting environmental, societal, and governance matters. The impact of these new emerging risks on economic and demographic assumptions used by actuaries is pervasive and may affect all areas of practice.

Climate Risks

Climate risks arise from multiple sources and entail a high degree of uncertainty both in terms of scope and timeline since the deadline to meet climate change reduction targets is becoming more immediate.

Climate risks comprise many factors including the following:

  • Physical risks arising from extreme climate events;
  • Transition risks associated with mitigation and adaptation initiatives;
  • Regulatory risks, including actions mandated by governments;
  • Liability risks as third parties may seek compensation for related damages; and
  • Timing and economic impacts of changes in lifestyles and business models resulting from the migration to a low-carbon economy.

Climate Change and Actuarial Practice

The CCSC has made available information on the CIA website (see below for additional details) and is of the opinion that CIA members need to access that information on a timely basis. Actuaries late in becoming aware of these emerging risks could suffer irreparable reputational damage and put the credibility of the profession at risk. A proactive approach is considered prudent and necessary given our status as a self-governing profession. Thus, the CCSC will recommend the prompt addition of an educational note applicable to all members reading as follows:

Actuaries would ensure that they are aware of and understand new emerging climate-related risks, and are clearly communicating the extent to which they have taken these risks into account in any relevant actuarial work, such as recommendations, decisions, pricing, valuation, estimation, etc.

The educational note would aim to make sure each member is responsible for the dynamic process of continuously updating the necessary knowledge base to maintain the quality of professional services.

Disclosure of Material Climate-Related Risks

Such guidance is in the public interest and would support the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) established under the auspices of the Financial Stability Board to develop a consistent approach to disclosures of material climate-related risks for companies when providing information to lenders, insurers, investors, and other stakeholders. Globally, more and more users of actuarial services are choosing to comply with TCFD recommendations and to apply environmental, social, and governance (ESG) principles.

The CCSC is just starting its work on developing guidance for Institute members, and we welcome comments from our colleagues on the topic.

Climate Change Resources

For those of you who may not have investigated the topic of climate change, the CCSC has published a research report entitled Climate Change and Resource Sustainability: An Overview for Actuaries, and made a number of presentations at meetings, seminars, or other activities which are accessible to all members. This material includes information on climate risks, mitigation, and adaptation initiatives.

Reference material is available on the CIA website under the Climate Change and Sustainability Resources section. In addition, members should be aware that information about the frequency of extreme weather events is available through the Actuaries Climate Index (ACI) with data updated on a quarterly/seasonal basis.

Gaetano Geretto, FCIA, is Chair of the Climate Change and Sustainability Committee.

Institute News

 

The 2019 Board elections are underway, and once again the CIA seeks enthusiastic, skilled professionals to serve. Thinking about running? To help you decide if it’s the right fit for you, we asked current and former Board members what serving on the Board has meant for them and the profession. The deadline to submit your name is April 1.

The Why

Whether it is working to shape the actuarial profession in Canada, connecting with peers, or laying the foundation for future actuaries, a role on the CIA Board provides the opportunity to reach one’s professional goals in a collaborative and exciting way.

For Benoit Miclette, Board Director and Chair of the Practice Development Council, it is the chance to be part of something bigger.

“Playing a role in the transformation of the CIA governance structure provided a valuable opportunity to think about the needs of actuaries and the role of the profession,” he says.

Marc Tardif, President-elect, has been inspired by connecting with young actuaries. “Presenting at the Actuarial Students’ National Association (ASNA) has been my most memorable experience so far,” he says, “seeing all those aspiring actuarial students and thinking about how we must all play a role in ensuring that they have good opportunities.”

For past President Dave Dickson, the Institute’s active international presence was important. “Being President exposed me to many other actuarial organizations and I met and worked with a number of actuaries from around the world,” he says.

The How

Volunteering on the Board requires time, expertise, and an ability to deliver. Actuaries are busy and the prospect of finding the time to take on more responsibility can seem daunting; however, volunteering turned out to be easy to prioritize for these Board members.

“Once you identify your purpose for volunteering, it creates the drive necessary to find a place on your agenda,” says Mr. Miclette. “For the most part, being an active volunteer, and more specifically a Board member, provides another opportunity to exercise strategic and collaborative thinking.”

Board Director Fei Xie agrees. “Although it is volunteer work, I view this more as an opportunity to learn from leaders in the profession and industry as well as discover new fields and initiatives,” she says. “Learning is important for both career and professional development. An expanded network is also an added bonus.”

The Who

We value diversity, and we want members to see themselves represented at every level of the CIA. All members should feel empowered to stand for election, to bring their diversity of backgrounds, knowledge, and points of view to the ballot. Current Board Director Renée Couture explains, “Everyone has something to contribute and no one should feel like they can’t run, nor should they be intimidated by the opportunity.”

“Diversity, across many dimensions, is the very foundation of good decision-making,” says Sharon Giffen, Immediate Past President. “All voices of our membership need to be heard and respected to secure engagement; especially at the President-elect level, this ensures that the public head of the profession reflects the values of the membership.”

President John Dark echoes those sentiments. “We need voices from throughout our profession to be heard and to have a chance to influence things,” he says. “The demographics of our profession are way different today than when I started. We’re better as a profession for that and our leadership should reflect that.”

A Special Note about President-elect

Becoming President-elect does involve a significant time commitment. While many past presidents were retired or semi-retired when they took on the role, many continued to work full time, with accommodation from their employer.

Jacques Tremblay, who served as President from 2014–2015, was one of those full-time workers, yet managed to dedicate one day each weekend to catch up on CIA matters. “You know the expression, if you want something done, give it to someone who is busy!” he said in a February 2017 (e)Bulletin article. “The reality is that you can manage this commitment. I received great support from Michel Simard, our Executive Director, and the entire CIA staff. I also received great support from my colleagues at work.”

This year, take a chance on an opportunity that offers personal growth, professional achievement, and the influence to effect change. Consider running for election. The CIA wants you!

Learn more about the 2019 Elections.

The Caribbean Actuarial Association (CAA) held its 28th Annual Conference in Kingston, Jamaica from November 28–30, 2018. Focusing on the theme “Running the Risk”, this year’s conference had over 250 participants, mostly from the Caribbean. Canada was well represented with some 25 Canadians participating or speaking at the event.

Delegates came from around the world, including the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, Brazil, Mexico, and South Africa. The CIA’s Immediate Past President Sharon Giffen, who attended the event, explains why international participation is fundamental for the CAA. “The association itself represents many Caribbean countries, but because the actuarial population of each island is relatively small, they work on international relationships to develop actuarial practice relevant to each island nation and expand their horizons,” she says. Formed in Jamaica in December 1991, the CAA became a full member of the International Actuarial Association (IAA) in December 2008.   

Public Policy and an Actuarial Pioneer

Ms. Giffen was invited as an expert on a panel about the role of actuaries in public policy. The discussion was well received with great participation from audience members including Daisy McFarlane-Coke, an actuarial pioneer in the Caribbean. Renowned for her extraordinary contributions, Ms. McFarlane-Coke was the first black woman to qualify as a Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries (now the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries) in 1970, Jamaica’s first government actuary, and the CAA’s first president. “We were privileged to have Ms. McFarlane-Coke in the audience, who spent a great deal of her career in public service and is extremely supportive of the idea that actuaries can and should speak up on matters of public policy where we have value to offer,” says Ms. Giffen.

IFRS 17, Global Capital Tests, Climate Change

Other CIA members also spoke at the event. Members Trevor Howes, Simone Brathwaite, and Cynthia Potts presented with Barbados’ Bertha Pilgrim in a session titled “IFRS 17: Procrastinate at Your Peril!” Earlier in the day, Ms. Brathwaite joined Lisa Peterson to present on global capital tests for life insurance.

Caterina Lindman also spoke during a session on the impact of climate change on Caribbean resources, a highly important topic for actuaries in that part of the world. “The session was well received,” she says. “One thing that I learned that shocked me as I prepared my talk was that even if global warming is limited to 1.5 degrees, then approximately 70 to 90 percent of coral reefs will be destroyed. The implications of this are profound. One person told me that my talk was shocking, and she said that she meant that in a good way.”    

An Opportunity to Learn and Network

A first-time attendee, Ms. Lindman enjoyed the conference. “Most memorable to me was the keynote speaker, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, a Jamaican gold-medal Olympian sprinter, who spoke about how she succeeded using great persistence and self-motivation. Also, the session on cryptocurrencies was quite informative, and the one on how Caribbean actuaries could improve the lives of Caribbean people was inspiring.”   

“The event offered a clear focus on issues of relevance to Caribbean actuarial practice, balanced with significant input from others from around the world,” says Ms. Giffen. She also underscores the fact that each edition of the CAA Conference is organized by a new Fellow. “They nominate a new Fellow to organize and manage the conference, ensuring that their new members are introduced to actuaries from around the Caribbean and become part of the community very quickly.”

Indeed, the CAA Conference provides an excellent opportunity for actuaries to make international contacts.

IAA Elects First President from Central and Eastern Europe

At its December 2018 meeting in Mexico City, the Council of the International Actuarial Association (IAA) approved the following IAA officers, effective January 1, 2019:

  • President: Gábor Hanák (Hungary);
  • President-elect: Tonya B. Manning (USA); and
  • Immediate Past President: Masaaki Yoshimura (Japan).

Mr. Hanák’s involvement with the IAA began in 2011. He served as a member of the Actuarial Standards Committee (ASC) from 2011–2017, including serving on several ASC task forces and other IAA committees. He became President-elect in 2017 and served as chair of the Strategic Planning Subcommittee in 2018. He has also previously served as chair of the Hungarian Actuarial Society and the Actuarial Association of Europe.

“The IAA is in a period of transition in many aspects,” Mr. Hanák said upon assuming the role of President. “We are facing immense challenges that the founding members of the IAA probably did not envisage. Nevertheless, the past two decades of successful operation has proven that the foundation is solid and appropriate.”

Finalizing the review of the organization’s high level strategy is one of Mr. Hanák’s priorities. “At the same time, we will review a number of aspects of our operation in order to better adapt to the current and future challenges our global profession is exposed to,” he added. “We need to combine the features a modern and forward-looking global profession needs to possess and the unique nature of the actuarial thinking, approaches, and skills.”

Read the press release.

IAA Adopts ISAP 1 (Revised) and ISAP 6

In mid-January, the IAA announced the adoption of the following:

  1. The revisions to the International Standard of Actuarial Practice 1 (ISAP 1) on General Actuarial Practice; and
  2. ISAP 6 – Enterprise Risk Management Programs and IAIS Insurance Core Principles.

The ISAPs are model standards intended for adoption by actuarial standard-setting bodies as appropriate, and as such, are not binding on any actuary.

These new model standards directly support the IAA’s strategic objective to promote the development and issuance of actuarial standards in the jurisdictions of all IAA member associations. ISAP 1 is already covered in the CIA’s general standards of practice. The Actuarial Standards Board (ASB) will discuss ISAP 6 at an upcoming meeting.

Read the press release.

Events News

Each January, Head Office staff and a group of dedicated volunteers make their way to the annual Actuarial Students’ National Association (ASNA) Convention. This year, we joined a record crowd in Montréal for three days of sessions, networking, and learning about the actuarial profession. There was no shortage of excitement among the more than 600 enthusiastic students who came with résumés in hand, hoping to land an interview or ask questions of practising actuaries.

Strategic Partners

The CIA has been a proud strategic partner to ASNA for more than 25 years and we are honoured each year to work with a talented group of students. The convention is one of our favourite career events for the opportunities that it provides to meet and network with future actuaries and future members. Aside from being a grand patron sponsor at the convention, we are proud to support ASNA throughout the year with webcast, teleconference services, translation support, and through a joint networking event each summer. We are very excited to be working on a job portal, to help connect students and future employers, with plans to launch it later this year.

Organized entirely by students, this annual convention, which attracts students from across Canada, grows each year. Key features include a career fair, education and information sessions, job interviews, a case competition, as well as networking and social events spread over three days. This year, registration sold out prior to the close of early-bird rates!

Mobile App

New this year was the CIA-supplied mobile app. The app was used 16,144 times with a 75.4 percent adoption rate. Delegates built their personal schedules, checked out the program, and connected using the app. They also enjoyed the game centre feature, where they could compete for prizes as the top gamer.

First Impressions

Executive Director Michel Simard and the photographer prepare a student for his head shot.

For many students, this was their first foray into the professional world, a chance to meet with company executives and forge connections that might one day bring them closer to the career of their dreams. We were thrilled to once again provide attendees with a free professional headshot so they can make a great first impression with their LinkedIn profile picture.

Engaging Sessions  

In The Question is the Answer game, our take on the popular Jeopardy! game show, students teamed up to demonstrate what they knew about math, actuaries and pop culture, education, and more. With noisemakers in hand, they battled to the final round and left armed with knowledge about professionalism and the role the CIA will play as their lifelong career partner.    

A crowd favourite, our TED-style talk series gave students first-hand insight into the practice through four 10-minute presentations.

Amplification

A highlight of the convention was President-elect Marc Tardif’s gala presentation where he spoke about the importance for the next generation of actuaries to develop good communication skills, to have the courage of conviction as a professional, and to deliver one’s message clearly. Wild applause erupted when he announced he was a Laval graduate, and cheers closed the session when one lucky delegate at each table found out they had won their own personal amplifier (otherwise known as a Bluetooth wireless speaker), to remind them of the valuable knowledge they received about how they can excel as an actuary.

Special thanks go to these CIA members who volunteered their time to help inspire future actuaries: Marc Tardif, Joseph Nunes, Sébastien Bernard, Vincent Quirion, Alexandre Charest, and Jean-Philippe Simard.

Our next ASNA event takes place in Toronto in August 2019. If you would like to help us inspire future actuaries, contact Alicia Rollo.

Ethics and Professionalism

By Frank Grossman, FCIA

Just the other day, I was roused from my big-city insouciance during a routine elevator assent when the car stopped en route and its doors opened. In trooped a trio on the return leg of a shopping trip: Grandpa carrying the groceries, Grandma steering an empty stroller, with the obvious apple of their eyes—a flaxen-haired moppet—leading the way. Without ceremony, the toddler stepped across to the panel, and stretched upwards on tippy-toes to press the “18” button. “Only three years old, and she knows how to press buttons,” said Grandma—which set me thinking.

The Prevalence of Push Buttons

Without question, we live in a push-button world. Countless modern conveniences, even heavy machinery such as elevators, are commanded without a second thought by the simple pushing or pressing of a button. And who doesn’t like to be in the position to push buttons, to have control over the stimulus that delivers a solution to their problem? Yet, it is fair to say that far fewer people enjoy having their buttons pushed by someone else.

This is particularly so given the rise of “on-demand” 24/7 culture. Increasingly, the expectation of a nearly instantaneous reply, at all hours, accompanies each push-button missive. Consider the state of your own electronic communications—texts, tweets, Instagrams, even retrograde emails—in this regard. Though patience may once have been a virtue, “Give it to me—yesterday!” seems to be the watchword for many people now.

Hard-Pressed Actuaries?

It might be worth considering the potential influence of a push-button imperative on contemporary actuarial practice. Have you ever felt a reluctance to cause even the slightest delay in the delivery of work product due to the demand for a prompt turnaround? Might the pressure of coming up with a quick answer provide an incentive for an actuary to employ a special prism through which complex problems appear amenable to simple solutions? After all, a perennial theme of many professionalism case studies is the scenario wherein an actuary has been asked to do too much with too little—including time.

In days past, actuarial curiosity—a willingness to turn over rocks and to try new approaches—was thought to be a good thing. Yet push-button tasks are by definition those that can be repeated. And a habitual reliance on rote solutions or techniques may bring an actuary into direct competition with expert systems—that generally have both a speed and cost advantage—as well as leaving him or her “out of practice” when innovation is the order of the day. Some assignments, despite intense button pushing, merit some unhurried deliberation. And it is a wise actuary who knows when to stop and think whether there might be a better way.

A push-button approach to work also has the potential to cause an ethical distancing of sorts. An actuary at the receiving end of a push-button stimulus—who rightly or wrongly feels unable to “push back”—may lapse into a pliant “just following orders” attitude. On the other hand, an actuarial button presser who initiates a course of action may presume a diminished professional responsibility because he or she relied on others to do the work. This situation is akin to the experience of push-button warriors who conduct military operations at a distance at the touch of a button, with over-the-horizon consequences.

That Something Not Left Behind

Modern touchscreens require the application of gentle pressure on a pane instead of pushing a button. And this has led to the practice of swiping to turn virtual pages, or to register a "like" in response to a social media posting. But what this new technology has left behind is the sensory experience of pressing a physical button. I am referring to the strangely satisfying physical resistance, and accompanying “ca-chunk” sound, when making a musical selection on your local diner’s vintage jukebox. Or the rapid fire and somehow reassuring “click-click-click” of a Blackberry’s keyboard.

The term skeuomorphism describes the follow-on legacy of a technological or design element once it no longer has any practical use—an instance of form outlasting its function. These anachronistic features are deliberately retained to make something new seem more familiar and provide psychological comfort in a changing world. Skeuomorphisms include the user interface of an audio app that is replete with touchscreen dials and buttons—not real dials and buttons—which hearken back to an earlier time. Another example is the superfluous shutter click that a smartphone’s camera makes—or rather, that its nostalgic user may choose to invoke.

The Way Forward

The Canadian actuarial profession has obviously set aside some of its historical tools, such as paper spreadsheets, slide rules, and commutation functions, as we have progressed over the last half century. But I wonder if there are any skeuomorphic qualities that we are loath to discard as we venture into new and emerging areas of practice? Familiar—maybe even stereotypical—traits that delivered tangible value to our principals and publics in the past but may not be so well-suited to the road ahead?

In this digital age, ours is very likely a shrinking push-button world, one with fewer of the usual buttons to be pressed in the traditional manner. By the time the toddler from the elevator reaches her grandparent’s age, she may launch a complex process (I hesitate to use the term “mechanism”) with the merest twinkle of her eye—and no need of a push button. So, I also wonder what type of actuarial services she will require during her lifetime, and how our profession will evolve to serve her needs?

Frank Grossman, FCIA, is a member of the General Business and Professionalism Subcommittee of the Continuing Education Committee.

What changes have you seen in your actuarial practice? How do you think actuarial services will evolve? Join the conversation by contacting Josée Gonthier, manager, communications.

Volunteers on the Move

Board

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

  • Governance and Nominations Committee
    • Elections Committee: Rob Stapleford (Chair), François Boulanger, Dave Dickson, Luc Farmer, Alana Farrell, Abid Kazmi, Marc-André Melançon, Mercy Yan.
  • Practice Development Council:
    • Appointed/Valuation Actuary Committee: Wallace Bridel (Vice-chair) and Phillip Watson (Vice-chair), effective March 1, 2019; Julia Viinikka, effective December 19, 2018.
    • Climate Change and Sustainability Committee: Gaetano Geretto (Chair), effective December 13, 2018.
    • Enterprise Risk Management Practice Committee: Mario Robitaille (Chair), effective January 9, 2019.
    • Pension Practice Committee: Joe Nunes (Chair), effective November 16, 2018.
  • Research Council:
    • Experience Research Committee: Amy Gao and Henry Leung, effective immediately.
  • Standards and Guidance Council:
    • Committee on Pension Plan Financial Reporting: Jared Mickall (Vice-chair), effective February 1, 2019.

The following people have completed their term with the councils and committees named below, and leave with thanks:

  • Governance and Nominations Committee:
    • Elections Committee: Alan Cooke, Simon Curtis, Pierre Lepage, and Joseph Nunes.
  • Practice Development Council:
    • Appointed/Valuation Actuary Committee: Elizabeth Boulanger (Vice-chair, remains the ASB Liaison), Daniel Pellerin, and Jean Roy.
    • Enterprise Risk Management Practice Committee: Danielle Harrison.
    • Pension Practice Committee: Michel St-Germain.
    • Climate Change and Sustainability Committee: Catherine Jacques-Brissette (Chair, remains a member).
  • Research Council:
    • Experience Research Committee: Chris Piper and Julia Viinikka.
  • Standards and Guidance Council
    • Committee on Pension Plan Financial Reporting: Andrew Gillies.
    • Committee on Property and Casualty Insurance Financial Reporting: Jean Roy.
Head Office Update



The CIA Head Office produced a record number of publications in 2018, from submissions to research papers and guidance material.

Research Papers and Reports

With 7.5 percent of the annual budget allocated to research and the addition of a manager of research at the Head Office, the number of published research papers and reports increased to 20 in 2018, compared to 11 in 2017. Given the extended research process from beginning to end, this is huge milestone. Aside from our annual mortality study and report on economic statistics (log in required), the papers that attracted the most attention from members were the following:

“Last year [2018] was a very successful year for CIA research staff and volunteers with so many projects completed,” says Keith Walter, Chair of the Research Council. “This took a great effort from so many people and those efforts are appreciated. We will continue to work with staff, volunteers, researchers, and CIA members to find more ways to advance actuarial practice in Canada with new and innovative research in the future.”

In terms of media coverage and online engagement, a few of our papers were mentioned in articles and others received good engagement on Twitter and LinkedIn. In particular, the new CPP enhancements paper was covered in a Globe and Mail article, and another one, Retirement Consumption, Risk Perception and Planning Objectives was mentioned in an Investment Executive article and received good attention on LinkedIn. The Actuarial Review of Insurer Insolvencies and Future Preventions also attracted a lot of attention from our members on Twitter.  

Check our research projects page to see active and upcoming papers.

Standards and Professional Practice Material

Among policies, guidance material, and other administrative documents, the professional practice and governance department published a number of educational notes, exposure drafts, and documents related to the standards of practice in 2018: 10 educational notes, 7 exposure drafts, 5 preliminary communications, 1 report on criminal convictions, and 7 documents related to the standards. 

Educational notes have attracted a lot of attention on the website, the most popular being the following:

As for the standards, they are the documents that members access most on the website. The two standards with the most views in 2018 are Standards of Practice – Insurance (Effective February 22, 2018) and Standards of Practice – Pensions (Effective March 1, 2019).

“The Standards and Guidance Council consists of a highly experienced, knowledgeable, and dedicated group of actuaries from each area of practice,” says Faisal Siddiqi, Chair of the Standards and Guidance Council. “Each of our members works closely with the four main practice committees (life, P&C, pension, and capital requirements) to develop and approve educational notes that will ultimately help each practising actuary get their work done in accordance with accepted actuarial practice and, ultimately, for the benefit of the public.”

With the upcoming implementation of IFRS 17, make sure to visit the IFRS 17 blog (log in required) for recent details and upcoming news.

Submissions

Last year, the communications team published 27 submissions, compared to 15 in 2017. Increased relationships and involvement with our different stakeholders and business partners help explain these numbers. The submissions that attracted the most attention from members are the following:

In 2018, submissions went to three provinces (Ontario, Québec, Manitoba), regulators, and federal ministries, as well as a number of international bodies (such as the International Actuarial Association (IAA), the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS), and the IASB). Our work involved practice areas such as life insurance, pensions, property and casualty (P&C) insurance, health care, social security, and actuarial evidence. A large portion of the areas where our members work was covered.

“We would not have been able to complete these statements were it not for the hard work of the numerous volunteer members who helped us draft the content,” says Bernard Morency, Chair of the Public Affairs Council. “We greatly appreciate their efforts, as these submissions ensure that the voice of the actuarial profession is heard on a very wide range of issues.” 

Please visit our submissions page to see more.

Miscellaneous Publications

The communications team also published other documents related to different projects. Among them are press releases, which went from three in 2017 to seven in 2018, mainly due to the launch of the Actuaries Climate Index (ACI). The team also continues to publish the monthly (e)Bulletin. It also published one-time documents, with the help of other departments and members, like the predictive modelling booklet, which received good engagement on Twitter (72 clicks) and the education syllabus.

The Institute produced a lot of publications in 2018 with more to come in 2019. A large group of people and members contributed to these documents and we would like to thank each and every one of them for their work and support.

If you would like any information on our publications, please contact Josée Gonthier, our manager of communications.