January 2014

Letter From the Chair

By Albert Moore

Albert MooreI would like to encourage all Technology Section Members to participate in the exchange. No, not health exchanges.

The mission of the Technology Section is "... to promote the exchange of information concerning technology as it relates to the work of actuaries through activities such as meetings, seminars, research studies and by facilitating the adoption of new technology." We have an obligation to promote and foster the exchange of information to help actuaries leverage existing technology and prepare for emerging technology.

There are two parties to an exchange. One receives, while the other gives. I like giving of my time, money and talent. At times it is hard for me to be a recipient. I have learned to graciously receive. I want to be the person who picks up the tab at a restaurant. I want to be called on to contribute to a fundraiser that matters to a friend. I have learned not to argue over the tab. I have become comfortable giving others the opportunity to contribute.

If I have to be on the receiving end of an exchange, it is easier for me when there is the potential for a shared exchange. I offer you my time, money and talent and you in turn share your time, money or talent to our mutual benefit. It is even easier for me to be on the receiving end of an exchange when I am unaware that I am a beneficiary.

When I ran for the section council, I was unaware of the tireless efforts that so many volunteers contribute to the advancement of the actuarial profession. I simply wanted to serve and offer my experiences and knowledge of the adoption and delivery of technology to the benefit of other actuaries. I am grateful to the two prior chairs, Steve Finn and J. Eddie Smith IV, under whom I have served and who guided the section immediately prior to my tenure as chair.

There are two actions in our mission: "promote" and "facilitate." The Technology Section promotes the exchange of information and facilitates the adoption of new technology. I perceive the role of the Technology Section Council to be a collection of actuaries dedicated to volunteering our time to partner with the SOA to ensure adequate attention is given to fulfill our stated mission.

Technology allows us to accomplish more, in less time. We can tackle more complex problems in a cost effective manner. The advancements in computing power have shrunk rooms of super computers into devices that can be carried in a notebook or a pocket. Libraries of information are an Internet connection away. The technology of the fiction from 40 and 50 years ago is now readily available in the marketplace. The flip communicators of Star Trek are obsolete today. Truly, technology is changing the world.

More relevant to us actuaries, technology is changing our profession. The analysis that once could be accomplished in weeks can now be done in hours. Questions and problems that in times past could not be answered or solved can now be pursued.

Our profession is not alone in the transforming power of technology. If you Google "how technology is changing our profession," you will find similar analysis. The Legal, Medical, Accounting, Engineering and other professions are discussing how technology is changing their worlds. Entire industries, arts, markets, entertainment, economies are being created (or destroyed) through technological advances.

Fortunately for actuarial employment opportunities, technology has also changed the role of, demands from and interaction with regulators. Congress, world organizations, international bodies, etc., all seem to realize that there are innovative ways to monitor the citizenry, to hold companies and industries accountable, and demand reports and metrics hitherto unknown. With new regulations come a slew of acronyms (ORSA, PBR, IFRS, ETC.) and greater demands for professional services. The professional demand for actuaries is on the rise!

The need for facilitating the exchange of information and ideas is surging. I look forward to working with the other members of the section council: Donald Armstead (newsletter), Brent Arnold (special projects), Andrew Chan (LinkedIn coordinator), William Chen (treasurer/secretary/budget), Joe Chou (spring and other meeting coordinator), Jenna Fariss (new meeting opportunities), Richard Junker (actuarial club meetings), Ben Kester (vice–chair), Jenn Nam (annual meeting coordinator), and Yonasan Schwartz (webinars).

There are significant roles for non–elected members of the Technology Section as well. For example, Paul Ramirez is a friend of the council and one of the newsletter coordinators. Other non–elected friends of council are invaluable and tireless in participating in planning webinars, contributing as speakers and writers of news articles.

My desire is to increase the number of friends of the council. What role can you play in the exchange? If you are comfortable being on the receiving end of the exchange, please help us by providing feedback as to how we can better meet your needs, add value, cover topics and address concerns, etc. If you would like to be stretched and increase leadership skills then volunteer. I am working on a list of volunteer opportunities. Contact me for the list. Make the exchange a mutually beneficial process.

Albert J. Moore, ASA, MAAA, is second vice president, Actuarial Systems at Ohio National Financial Services in Cincinnati, Ohio. He can be contacted at albert_moore@ohionational.com.