2018 Board Member Candidate
Hans J. Wagner, FSA 1992
Chief Actuary and Chief Risk Officer
Like many of our members, I was first attracted to becoming an actuary because of the strong ethics of a profession that offered an opportunity for socially important work along with interesting intellectual challenges and potentially lucrative employment. The path my career has taken has not been what I expected, but has always delivered on those initial attractors.
The actuarial profession is a small one, but we are uniquely positioned to help the world face the challenges of a digital revolution accompanied in many countries by aging demographics and a host of other changes. To fulfill its potential, our profession, and our Society, must adapt to the ever-more-rapid changes around us. The SOA has both unique potential and responsibility to lead the response to these changes and help the actuarial profession retain its attractiveness both to current and potential future members. However, leadership does not mean going alone, rather the SOA needs to further strengthen collaboration with other organizations, across both actuarial and other professions. Our work should include both academic theories and practical applications, and encompass both the SOA’s traditional base in North America and its growth in other markets with their growing interconnections.
It is an honor to have been selected by the Nominating Committee for the ballot of the SOA Board election. Should I achieve the greater honor of being elected, my first priority will be teaming with the other Directors and Leadership team to lead the staff and member volunteers in effective completion of the 2017-2021 Strategic Plan. The current Plan is well aligned with the issues mentioned above, but the promise in the Plan to “keep actuaries at the forefront of evolving methods for solving complex business problems” will not be easy to keep. It will take active listening to our members to complete the detailed steps needed to stay current. Those steps will likely evolve rapidly. As we move into 2021 we will need to review our strategies for the future.
To succeed, the SOA needs to maximize the impact of our member and staff resources. I believe my diverse background has prepared me well to help the SOA Board in these efforts; my work has included a full range of actuarial responsibilities and enterprise risk management- at holding companies, regional offices, and local operations- as both a consultant and company employee- at stock and mutual insurance companies- living and working on 4 continents- in business roles but also working with regulators- on life, annuity, health, and pensions (and a little bit of property/casualty)- on individual and group coverages. After college I was a high school teacher for several years before starting my actuarial career. I have volunteered service to the SOA in a variety of ways: in my early years on exam and education committees, then writing articles and making presentations, on the Valuation Actuary Symposium Planning Committee, on the International Section Council, overseeing research papers, running an exam center, and recently as a member of the Adapting Education for International Markets Task Force and the China Committee. I have also been in successful teams for other organizations and of course my employers.
Teamwork is essential for our success, and I have a track record of being both a member and a leader of diverse successful teams. I look forward to a fun and challenging term if I am elected to the Board, and hope I will have your vote.
Brief description of current work
Lead the actuarial and risk management functions for the largest life insurance foreign joint venture in China as part of the executive management team. Actuarial team is responsible for product pricing, valuation, reporting and analysis, solvency management, reinsurance, and financial projections across multiple bases (local GAAP and two flavors of Statutory, IFRS, MCEV, TEV). Develop the Enterprise Risk Management function meeting shareholders’ and regulators’ requirements along with responsibility for ALM technical support. Support Board of Directors and management in defining corporate Risk Appetite along with functional risk limits, and maximizing returns within the defined risk envelope. Focus on staff development and deliver internal and external training on Risk Management, ALM, product management, and economic capital. Support development of Chinese insurance industry through participation in regulatory working groups for solvency reform and other issues and delivery of seminars on key topics.
Primary Area of Practice
Life, Risk Management
My actuarial career began at MetLife in New York, including rotations in Personal Insurance pricing, Corporate Actuarial, and Pensions valuation. From Met I moved to AMEX Life in San Rafael, California where I worked on all aspects of managing a deferred annuity product sold to cardmembers. My next job was as corporate actuary at Banner Life/Legal & General America in Maryland where I completed a number of strategic projects. After that I joined E&Y’s Actuarial Services Group in New York and then Boston working on a mix of audit support and consulting projects and eventually leading the life actuarial practice in New England. After over a decade of actuarial work in the U.S. my next move was abroad, joining AXA’s Asia-Pacific unit in Melbourne, Australia as the U.S. GAAP Regional Development Manager and then Chief Actuary-International. I was then invited to move to AXA’s global headquarters in Paris (despite speaking no French), where I was the Corporate Actuary in the controller’s department. My responsibilities included all actuarial aspects of external and management financial reporting including employee pensions and share-based compensation. I then transferred to Group Risk Management where I was the Life Chief Risk Officer overseeing life product and technical risks and developing parts of AXA’s Internal Model for Solvency II. When AXA asked ICBC to join its existing life-insurance joint venture in China I volunteered to move to Shanghai because of the opportunities presented by combining the world’s largest bank with a top-10 global insurer. During the first year at AXA-Minmetals I looked after all Finance, Legal, Actuarial, and Risk Management functions. Since the official launch of ICBC-AXA I am responsible for Actuarial and Risk Management.
Throughout my career I have done extensive work outside my companies, either as part of the corporate role or volunteering. This work included SOA volunteering on exam committees (including as a Vice-Chair) and an education committee, on the Valuation Actuary Symposium Planning Committee, as the Asia-Pacific Ambassador Coordinator on the International Section Council, as a research paper sponsor, running an exam center, on the China Committee, and as a member of the Adapting Education for International Markets Task Force. I have also written a number of articles, given many presentations at SOA and other organizations’ events in person and by webcast, and been an interview subject for a podcast and for written profiles. Other roles included chairing the European CFO Forum Embedded Value Working Group, being a founding director of the Life and Longevity Markets Association, and serving on the IASB Employee Benefits Working Group.
Education has been a career focus; I have developed and delivered many training programs as well as lectured at universities. In fact before I started my actuarial career I spent several years as a high school teacher, along with roles as a coach and dorm parent.
Interests include cooking for my family, travel, rail transport, sports (following NBA, NFL and MLB in China is not easy with the time differences, though at least basketball is popular here!), music (I was manager of my college radio station), and history (my kids say my music interest is historical). Spending as much time as possible with my wife and our teen and pre-teen daughters takes most of my time outside work, though. My wife has been a very active Girl Scouts volunteer which has created great activities for all of us. An important part of our family is the six street cats we have adopted in China to partially fill the void from the death of our 19-year old French cat.