Modeling Section Update

Scott Houghton

The Society of Actuaries (SOA) Modeling Section offers members continuing education, research opportunities, networking and other support that relates to creating and using models. If you code, provide input, use, review or rely on actuarial models, the section may be helpful to you.

2018 represents the fifth year for the Modeling Section. When I volunteered as webcast coordinator for the section in 2015, I quickly learned we could raise more money for the section with a webcast if we partnered with a larger, more established section. If we partnered with a big section, we needed to share the pie, but the pie was triple (or larger) in size. A good sign for the Modeling Section today is that we have grown large enough that other sections are reaching out to us to partner with them on webcasts.

Being a member of the Modeling Section has a range of benefits and will bring you closer to all of the activities our volunteers perform.

The section leadership works to create continuing education content of interest to our members. The section (along with help from the SOA) recently completed a survey of members. The top five topics our members are interested in are:

  • Model validation
  • Assumption-setting and experience studies
  • Emerging modeling techniques (including artificial intelligence and state-based modeling)
  • Modeling software approaches
  • Model efficiency

The section leadership will work toward creating materials for our members on these topics.

The section sponsors continuing education sessions at the Life & Annuity Symposium (LAS), Valuation Actuary Symposium and SOA Annual Meeting & Exhibit. The LAS this year was May 7–8 in Baltimore, and we sponsored sessions on centralized versus decentralized models and model efficiency.

Our members receive our semiannual newsletter, The Modeling Platform, and Modeling Section e-newsletters. The section also sponsors and publishes original research of interest to our members. Our members have the opportunity to influence and/or sponsor research topics related to modeling.

Additionally, we sponsor and co-sponsor educational webcasts. Our 2018 topics include model governance, model validation and economic scenario generators. Section members receive discounts on webcasts and may listen to and view recordings of past webcasts that are more than one year old for free.

Section members have networking opportunities and receive discounts on section networking events. They also receive members-only access to LinkedIn discussions.

If you are not already a member, please consider joining our section to enjoy these benefits.

Scott Houghton, FSA, MAAA, is a principal at Oliver Wyman in Hartford, Connecticut.