Roy Goldman, PhD, FSA 1980, MAAA, CERA
Jacksonville Beach, FL
Brief description of the type of work you currently do:
While retired since June 2015 from paid actuarial work, I serve on Boards and committees of the SOA and The Actuarial Foundation [TAF]. I have stayed active in healthcare policy with the SOA and the Academy and remain active in education with TAF. My most recent executive position was as Chief Actuary of Humana where we built an Actuarial Community of over 500 credentialed actuaries, student actuaries, and business professionals. A top priority for me was creating opportunities for learning and growth so that all can achieve their maximum potential and become future leaders of the company.
Primary Area of Practice:
Other Areas of Practice/Interests:
Education and Research, Predictive Analytics, Enterprise Risk
Ethics and Transparency
Ethics and transparency are essential to professional practice and service on the Board. How have you demonstrated ethics and transparency in the past? How will your own ethics and views on transparency influence your decisions and actions as a member of the SOA Board?
Maya Angelou wrote, “The needs of society determine its ethics.” I don’t know if that is true in general, but it is certainly true that our Society counts on actuaries to act with personal and professional integrity. It is part of our culture. Here are some ways in which I have promoted ethical behavior and professional standards in the past and will continue to do so in the future:
- I was a member of the Future Education Methods committee (’86-’87) that conceived and recommended a Fellowship Admissions Course to focus on professional ethics and a capstone exercise. Professional is now also a requirement for Associateship.
- A discussion of ethical and business scenarios (e.g., articles in Stepping Stone) has been an agenda topic at various summit meetings of my companies
- At Humana we required a peer review of the continuing education documentation for all 215 credentialed actuaries
- As a CFO, Chief Actuary, and Chief Underwriter, I have experience in dealing with, and resisting when necessary, what the Academy’s recent survey said was the number one ethical concern; namely, responding to pressure from management to select inappropriate assumptions.
As you review the responsibilities of the President-Elect job description, the 2017-2021 strategic plan and 2017 initiatives, describe how you will work together with the officers, board members, committee chairs, volunteers, executive director, and staff to fulfill your presidential responsibilities and advance the direction of SOA.
Since we are all elected by the membership, the President-Elect, President, Past President, and, indeed, the entire Board of Directors are the Leaders of the SOA. We are collectively responsible for listening to members, for executing the strategic plan, and accomplishing our mission, which is to use “education and research to advance actuaries as leaders in measuring and managing risk to improve financial outcomes for individuals, organizations, and the public.”
The President functions as Chair of the Board. In this role Presidential Leadership means managing a diverse group of professionals towards a common goal; namely, implementation of the strategic plan. The President makes sure that progress is made on priority items. While the President appoints committees and members of the Leadership Team, like any good delegator, the President needs to follow up and prepare diligently for meetings so that he/she knows in advance what is likely to arise with any given agenda item. A successful Chair realizes that all board members are volunteers, and that win-win resolutions are best accomplished through a collegial and collaborative approach. Views of all members must be respected in a way that encourages participation and hard work and produces a clear, supportable decision.
In the many volunteer and business roles I’ve had, I believe I have demonstrated that I can be a successful Leader/Chair. For example, during the two years when I was overall SOA Exam Chair, I worked with all the individual exam chairs to set a fair pass mark. This was no small task since at that time under the Flexible Education System, we were giving at least 30 different exams every six months. I also had to work with the exam committees in developing better ways to train new committee members and institute new methods to evaluate candidates’ minimum adequate knowledge.
Describe a recent situation where you have facilitated a diverse group of people in moving a significant project to the next stage of completion.
In the work environment, the title of “chief” does not give one the unilateral right to set the rules if one wants full cooperation. For example, when I was hired as Chief Actuary at Humana, most of the actuaries reported up through the business units and not directly to me. Therefore, collaboration and trust needed to be established over a couple of years with not only the lead actuaries, but also with their bosses, the business leaders, in order to achieve my key objectives such as: peer review of actuarial statements of opinion, business unit materiality guidelines for when my review would be required, and a required rotational program for actuaries at all levels. I also wanted to encourage the attainment of Fellowship when five of the six actuarial VP’s were ASA’s or non-credentialed and thought of themselves as successful and well qualified. In the end, a collaborative approach won the day.
More recently, I worked with The Actuarial Foundation [TAF] staff, teams of actuarial volunteers, and a consultant to launch a national modeling competition for high school students with significant scholarship money as prizes. Even before I was officially on the Board of TAF, I began working on this initiative in the summer of 2015. The competition concluded in February 2018 with the awarding of $55,000 in scholarships to the top four teams out of 52 (140 students). I was the lead Board member who worked with different groups of volunteers to:
- Choose a topic (autonomous vehicles) and develop questions to be addressed
- Research and obtain data
- Find sponsors
- Make outreach to local schools
- Serve as mentors to any team requesting help from a “real” actuary
- Judge the papers and determine the semi-finalists
- Judge the in-person presentations made by the semi-finalists
We’re looking for volunteers for year 2!
In your presidential role you will act as an ambassador for SOA, its members, and the profession. Provide examples of how you would fulfill this responsibility during your term of office and describe a current situation in which you have successfully acted as an ambassador for an organization or institution.
Being an “ambassador” means being a “representative.” Given the relatively small size of our profession, many of us find ourselves in a position of being the first actuary people have met. We all represent the profession on a daily basis when working with colleagues and serving our clients. The keys to being a strong ambassador for the SOA are: to enjoy meeting new people, being a good listener, and being enthusiastic about the Society and the profession. Of course, it also helps to demonstrate great competence. I strive to satisfy all those criteria.
I certainly felt like an ambassador during my first three years on the Congressional Budget Office’s Health Advisory Panel. I was the only actuary and one of only two health plan representatives among a distinguished group of health care economists, policy makers, and pundits. I felt similarly when I was hired by two health plans as their CFO when neither had any credentialed actuaries on staff. For 13 years I made quarterly presentations to the boards of these companies as the only actuary in the room.
While working for The Prudential Insurance Company, I worked in several sub-business units where I was the only actuary. Indeed, I never reported to an actuary except when I was CFO of our group business and the CEO was an actuary. On one occasion I was transferred to a new geographical location to help run a large new business that had been won by one of the regional offices without any actuaries. One has to prove oneself quickly!
On behalf of the SOA, I’ve interviewed with Time and Vox News and written Op-Ed articles. I have also had the pleasure of being an ambassador among actuaries when meeting with students or when attending an international actuarial or NAIC meeting.
As you focus on the future direction of SOA and the profession, explain your approach to setting the direction for both especially in the global arena.
I can’t think of a better vision for the SOA than the one in our strategic plan: “Actuaries are highly sought-after professionals who develop and communicate solutions for complex financial issues.” Are we there yet? No. Indeed, how many times have people asked you when they learn you’re an actuary, “When am I going to die?”
My goal is that by 2021 we will at least get to the point when people will recognize us as the professionals who design and price their insurance products: life, health, auto, homeowners, and pensions. Or, perhaps, they’ll say, “Aren’t you the architects and stewards of Medicare and Social Security?” Then we can proceed to our broader vision to be recognized as professionals who can find solutions for a wide range of complex financial issues.
How will we get there? By doing five things:
- Staying abreast of new methods and technology
- Delivering education in all actuarial specialties to both new and seasoned actuaries that is relevant to our stakeholders
- Growing our global perspective. The stronger and more recognized our brand is internationally, the better we can serve our clients, and the stronger our brand will be for our traditional North American stakeholders.
- Producing research and thought pieces on a timely basis on current issues that involve actuarial areas of practice
- In the U.S., continue to improve cooperation among the five actuarial organizations.
Provide a brief description of your professional background and the type of work you currently do and explain how these experiences have prepared you for the Elected Board Member role.
As a university professor with a Ph.D. in mathematics, I enjoyed teaching, but then I learned about the actuarial profession. The actuarial career was a perfect melding of my talents and interests. Like many of you, I love combining mathematics and statistics with law, taxes, investments, economics, and human behavior to design and price products that not only benefit my employer but also provide a great service and needed protection to the general public. I held key leadership positions with four employers and helped all of them successfully grow while creating opportunities for learning and growth for my staff.
Of the positions listed below, I was hired into the first three, and each was a different challenge. At Humana most of the actuaries report up through the business units, and there had been no chief for almost two years. The two companies hiring me as CFO were looking for a traditional CFO. I was either the only actuary or the only credentialed one and had to build an actuarial department. When Prudential formed business units before demutualizing, I was the only actuary appointed business unit CFO. While developing a deep expertise in medical insurance and managed care for individuals, small and large groups, and Medicare and Medicaid recipients, I have experience in long-term care, disability, dental, critical illness, group credit, group life, pensions, auto, and homeowners.
Prior executive positions:
- VP and Chief Actuary-Humana, a top five health insurer and wellbeing company
- VP and CFO/Interim CEO- Geisinger Insurance Operations, a core business of Geisinger Health System in Danville, PA
- VP and CFO- Mercy Health Plans, at the time was part of Sisters of Mercy Health System, based in St. Louis
- Sr. VP, CFO and Chief Actuary- Prudential Group Business Unit, at the time was the largest health insurer in the U.S.
Volunteer and Governance Experience
Describe how your previous volunteer, personal and governance experiences would strengthen your contributions to the SOA Board and organization.
I began volunteering as a new Fellow in 1980 and have been contributing ever since in many key committees of the SOA as well as volunteering with the Academy and industry groups. This is my third year on the SOA Board where I have been active on the Finance, Admissions, and Governance and Policy committees. I am also in my third year on the board of The Actuarial Foundation where I am active in our education activities. I just completed six years on the CBO’s Health Advisory Panel. Other board and volunteer experience includes:
- Thirty years on various E&E Committees (1980-2013)
- General Chair (’93-’94)
- Group and Health Fellowship syllabus chair (’05-’08)
- ERM exam (’12-’13)
- Papers published in referred journals, Health Watch, and Contingencies
- Won award (1990) for best paper on employee benefits, which was used on syllabus
- First chair of Research Papers committee
- Ph.D. grant committee
- Speaker at SOA meetings on healthcare, E&E, and risk
- Elected twice to Board of Education (NJ)
- Missouri Insurance Industry task force
- St. Louis World Affairs Council
- NJ Mathematics Coalition