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The Actuary Magazine

Photograph: Yiling Guo

The day begins. Meeting participants pick up their event materials and ready themselves for a variety of insightful sessions.

Asian actuaries gathered in China and Thailand in June for two of the Society of Actuaries’ (SOA’s) major annual symposia in Asia tailored to local actuarial practice interests and markets.

The fourth SOA China Annual Symposium, held June 13–14 in Guiyang, China, attracted leaders from China’s insurance regulatory authority, actuaries, executives and scholars, as well as other experts from the actuarial, insurance and finance fields.

During his opening remarks, William “Flick” B. Fornia, FSA, MAAA, EA, FCA, SOA Board of Directors, chair of the International Committee, emphasized the importance of the growth of the profession in China and the SOA’s commitment to further its work with Chinese partners.

Jia Biao, deputy director general, Life Insurance Regulatory Department, China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, gave a keynote speech titled “Get Ready for Opportunities and Challenges and Be Accountable.” Jia stressed that, with increasing attention on risk management in China, actuaries are playing a more important role in insurance companies and other relevant industries than ever before.

Li Mingguang, vice president, chief actuary and board secretary of China Life Insurance Co. Ltd., and chief actuary of China Life Pension Co. Ltd., delivered a second keynote sharing his belief that actuaries must be more forward-looking, innovative, integrated and service-oriented, and strive to improve their actuarial professionalism, communication and coordination.

In addition, Wang Jiachun, president of Wefar Assets Management Co., and other leaders and experts practicing in the actuarial realm, discussed the profession’s opportunities and challenges. They also shared their perspectives on the future of the insurance industry.

The symposium also featured concurrent sessions covering current market topics, including:

  • Health and health management
  • New technology and innovations
  • International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) updates
  • C-ROSS Phase II

Following the China Symposium, the SOA held the ninth Asia-Pacific Annual Symposium June 17–18 in Bangkok, Thailand. The event attracted more than 150 delegates from 15 nations. It was supported by the Society of Actuaries of Thailand (SOAT); Thai Life Assurance Association (TLAA); and Risk Management, Economic Sustainability and Actuarial Science Development in Indonesia (READI), a project devoted to the development of the actuarial profession in Indonesia, supported by the University of Waterloo.

Dr. Suthiphon Thaveechaiyagarn, secretary-general of the Office of the Insurance Commission of Thailand, joined Fornia and Andy Peterson, FSA, EA, FCA, MAAA, in delivering the welcome remarks. Tommy Pichet Jiaramaneetaweesin FSA, FIA, president of SOAT, opened the symposium with comments on the future of the actuarial profession, noting: “An actuary is like a cook, taking good quality materials and using processes (recipes) to create a masterpiece. A master chef ensures both amazing taste as well as presentation—actuaries need to do the same! And people need to understand what we have done.”

Simon Lee, ASA, FCAS, regional chief operating officer of AXA Partners Asia, also shared new applications for artificial intelligence (AI) in both health and motor insurance with vivid case studies. 

Some interesting quotes from the sessions included: “The customer doesn’t care if you are on blockchain, using AI or predictive analytics or anything else—what they care about is whether you solve their problems,” said Justin Yiu, ASA, of Solaria Labs.

“The top four actuarial technologies of 2019 are data visualization tools, predictive analytics, cloud computing and collaborative tools,” said R. Dale Hall, FSA, CERA, MAAA, CFA, managing director of Research at the SOA.

Paul Setio Kartono, ASA, MAAA, director and chief strategic officer with PT FWD Life Indonesia, representative of the organizing committee and Greater Asia Committee member, closed the symposium with remarks on the ongoing SOA endeavors and activities to support the profession in Asia.

Paul Setio Kartono, ASA, MAAA, is director and chief strategic officer, PT FWD Life Indonesia.
Hassan Scott Odierno, FSA, FASM, is partner at Actuarial Partners Consulting Sdn Bhd in Malaysia.
Jessie Li, FSA, is lead China representative, Society of Actuaries, based in China.

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