Inaugural Remarks of 2020-21 Academy President Tom Campbell at the American Academy of Actuaries' Virtual Annual Meeting and Public Policy Forum on Nov. 5, 2020
Thank you, Joeff, for your leadership.
I want to congratulate you again for leading the Academy as president with a laser-like focus on ensuring the Academy remains effective amid all the changes this past year has brought.
Those of you who know me, know that I’m an avid cyclist – I’m on my road bike whenever I have time. As I start my year as president, I can’t help but draw an analogy of going on a group bike ride. When you ride in a group, different riders take a turn riding at the front of the group, sometimes called a “pull,” because it makes it easier for the other riders.
With Joeff finishing his figurative pull at the front and my taking a turn up front, my job is to press forward for the Academy team with the same focus on our accomplishing our mission effectively, with the goal of doing my best to give President-Elect Maryellen Coggins the best starting position possible next year.
One lesson I’ve learned in biking that seems apt in light of all the changes of the past year is: No matter how carefully you map your route, there’s almost always a surprise – like a detour or a wrong turn – and you can find yourself on an unfamiliar road, or facing an unwelcomed headwind, or a steep hill you weren’t expecting. In those situations, you trust your training, and you take on the challenge. It’s a simple analogy, but I believe an instructive one. None of us knows what the future will bring, but whatever it may be, as actuaries, we trust our training and experience, and we apply it to the new situation, which allows us to take on new challenges.
As my year as Academy president begins, you might think of me as the Academy member in the proverbial yellow jersey. I will bring all my knowledge of the Academy and experience working with the Board and many volunteers to bear for the success of the team--to make the most of it not only when the road ahead is easy, but also to overcome any unexpected challenges.
I like to think of each of us as a rider at the front of the Academy group ride on a long route that was originally mapped by the Academy’s founders. They were--and we are--dedicated to bringing the best minds and efforts of the U.S. actuarial profession to public policy dialogues, and to maintaining, strengthening, and elevating the self-regulated professionalism structure that lives in the Academy.
Our turn at the front of the Academy group ride that began more than 50 years ago has now arrived. We keep the mission in mind, and pay forward what we’ve gained through our Academy membership and volunteer experience to the team members who will be next up at the front of the long ride, and generations of future actuaries and the public who benefit from the Academy’s work.
The public policy and professionalism issues and challenges facing our profession and our society have changed over generations, but what’s important is that the ride continues so that the Academy is well-positioned and able to continue to address them in the present. For past Academy leaders, volunteers, and members who preceded us, those challenges and issues have included seminal moments such as:
- The then newly established Medicare and Medicaid programs, and the subsequent Medicare reforms and Medicaid expansions.
- The recognition of Academy membership as qualification for signing NAIC insurance company annual statements actuarial opinions.
- The establishment and adoption of the Code of Professional Conduct, the U.S. Qualification Standards and the creation of the Actuarial Standards Board and the Actuarial Board for Counseling and Discipline within the Academy’s professionalism structure.
- The enactment and implementation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, or ERISA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, the Pension Protection Act, and the Affordable Care Act.
- The 1983 reform of Social Security; and
- The development and adoption of life principle-based reserving for statutory reporting.
That’s just to name a few.
For decades, Academy leaders and volunteers have provided invaluable input and effort on the issues and challenges of their times. With 2021 just ahead, I look forward to leading the Academy team from the foundation they created to provide an objective actuarial perspective on the public policies, public programs, and emerging professionalism issues of today. Those include the uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences, new initiatives to assess and address racial inequities in insurance, and adding to the understanding of climate risk and its financial security implications. No doubt, new issues and challenges will emerge as we ride through the final days of 2020 and then begin to see what the new year holds in store.
Ensuring that the Academy’s long ride dating back to the founders continues means keeping an eye not just to the present, but also the future. I hope to use my year as president to highlight the value of the Academy and urge Academy members to show others how that value affects them, so that our vital work will continue, the ride will keep on going. I will challenge Academy members and others, like employers of actuaries who support and facilitate membership and volunteerism, to recognize and share the value of the Academy and Academy membership. Ensuring that the Academy’s work will continue means cultivating future Academy leaders and members, including younger actuaries.
I look forward to this year, and thank you for the honor of serving as your president.