Farewell Remarks of 2018-19 Academy President Shawna Ackerman at the American Academy of Actuaries Annual Meeting and Public Policy Forum in Washington, D.C. on Nov. 5, 2019
Ackerman: When I spoke at last year’s Annual Meeting as the new president, I talked about the Academy’s voice and the importance of that voice being independent, objective, and effective.
Since then, I’ve had the opportunity and honor to represent the Academy before many different audiences.
The experience has only reinforced the importance of the Academy’s role and unique voice.
Highlights include the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ meetings that I have attended where I have presented alongside members of the Actuarial Standards Board, the Actuarial Board of Counseling and Discipline, and the Committee on Qualifications, and watched Academy volunteer upon Academy volunteer update regulators on the research and work that they have engaged in on behalf of the U.S. actuarial profession.
Another highlight was representing the Academy at the 44th Annual Enrolled Actuaries Meeting.
What do I mean when I say the Academy’s voice is unique?
Like a person’s fingerprint, we have a unique “voiceprint” that is identifiably ours.
It reflects the public policy and professionalism mission that defines our purpose.
It reflects the principles of objectivity and independence that guide our work.
And it has a specific depth and character reflected in the composition and professional expertise of our cross-practice, broad-based membership which from our first days has included actuaries of all practice areas in the U.S.
Of all the audiences I speak to as Academy president, none is more aware than you of the distinctive features and credibility that our voice represents.
Nor of the level of dedication required to achieve it.
Many of you are personally involved in our public policy and professionalism work and in coordinating the efforts of volunteers who give their time and thought leadership to fulfilling our mission.
Thank you to all of the Academy volunteers and the Academy staff.
And if you are not currently involved in such volunteerism, I invite you to join your colleagues for what you will find to be a rewarding way to support the profession, serve the public and to personally grow in experience and develop life-long ties to your fellow actuaries.
The day-to-day work involved in supporting the Academy as the unified, objective voice for our national profession can be painstaking.
But I hope I’ve used my voice as president to express how meaningful and rewarding the results of our work are, and how what we do resonates in daily practice for actuaries and in the daily lives of millions of Americans.
I’ve found it rewarding to be at the helm of the Academy as we’ve engaged in dialogues with regulators, policymakers, and stakeholders on important issues like:
- Actuarial qualifications.
- Principle-based reserving.
- Multiemployer and public pension plans.
- Health insurance reform.
- Flood insurance and climate risk, among many others.
Saying that I’m proud of our work almost seems like an understatement; but I don’t know how else to express it other than that I am proud of our contribution to sound public policy and professionalism.
And with the fine leadership team that the Academy has, I know it will continue.
I’ve heard many compliments from others throughout the year, both inside and outside the Academy, regarding the quality, depth, and breadth of our work.
It includes Capitol Hill briefings and visits, issue papers and comment letters, webinars and events, and much more, including our new professionalism podcast series, aptly named “Actuary Voices.”
I hope you’ll have a chance to listen in.
Compliments also often come from representatives or members of national actuarial organizations around the world eager to understand our success and our model of self-regulation, and to take valuable lessons home to their own organizations.
The Academy has a strong desire to share our story, approaches, and challenges with others — and to learn from others.
This year, the Board of Directors took steps to strengthen our approach to international issues, which going forward will involve more direct contact with organizations of interest on issues concerning the U.S. actuarial profession as a whole, as well as continuing to build on the relationships we have established with other actuarial organizations around the world.
The Board also took steps to help ensure that our voice on professionalism and public policy issues remains dynamic, distinctive, and relevant, with the adoption of a new strategic plan for the Academy developed under the leadership of Joeff Williams, our incoming president.
I know that with this plan in place and with leaders like Joeff and our President-Elect Tom Campbell, our independent, objective, and effective voice will continue to resonate with actuaries and non-actuaries alike to make us proud of what we continue to accomplish together.