October 2012

Letter From The Chair

By J. Eddie Smith, IV

It’s been an active year for the Technology Section. We sponsored a variety of sessions at actuarial meetings throughout the year and also offered several webcasts. From business intelligence to actuarial-IT relations to mobile apps, the Technology Section ran the gamut of technology topics that appeal to actuaries.

Speaking of mobile apps, the section certainly built on the mobile momentum it gathered in 2011. If there was any doubt that actuaries were interested in mobile apps coming into 2012, it was gone by mid-year.

In the past year, the SOA launched AppsForActuaries.org, a site designed to help actuaries find mobile apps that can improve their personal and professional lives. In addition to providing ideas for the design of the site, the Technology Section leveraged it to create a contest in which SOA members submitted mobile ideas.

The contest generated more than 80 ideas from SOA members, and we awarded iPads to the three that we felt were the most innovative, and useful to actuaries in their careers. What’s more, the ideas submitted in the contest provided invaluable insight into the types of apps actuaries desire most. Such information will be extremely useful to the SOA as it seeks to provide more mobile choices to members.

I would like to sincerely thank outgoing council members Lisa Lefkowitz, Chris Olechowski, and Dave Kester for their hard work and contributions the last three years.

I am also extremely pleased with the work Richard Junker and Andrew Chan have done with CompAct in the past year. Thanks to their hard work, the average number of articles has increased from four to five per issue to six to seven per issue, and the content in CompAct is growing richer every issue.

Finally, I would like to extend a special thanks to Albert Moore, who lined up multiple meeting sessions and webinars sponsored by the Technology Section in 2012. As a first-year council member, Albert certainly made a positive mark.

Steve Finn will succeed me as chair of the Technology Section. I’ve had the pleasure of collaborating with Steve on several SOA initiatives the last few years, even before we were both council members. Steve is very committed to serving the SOA, and I know that he will do a fantastic job as Technology Section chair.

I don’t expect the Technology Section to lose any steam heading into 2013. We are sponsoring the 10th Actuarial Speculative Fiction contest, we already have ideas for more meeting sessions, and we have a very enthusiastic council.

I also fully expect the importance of the Technology Section to increase going forward. The roles of all knowledge workers, including actuaries, will increasingly be defined by the way they use technology. Insurance and financial products will require actuaries to use increasingly sophisticated enterprise software, while consumer technology like mobile phones and tablets will creep further and further into the jobs and lives of actuaries.

It’s up to the Technology Section to do its best to prepare SOA members for the technological changes happening both today and tomorrow. I’m confident that the council members of 2013 will continue the momentum gathered in prior years.

J. Eddie Smith, IV, FSA, MAAA, is
2012 Section
Council Chair.
Eddie is director of SOA Exams at The Infinite Actuary. He can be reached at eddie@theinfiniteactuary.com.