February 2018

From the Chairperson's Corner

By Bill Rearden

The Entrepreneurial & Innovation Section (E&I) is one of the fastest growing special interest groups within the Society of Actuaries (SOA). This surge in membership reflects a growing interest among many actuaries into the new opportunities being created by entrepreneurship and innovation.

The end of 2017 and early 2018 was packed with E&I sponsored events. E&I started with a webcast of expert panelists on Innovations in Life & Annuities that discussed in detail the innovative trends being adopted by many Life Insurers across North America. To better understand how firms should be innovating, E&I hosted a town hall discussion on Breakthrough Innovations with Michael Schrage—Professor at MIT Sloan School of Management and one of the world’s leading thought leaders on innovation. To help encourage more networking, E&I and the International Section co-hosted a Happy Hour Networking Event in New York City, which we look forward to hosting at other cities in the coming year. In February the E&I Section will be hosting a webcast on the hottest topics of 2017: Blockchain, cryptocurrencies, and investing in initial coin offerings or ICOs.

E&I council members have planned 2018 to be filled with new events and insightful meeting sessions. Many of the E&I initiatives that began as ideas two years ago are now ready for implementation.

  • In late fall of 2018 E&I is planning to host an inaugural annual Risk & Innovation Symposium. The time and location is yet to be confirmed but will likely be in San Francisco.
  • During the year E&I will begin accepting written submissions from SOA members for the first Innovation Competition. Each submission will showcase innovative ideas from an actuary’s perspective. The winning submission will be awarded at the Risk & Innovation Symposium, and the top 10 submissions will be compiled and published into a compendium.
  • Actuarial Science departments at The University of Notre Dame and University of Toronto have volunteered to host pilot pitch competitions in the fall of 2018; student teams will compete to pitch innovation ideas that leverage the actuarial sciences. E&I will award the winning team from each University a trip to the Risk & Innovation Symposium to present their pitch.

With so many new initiatives being implemented in 2018 to benefit the section and the actuarial profession at large, we welcome all the help. Feel free to participate by reaching out to the council team, or contribute articles to the E&I Section’s Innovators & Entrepreneurs newsletter.

Bill Rearden, ASA, is co-founder and strategy consultant at Ironbound Consulting Group in New York City. He can be contacted at bill@ironbcg.com.