The Meaning of Your Membership
Membership in the American Academy of Actuaries means that you recognize yourself as a member of a profession—a profession that holds itself to high standards of conduct, practice, and qualification and strives to serve the public as well as the U.S. actuarial profession. The Academy’s work in professionalism and public policy provides valuable benefits to every member of our profession.
As a professional, you know that your reputation is important—and you help maintain your individual reputation for being objective and independent by being part of a membership that is known collectively for being objective, and independent through the policies, procedures, and culture that the Academy embodies in its work.
New in 2020
In a period of great uncertainty, the Academy brought objective analysis to issues stemming from the global pandemic. The Academy released several high-profile, public-facing initiatives this year, in an effort to educate and engage the public we serve.
- The Academy developed answers to some frequently asked questions (FAQs) to share insights on COVID-19’s potential effects on health care spending and the private health insurance system, on the Medicaid program and Medicaid managed care organizations, and on COVID-19 and financial reporting. We also hosted cross-practice and practice-specific webinars focused on the implications of the pandemic and developed a resource page with links to many COVID-19 information resources.
- With in-person conferences and other events canceled across the country due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Academy has redoubled its commitment to offer relevant virtual continuing education (CE) opportunities to fulfill your professionalism obligations, which are so important to maintaining the public’s trust in our profession. And new this year—a group rate makes it more economical than ever for an organization to take advantage of the Academy’s excellent CE offerings.
- The Academy focuses on the important topic of diversity and inclusion. A statement from President D. Joeff Williams, letter to the NAIC, a new initiative by the Health Practice Council on health equity and an in-depth interview in HealthCheck thereupon, a webinar on the same topic, and an upcoming plenary session on diversity and equity at the Annual Meeting and Public Policy Forum—the Academy has corralled its resources this year around these issues in 2020.
- The Academy published 2020—Making Issues Count, a series of nonpartisan guides offering voters background information on six issues areas in which actuaries have unique expertise: Social Security; Medicare and Medicaid; health insurance coverage; lifetime income and retirement risk; climate risk; and long-term care financing.
- The Academy in 2020 developed and hosted a three-part webinar series focused on the current state of the retirement system.
- The Academy introduced the first model and results of the Actuaries Climate Risk Index (ACRI), which provides results associating dollar estimates of property losses in the United States with changes in extreme weather. The Academy released the ACRI to provide that objective and independent analysis to assist in answering the question: Are the extreme weather conditions that result from a changing climate producing increased property losses?
- The Academy rolled out the “Member Spotlight” this year. This new feature in Actuarial Update—which originates in the “Professionalism First” hub—introduces actuaries who share a bit about their professional life and offers a bit about their personal life as well.
Your membership reflects the profession’s self-regulatory structure that is housed at and maintained by the Academy. Through our important professionalism resources, bodies, and activities, the Academy enhances the value of your credential and the professional reputation and independence of the actuarial profession.
Academy membership also provides you with the ability to support and maintain the high level of professionalism we expect of one another through our providing the structure that enables the:
- Code of Professional Conduct
- U.S. Qualification Standards (USQS)
- In 2020, the Committee on Qualifications released an exposure draft of a revised version of the USQS, along with a request for comments.
- Actuarial standards of practice (ASOPs), developed by the Actuarial Standards Board (ASB)
- In 2020, the ASB has adopted one new ASOP and three revised ASOPs, approved six exposures of proposed new or revised ASOPs, and introduced a new template for submitting comments on exposure drafts.
- Read the ASB’s 2019 Annual Report, released in March 2020.
- Applicability Guidelines for ASOPs
- Requests for guidance (RFGs) and investigation of potential violations of the Code through the Actuarial Board for Standards and Discipline (ABCD)
- The ABCD in 2020 is on pace to undertake a record number of RFGs.
- Read the ABCD’s 2019 Annual Report, released in February 2020.
- The “Professionalism First” hub, featuring:
- Other professionalism resources, such as webinars and discussion papers
In June, the Committee on Professional Responsibility released a new discussion paper. Self-Regulation and the Actuarial Profession is intended to generate discussion among actuaries about the importance of self-regulation and how individual actuaries can help preserve self-regulation. It aims to raise actuaries’ awareness of the importance and value of self-regulation and identify actuaries’ responsibilities with respect to maintaining self-regulation of the actuarial profession in the United States.
As it does each year, the Academy has held quarterly professionalism webinars in 2020 to help members stay current with developments in the world of actuarial professionalism—and earn necessary professionalism continuing education (CE) at the same time. Members also have free and unlimited access to the Academy’s entire library of professionalism webinars, which date back to September 2007. This year, the Academy presented the following webinars:
- The New Modeling ASOP: ASOP No. 56
- In Times of Uncertainty, Professionalism Is Certain
- Tales From the Dark Side: Trick or Treat!
- (Another ASB webinar, planned for December)
Each month in Actuarial Update, members can read “Professionalism Counts,” a column that contains news and information germane to actuaries in all practice areas. Throughout the year, “Professionalism Counts” offers tips and reminders that help members keep professionalism front and center. Recent examples include:
- “Your Professionalism Questions Answered” (September 2020)
- “Disclosures: A Matter of Integrity, Honesty, and Competence” (July 2020)
- “Q&A: Self-Regulation and the Actuarial Profession” (June 2020)
- “More Than Just Numbers: The Importance of Clear Communication” (March 2020)
The Academy is dedicated to assuring that public policy is developed with input based on relevant objective actuarial analysis. In 2020, Academy committees and work groups offered policymakers and regulators actuarial perspectives on:
- Casualty issues including business interruption insurance, presumptive benefits in workers’ compensation, wildfire risk, and flood insurance
- Health issues including issue briefs on health insurance premium drivers, health insurance risk mitigation, long-term care products, smarter spending, and Medicaid costs
- Life issues including a white paper taxation of life insurers, a practice note on risk-focused examinations, and many comment letters on principle-based reserving (PBR) for life insurance and fixed and variable annuities
- Pension issues including issue briefs on the impact of COVID-19 on pension plans, multiemployer plan selection of assumptions, Social Security solvency, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation single-employer premiums, retirement income planning, asset allocation and the investment return assumption, and the SECURE Act
- Risk management and financial reporting issues including solvency, climate risk disclosures, and financial reporting
When the Academy is invited to testify before congressional committees and state and federal regulatory bodies, it assures that the actuarial perspective is a part of important policy development considerations. The Academy’s credibility on public policy issues reflects positively on and to the credibility of our members.
And the Academy makes sure that its members are kept informed of state and federal legislation and regulations relevant to actuarial practice, through practice-specific and cross-practice alerts, through StateScan, a portal that highlights state legislation and regulation across the country that may be of interest to practicing actuaries, and through practice-specific publications—Casualty Quarterly; HealthCheck; Life Perspectives; and The Retirement Report.
As a member of the American Academy of Actuaries, you benefit from the breadth of educational opportunities and public-facing initiatives. Here just a few undertaken in 2020.
As part of its mission to serve the public, the Academy released or revised several new tools of significant interest to the public at large in 2020, including:
The Actuaries Climate Index™ (ACI) is an educational tool designed to help inform actuaries, public policymakers, and the general public about climate trends and some of the potential impacts of a changing climate on the United States and Canada. The index is an objective measure of observed changes in extreme weather and sea levels. The Academy sponsors the ACI with the Canadian Institute of Actuaries, Casualty Actuarial Society, and Society of Actuaries.
The actuarial profession is constantly challenged to be current—and Academy membership provides you access to informative and insightful membership publications to help you stay abreast of the latest trends in all areas of actuarial practice, not just the area in which you practice.
Contingencies, the Academy’s award-winning bimonthly magazine of the U.S. actuarial profession, offers diverse perspectives and innovative ideas across all practice areas.
Actuarial Update, the monthly newsletter that covers the latest actuarial public policy and professionalism news and issues, highlighting Academy activities in these areas.
And every Friday, This Week compiles a week’s worth of breaking news, updates, events, and media coverage in one convenient, easy-to-read publication.
Webinars, Seminars, and Events—Virtual in 2020
Members have access to numerous professionalism and public policy educational events, ranging from webinars to in-depth, hands-on seminars. As the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic led to travel restrictions and stay-at-home orders, the Academy pivoted to meet your needs by expanding our online offerings and moving our highly regarded seminars to virtual events. Topics span all practice areas and a wide variety of subjects relating to public policy and professionalism:
- Life and Health Qualifications Seminar
- PBR Boot Camp
- Seminar on Effective P/C Loss Reserve Opinions
In addition, members have access to a library of archived webinars; reviewing the materials can provide no-cost continuing education (CE) credits.
Renew Your Membership
Don’t miss out on all these valuable member resources and opportunities. Make sure you can share in the professionalism and public policy mission of the Academy by renewing your membership today.
To pay your dues without logging in, simply click the link in the email from D. Joeff Williams that brought you to this page. To review and modify your membership information before paying your dues, go to the members-only page of the Academy website. Log in with your user ID and password and follow the instructions to pay your dues.