October 2014

Chairperson’s Corner

By Patricia Pruitt

Like many other organizations, sections have missions. If you bother to join a section and pay the section dues, it’s a good idea to know what that section’s mission is all about. Take the Education and Research Section, for example. Our purpose is to facilitate the knowledge base of the actuarial profession, promote ties between business actuaries, academic actuaries, and actuarial educators, and seek ways to support and encourage actuarial education and research.

One of the ways we do those things is through the annual Actuarial Research Conference. Elsewhere in this issue, you can read more about the conference that just took place at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Every year, the ARC features some student presenters. In my opinion, it’s pretty brave of those students to get up in front of a roomful of actuaries and present a paper on some technical topic. Public speaking can be scary for anyone, but it’s good to learn how to give an effective presentation. In order to encourage the students to do a good job, the section awards monetary prizes for the best presentations. This year, we had prizes for poster presentations, too.

Another way to “facilitate the knowledge base of the actuarial profession” is to sponsor or co-sponsor worthwhile sessions at various meetings, such as the session on Big Data at the Life and Annuity Symposium, the session on Comparative Research and Complex Modeling at the Health Meeting, or our upcoming session on E-Learning, Business Analytics, and You (session 115 on Tuesday, October 28) at this year’s Annual Meeting. We are always looking for interesting topics and good speakers for future meetings, so if you have any ideas, please don’t hesitate to contact one of the members of the section council. It’s already time to start planning for next year. Tom Edwalds will be our section representative for the 2015 Life and Annuity Symposium, and Sarah Christiansen and Chuck Fuhrer will handle the 2015 Health Meeting.

Have you checked out ARCH recently? If not, do you at least know that it stands for Actuarial Research Clearing House, and that it’s an informal communication providing current actuarial research? This publication can be found on the Education and Research Section page of the SOA website.

If you are attending the annual meeting in Orlando, come and meet some of your fellow section members at the section breakfast on Tuesday, October 28. It’s on the agenda as session 74, from 7:15 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. Although you need to register for the session, the breakfast is free to all attendees, not just section members. So, come and bring a friend or two!

Patricia Pruitt, FSA, MAAA, is an actuary with US Railroad Retirement Board in Chicago, Ill. She can be reached at patricia.p0907@att.net.