Annual Meeting and Public Policy Forum Features High-Profile Speakers, Practice-Area Breakout Sessions
The Academy’s Annual Meeting and Public Policy Forum, held Thursday and Friday as a hybrid event, covered current public policy and professionalism topics; high-level issues like insurance regulation and diversity, equity & inclusion (DE&I); presentation of the Academy’s annual service awards; and included the presidential transition of Maryellen Coggins succeeding Tom Campbell as the Academy’s 57th president. Coggins cited the “transformational events” in the past few years and said “the cycle of renewal is a potent force that is built into the Academy’s governance. … Change and renewal can be allies in our work.”
In-person attendees at the Fairmont Hotel in Washington, D.C., were treated to an exclusive opening plenary—election insights from Robert Costa, co-author of the bestselling book Peril, which covered the transition from the Trump to the Biden administration. Costa gave an overview of U.S. politics, including the Jan. 6 events on Capitol Hill, this week’s gubernatorial elections in Virginia and New Jersey, and the Biden administration’s challenges in getting large-scale legislation passed.
After that opening session, all attendees of the event—those who joined virtually and those in person at the Fairmont—heard high-profile speakers, including:
Data scientist and author Cathy O’Neil, author of the bestseller Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy, opened the professionalism plenary session, discussing how algorithms can potentially do harm and emphasizing the need to scrutinize inputs. “Algorithms often replace a difficult conversation, but using the ethical framework is a way to have that difficult conversation,” she said. O’Neil’s presentation led into a lively discussion of the professionalism implications of big data-related issues. The session was moderated by incoming Academy President-Elect Ken Kent, and panelists were Data Science and Analytics Committee Chairperson Dorothy Andrews; Health Equity Work Group Chairperson Annette James; and Jim Guszcza, a research affiliate at the Center for Advanced Study of the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University.
A DE&I plenary session that included opening remarks by National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) Vice President, NAIC Special (EX) Committee on Race and Insurance Co-Vice Chair, and Missouri Insurance Director Chlora Lindley-Myers; Kilolo Kijakazi, acting commissioner of the Social Security Administration; and Dora Hughes, senior adviser at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, all of whom gave an overview of practice-area equity issues being addressed by their agencies. That was followed by a panel discussion featuring Seong-min Eom, incoming Academy vice president, risk management and financial reporting; Jeff Johnson, co-chairperson of the Life Practice Council (LPC) Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Task Force; Annette James, chairperson of the Academy’s Health Equity Work Group (HEWG); Lauren Cavanaugh, Academy vice president, casualty; and Sherry Chan, incoming vice president, pension. They outlined how DE&I issues are being addressed in each practice area.
Representatives from six organizations dedicated to diversity and inclusion in the actuarial profession took part in a plenary-session conversation on the work being accomplished to advance DE&I within the actuarial profession. The session began with Jason Leppin, executive director of the Actuarial Foundation, who spoke about its Math Motivators program, which provides free math tutoring services to students who might not otherwise be able to afford it. This was followed by a panel discussion moderated by Campbell and featuring speakers from actuarial organizations—Amber Rohde, Network of Actuarial Women and Allies; Daniel Fernandez, president, Organization of Latino Actuaries; Dwayne Husbands, president, International Association of Black Actuaries; Jake Akstins, co-founder, Sexuality and Gender Alliance of Actuaries; Sherry Chan, incoming Academy pension vice president and co-founder of Abacus Actuaries. They discussed the work they are doing to address challenges facing their members to be successful in the profession and the industries in which they practice.
The “Level Up? The Progression of Insurance Regulation Spanning the International, Federal, and State Levels” session looked at global standard-setting, federal oversight, and state regulatory action levels solvency considerations and issues such as group capital insurance capital standards, including a look at the Academy’s research on scalar methodologies. Panelists were International Association of Insurance Supervisors Deputy Secretary General Romain Paserot, Federal Reserve System Board of Governors Senior Associate Director Tom Sullivan, NAIC Assistant Director for International Relations and Policy Ryan Workman, Academy Assistant Director of Research (Public Policy) Steve Jackson, and new Academy President Maryellen Coggins.
Friday’s closing session, “COVID-19: A Prognosis of the Pandemic’s Implications Based on Lessons Learned Thus Far,” featured a panel that undertook a cross-practice examination of pandemic-related challenges even as they are still unfolding, the public policy responses intended to address them, and a forecast of potential further regulator remedies. The cross-practice panel discussion featured Kelly Anderson, assistant professor at the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy; Robert Hartwig, director of the Risk & Uncertainty Management Center at the University of South Carolina; Andrew Stokes, assistant professor of global health at the Boston University School of Public Health; Rebecca Katz, professor and director of the Center for Global Health Science and Security at Georgetown University Medical Center; and Daniel Reddy, chief executive officer of Club Vita US.
Multiple breakout sessions in casualty, life, health, and pension practice areas covered a wide variety of issues including the Affordable Care Act, index-linked variable annuities (VA), multiemployer pension plans, and automobile insurance.
The Academy also presented its annual service awards at the Annual Meeting and Public Policy Forum.
Cande Olsen received the Jarvis Farley Service Award, a lifetime achievement award that honors an Academy member whose volunteer efforts have made significant contributions to the advancement of the profession. Olsen received the award for contributions during more than 25 years of volunteer service with the Academy in 70 different roles, including vice president, life; as a member of the Academy Board, the Council on Professionalism, the LPC, and the Actuarial Standards Board; and chairperson and member of many other committees and work groups. She shared how her introduction to the profession “made me realize that being an actuary was so much more than being good at math.”
Eli Donkar received the Robert J. Myers Public Service Award, given to a member for a single noteworthy public service achievement or a career devoted to public service. The award was bestowed in recognition of Donkar’s 40-year actuarial career in public service, starting in 1977 in the Office of the Chief Actuary at the Social Security Administration (SSA), and continuing with many years of service as an Academy volunteer. He recapped the start of his actuarial career in Baltimore before joining the SSA, which is headquartered near there.
Four Academy members received Outstanding Volunteerism Awards: Dorothy Andrews, who was instrumental as DSAC chairperson in providing public policymakers and other stakeholders with an objective actuarial perspective; Joseph Hicks, who as vice chairperson of the Multiemployer Plans Committee played a vital leadership role in developing input to Congress on multiemployer provisions of the American Rescue Plan Act; Annette James, who has led the HEWG in exploring how health actuaries and policymakers can contribute to a better understanding of health disparities; and Karen Rudolph, who in her chairperson role of the LPC’s Asset Adequacy Testing Task Force drove production of an ambitious and novel discussion paper on year-end asset adequacy testing considerations in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Academy Releases Major Issue Paper on Big Data and Consumer Impacts
The Data Science and Analytics Committee released a major issue paper, Big Data and Algorithms in Actuarial Modeling and Consumer Impacts. The purpose of this paper is to provide a framing for understanding how developments in big data and artificial intelligence (AI) may impact insurance offerings and their oversight; education for actuaries, regulators, legislators, and other interested stakeholders on the evolving impacts of big data and AI technologies on the oversight, accessibility, and sustainability of insurance since the publication of the Big Data and the Role of the Actuary monograph; and education for a framework on algorithmic accountability and considerations specific across different lines of insurance. (November 08, 2021)
Next Week—‘Self-Regulation and the Actuarial Profession’ Professionalism Webinar
Next week’s professionalism webinar, “Self-Regulation and the Actuarial Profession,” will explore why self-regulation is important to the actuarial profession and what you can do to help ensure it continues. Members of the Committee on Professional Responsibility will discuss the importance of upholding the profession’s standards of conduct, qualification, and practice, as well as how to explain the requirements—and benefits—of actuarial professionalism to principals. The webinar is next Thursday, Nov. 11, from noon to 1:30 p.m. EST. Register today.
In the November/December issue of Contingencies, the cover feature story “The Great Hunt” tells the fascinating tale about how early actuaries learned how to price nascent automobile risk. Also in the issue, “Using Data for Good” tells how published mortality data can provide a settlement annuitant with valuable information in a factoring negotiation; and the appropriately named “An Adventure” is an original work of fiction by our actuarial author, Leo Apilash. Plus, a President’s Message from Academy President Tom Campbell on rising to the challenge, a Tradecraft selection on the Academy’s new 80% pension funding myth issue brief, and an Up to Code article on where, exactly, you practice.
P/C Loss Reserve Opinion Seminar—In-Person Early Registration Rates Available Through Nov. 15
There are just 10 days left to register with an early discounted rate for in-person attendance at the 2021 Seminar on Effective P/C Loss Reserve Opinions, to be held Dec. 6–7 at the conveniently located Hilton Chicago O’Hare Airport. The in-person early registration deadline has been extended to Nov. 15. This annual event, offered in a hybrid format this year, is designed for property/casualty actuaries who prepare or assist with preparing NAIC annual statements of actuarial opinion on P/C loss reserves. In-person attendees will have exclusive access to a closing Q&A session with faculty. Join us in December—register today.
Public Policy Activity
The Health Equity Work Group sent a comment letter to the NAIC’s Special (EX) Committee on Race and Insurance – Workstream 5 (Health) on the exposure draft of the White Paper on Provider Network outline.
The Heath Solvency Subcommittee provided an update to the NAIC Health Risk-Based Capital (E) Working Group on the working group’s call on the H2 Underwriting Risk Review request.