April 2013

47th Annual Actuarial Research Conference

By Sam Cox

From August 1-4, 2012, the Warren Centre of the University of Manitoba hosted the 47th annual Actuarial Research Conference (ARC). It was attended by some 100 academic actuaries and graduate students, from around the world—as far away as Australia and Germany—along with local actuarial students and industry representatives. Seventy-one papers were presented on a wide variety of topics.

The first ARC was held in 1966 at the University of Michigan. The Society of Actuaries Education & Research Section council selects the host locations. The host university performs the planning and execution of the event and the University of Manitoba was up for the task. The SOA staff provides administrative and marketing support. SOA sections provide financial support. Through these sponsors, ARC continues to be a prestigious and affordable event for the academic community.

Great-West Life Assurance, which has had a long and enduring association with the actuarial program, served as a key conference sponsor as well. Wawanesa Insurance supported the ARC as a Platinum Conference sponsor. The Canadian Institute of Actuaries (CIA) was not only a Gold Conference sponsor, but presented the Centre with a plaque recognizing the centenary of Manitoba’s actuarial program. The plaque was presented by Simon Curtis, president of the CIA, at the conference lunch on Thursday. On September 14th, it was officially mounted and put on permanent display during the University of Manitoba homecoming. The plaque can be seen on the sixth floor of the Drake Centre, in the lounge near the elevators.

During the presentation ceremony, Curtis highlighted the role of the CIA, and also praised the University of Manitoba and the Warren Centre for “producing graduates who had contributed a great deal to the profession in Canada and to the growth of the Institute.”

Jeffrey Pai, director of the Warren Centre, Michael Benarroch, dean of the Asper School of Business, and Sunny Oh, vice president of Great-West Life Assurance welcomed participants at the opening session Thursday morning. The subsequent two and one-half days provided six featured presentations and over forty papers presented in parallel sessions. The electronic versions of the ARC program and presentations are posted on the ARC pages at the Warren Center website. The ARC program has in recent years offered sessions to help academic actuaries meet CPD requirements. This year Charly Pazdor led an invited featured session “Ethics and Professionalism in Actuarial Practice,” which is based on cases he has developed for classes he has led at the SOA’s Fellowship Admissions Course. Mary Hardy also led an invited featured session, “Divided by a common language: communicating applied research in actuarial science.” It also provides CPD credit.

Ron Stapleford, chair of the CIA Accreditation Committee, gave a very interesting presentation, on the CIA University Accreditation Program, which provides CIA exemptions for some actuarial examinations based on university grades. Warren Luckner organized and led a session, “How to be a CAE,” on the SOA’s Center of Actuarial Excellent program that recognizes university programs, but does not involve examination exemptions.

This year participants were provided two dinners. On Thursday evening ARC participants were joined by University of Manitoba grads for a special Centennial Dinner. There were over 180 attendees. The featured speaker was Ken Clark, the Gold Medalist in the class of BComm(Hons)/1955, and currently a Consulting Actuary with Eckler Ltd in Toronto. Clark delivered an erudite, entertaining and amusing speech of substance—a meal in itself. Marcus Robertson, vice president, represented the SOA Board of Directors.

The concluding dinner, held Friday evening at the recently renovated and venerable Manitoba Club, featured the fine vocal stylings of Sam Broverman, BSc/1973, an actuarial grad and life-long entertainer. Sam sang some Johnny Mercer as well as songs with his own amusing actuarial lyrics.

The 47th ARC closed Saturday with closing remarks by Mark Whitmore, dean of the Faculty of Science and David Stangeland, associate dean of the Asper School of Business. It was a great conference. The faculty and students at the University of Manitoba and the Education and Research Section Council are grateful for the generous support of all our sponsors.

And as we move into 2013, the 48th ARC is scheduled for July 31-August 3 at Temple University in Philadelphia, Penn.

Sam Cox, PhD, FSA, CERA, ACIA, CFA is a retired Dr. L. A. H. Warren Chair Professor of Actuarial Science from the University of Manitoba.