Roger Loomis, FSA 2007, MAAA
Actuarial Resources Corporation
Overland Park, KS
Brief description of the type of work you currently do:
Actuarial consulting with focus on modeling, LTC, and Latin America.
Primary Area of Practice:
Health, Long-Term Care Insurance
Other Areas of Practice/Interests:
Modeling, International, Predictive Analytics
Why do you want to be on the Board?
The SOA has recently made some important strategic decisions, and I would like to be on the SOA Board to help it continue moving in the right direction. Specifically, it is important that the SOA focuses on cutting-edge research and providing the best basic and continuing education opportunities available anywhere in order to maintain and enhance the value that actuaries can offer in this changing world. To be a successful international research and educational organization, it is vital that we have excellent working partnerships with other actuarial organizations with country-specific focuses such as the AAA, the CIA, and CAA.
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?
The most rewarding experiences of my career have been on teams with a high level of trust—on teams where we knew that we all had good intentions and put the good of the team first. On such teams the members are free to express their views honestly, not fear that what they say will be used against them, be open to the views of others, and focus on the job at hand. This level of trust is necessary for the open and vigorous debates that lead to the best decisions.
Ethics is a professional obligation and the right thing to do in any case. It is also a vital component of achieving the trust necessary for success. As an example, every day I work with information and data from clients that is confidential. While a temporary gain might be obtainable from misusing confidential information, those gains could never compare to the value of being a professional that my clients can trust.
Collaborative working relationships are essential to the governance function of the SOA Board of Directors, especially as board members work with each other, volunteers, and staff to achieve the strategic goals and mission of SOA. Describe a situation from either your professional or volunteer experiences that demonstrated you are a team player
When I was a co-chair of the Long-Term Care Think Tank, we undertook the ambitious goal of forming a consensus opinion on how America’s emerging Long-Term Care needs could best be delivered and financed. This consensus opinion was to be among the diverse members of the Think Tank, which included actuaries and non-actuaries from both inside and outside of the insurance industry. We decided that the Delphi Method would be a good way to conduct the study. We knew the Predictive Analytics and Futurism Section had some expertise with conducting Delphi studies, so we reached out to that section and invited them to co-sponsor the study. We were also able to recruit an insurance marketing consultant with expertise in Long-Term Care to help administer the study. With this group of people working together, we were able to successfully finish the project and publish the results in the paper “Land this Plane: A Delphi Research Study of Long-Term Care Financing Solutions.”
Board members need to exhibit curiosity and a desire to learn about areas that may potentially impact the SOA and the profession. How do you stay informed about what is going on nationally and internationally, and how do you apply that knowledge into your work with SOA and the profession?
I read newspapers, magazines, newsletters, and attend at least a few industry events every year. I use Google Alerts as a news clipping service for stories of interest.
I then selectively choose specific areas that I want to study more deeply. As an example, after learning about predictive analytics in a general way, it became clear that it is a valuable tool for marketing and underwriting. However, it was less clear how helpful it can be for experience analysis and assumption setting in life insurance. In order to better evaluate how these new tools can be best applied in these core competencies, I decided to take a deep dive into predictive analytics by taking online courses in R, enrolling in the SOA Pilot Certification program, creating models at Kaggle, and reading books on the topic.
I try to have frequent conversations with my clients and others to discuss the underlying issues our work addresses. As an example, several years ago I was charged with developing a first-principles actuarial forecasting model for life-LTC hybrid products. After studying the problem for several months, I came to the conclusion that because of the path-dependent benefits, there were simply too many nodes to model these benefits deterministically from first principles. I recalled from my basic education that when option contracts have this issue, they are modeled using Monte Carlo simulation. After considering whether this would be the best approach for Combo Products, I went to the ILTCI Conference with the personal mission of talking about this idea with as many actuaries as possible. This eventually vindicated the approach and led to collaboration on other insights about how simulation could be used to evaluate riskiness and set risk margins.
Respectful and prudent use of resources is an important function of all board members. Explain how you have demonstrated this characteristic in either your work or volunteer experiences and how it will carry over to your role on the SOA Board.
At the end of every year, the profits at my company are placed in a bonus pool that is distributed to employees. Going through the annual process of setting budgets and approving expenditures has made me acutely aware of the need to be prudent with resources. Every marginal expense reduces the size of the bonus pool, dollar for dollar.
While it is vital that we invest in the company’s future, it is equally vital that we are left with annual bonus pools large enough to attract and keep the best people. Going through this process has made me always remember that every dollar we spend on one thing has the opportunity cost of everything else we could have done with that dollar. Really understanding opportunity costs is the basis of being prudent with resources and is something I will take with me on my role on the SOA Board.
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.
I have been in the actuarial profession since earning my master’s degree in Economics 21 years ago. For the first 10 years of my career I worked at insurance companies in several product lines including life, health, long-term disability, and long-term care. Most of my responsibilities involved valuation and forecasting, and I always found myself trying to create better models, more insightful reports, and more efficient reporting processes.
For the last eleven years I have been at Actuarial Resources Corporation where I’ve worked as an actuarial software developer and a consultant. I am now a principal at the firm and lead the company in two areas: our health insurance consulting practice and our Latin America practice. In the health insurance practice, one of our specialties is creating actuarial models for LTC insurance and LTC-Life combo products that help actuaries better understand and minimize the risk of their product designs. These models are discussed in the research paper, “Understanding the Volatility of Experience and Pricing Assumptions in Long-Term Care Insurance,” which is now on the syllabus for the SOA’s Life Pricing exam.
I am fluent in written and spoken Spanish, and have built actuarial models for insurers in Mexico, Chile, Argentina, and Brazil. These projects have exposed me to innovative ways insurance is used in different countries, and the unique regulatory and financial reporting challenges faced by actuaries there.
Having worked with actuaries in several countries across virtually all product lines has given me a broad perspective of the challenges actuaries face, as well as insights into the creative ways different actuaries in different situations have dealt with them. The insights, creativity, and communication skills I have developed will be valuable assets to collaborate both on the Board and with different actuarial organizations.
Volunteer and Governance Experience
Describe how your previous volunteer, personal and governance experiences would strengthen your contributions to the SOA Board and organization.
I’ve had several opportunities to volunteer including for the Predictive Analytics exam committee, LTC Section Council, and the LTC Think Tank. In all of these groups I gained experience brainstorming about problems, developing a consensus, setting goals, holding the members of the team accountable, and achieving results.
My volunteer experience includes leading several research projects including “Land This Plane” and the “2015 LTC Pricing Project.” In these projects I was on teams where we had to develop the concept of a project that expanded actuarial knowledge and then gain buy-in from stakeholders. We then had to make dynamic decisions as the projects unfolded in ways different than what we had anticipated. Finally, we promoted the results. For the LTC Pricing Project, I presented the results to actuaries on an SOA webinar, at the Annual Meeting, the Heath Meeting, the ValAct, the Southeastern Actuaries Conference, and the Kansas City Actuaries Club. I further presented the results to executives, brokers, and analysts at the conferences of the ACLI, ILTCI, NAILBA, AALTCI, NAHUA, and AIFA. In every presentation, I worked to refine how I communicated to both technical and nontechnical audiences. This has made me a better communicator and leader.