Serendipity is the phenomenon of finding valuable things while seeking something else. In many ways, it has been a serendipitous year.
Many of you know that I previously served as president of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries (CIA) and that my employment background included working for insurance companies, consulting firms and reinsurance. That exposure to the actuarial profession in the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia provided a very broad perspective and demonstrated to me just how varied, vibrant and successful our profession has been.
During my year as president of the Society of Actuaries (SOA), I devoted most of my time to strategy, education topics, issues involving other practice areas and relations with other organizations—and there were quite a few challenges, indeed! A lot of progress was made in each of those areas, and I would like to thank all those on the SOA Board of Directors, the SOA staff and the many tireless volunteers who helped make this progress possible.
But the work of building a great profession is never done—the work must go on. In a larger sense, this task goes well beyond me—and well beyond the SOA Board. Regardless of our home country or practice areas, we are members of the same profession and we face the same challenges. During visits to actuarial clubs; employer visits; conferences; and meetings of the SOA, the International Actuarial Association (IAA) and other actuarial organizations, many of you shared your thoughts and ideas about how to move the profession forward.
Throughout the year, I also stressed the need to maintain our relevancy as a profession. Technology startups are making a dent within InsurTech. Artificial intelligence is here. Data science is constantly improving. Models and management of risk are what we know and do best. We must either learn how to harness these developments more efficiently to do our jobs, or we risk someone else taking the lead.
Our subject-matter expertise is the foundation of our strength as a profession. In addition to our subject-matter expertise, our other great collective strength is our commitment to volunteerism. We are here today as a successful and respected profession thanks to those who came before us. We stand tall because we stand on the shoulders of giants—actuarial pioneers who devoted their lives to ensuring the profession we enjoy today would grow and thrive. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to them and to all the many tireless volunteers for their contributions.
As SOA members, you, I, we—all of us collectively—play a key role in shaping our common future. We face two roads ahead of us—one of threats, doubts and fears; the other of opportunity, confidence and excitement.
Let us resolve, together, to choose the brighter path and focus on making our profession even more successful and vibrant in the years to come.