Accredited actuaries must complete continuing education hours each year and conferences are held to meet these needs. My boss is active in one of the regional education bodies and invited a coworker and I to go. The first session was on a piece of legislation affecting insurance companies which requires a certain type of financial report each year. The discussion was a round table and I quickly realized that no two people there had the same experience. Some people were reserving actuaries, others pricing, others do everything. Each in different lines, each in different size firms, and across a spread of states that may choose to interpret the requirements differently. This was a gathering of actuaries specifically in the property casualty field and a presentation specifically for companies that’d be affected and still there was enough diversity among 35 people that no one really had anyone else they could specifically ask.
The next session was a presentation by the president of a risk retention group, a special type of insurer, in this case for schools. The presenter made a few interesting notes:
1) The firm expects more people to be going through schools but for less time.
2) Schools offering credit for work and life experience are popping up.
3) The IT dream for insurers hasn’t come. I think the phrase was “IT was a promise that turned out to be a black hole that sucks in money.”
4) Schools being liable for sexual assault is leading towards universal requirements that students take online defense and anti-assault training. Huge drop in claims for schools that do.
5) Top tier schools are stuck for innovation. Regional colleges are mostly doing the innovative stuff.
6) For Profit schools haven’t really taken off.
Some of the other sessions were either above me or boring, but one later in the day focused on actuaries on Capital Hill. The presenter talked about how he realized the actuarial world needed to get better at messaging when a leading Republican senator said “I like actuaries, they’re truth tellers. But I don’t know what you’re saying half the time.” The presenter also made mention of another law maker who had said “I didn’t really buy climate change when the scientists talked to me about forecasts or hippy dippy types kept talking to me, but when actuaries started giving presentations about the effects, I knew something was happening”. This last part made me a little proud. The presenter also noted that it was hard to get actuaries to go to DC. “People who can talk to a lawmaker and have that kind of numerical skill are usually bought up by someone”. Interesting.
The day was long. I knew two people there from outside of my firm out of 200 but I imagine that’ll change over time. It felt good to be part of a larger actuarial community but I was alarmed at how few people there were under the age of 40. Many of the students present weren’t necessarily going into the actuarial field. I hope it’s not the case that I’ll be forever part of the younger attendees.