President's Message (February 16, 2010)

Dear Academy Colleague,

This email is another in our on-going attempt to keep members informed of the work of the Academy.

Looking outwardly, our practice councils are actively pursuing projects that assist legislators and regulators understanding of actuarial issues and to raise the visibility of the profession.

Hopefully all of you are aware of the Academy's work in the health care reform process. Vice President Al Bingham and his Health Practice Council team have succeeded in providing important actuarial analysis without being seen as partisan--not an easy task with this highly politicized issue. Key legislators of both parties have consistently sought out the Academy's input. Of course, our motivation is to help Congress reach the best possible outcome, but at the same time, we also hope to raise the appreciation of actuarial input on Capitol Hill. To view Academy work products related to health care reform, please visit:

Under the direction of Vice President Art Panighetti, the Life Practice Council continues to lead efforts in shaping a principle-based approach to life reserve and capital requirements. This is a paradigm shift in the determination of risk for life products and its success is reliant upon appropriate regulation and oversight of principle-based reserve and capital requirement processes. As the National Association of Insurance Commissioners seeks to conclude its adoption process of model Standard Valuation Law and regulations later this summer, our members continue working with regulators as the states will begin their adoption process in the next legislative sessions beginning in 2011.

On more inward-looking issues, Bill Bluhm, chair of the newly reconstituted Governance Task Force, has completed staffing the committee. This group will undertake an extensive review of the Academy's governance, including the composition and size of our board of directors, the leadership structure and how those directors and leaders are selected. We had 87 members comment and/or volunteer to serve on this Task Force, and I thank you for your interest. I warn you that this will be a lengthy process requiring significant research, outside input, and potentially, bylaws changes; however, progress will be measured and communicated. The task force will soon have a webpage on the Academy site to keep members posted on its progress.

In addition, President-elect Mary Frances Miller has named our Strategic Planning Committee for 2010. The committee assists the board of directors in identifying key strategic issues for the Academy and developing tactics to address those issues. This is the first year in our three-year planning cycle in which the Academy's strategic plan is thoroughly reviewed and updated (the following two years involve more "tweaking" and monitoring). Mary Frances will keep you apprised of the recommendations of this committee through a forthcoming webpage.

Lastly, a summary of the Academy's board of directors meeting on Jan. 28 is now available in the members-only section of the website.

Thank you again for your time and support. As always, we appreciate your comments and ideas - you can email us at


Ken Hohman
American Academy of Actuaries