Roy Goldman, FSA 1980, MAAA, CERA, PhD
Jacksonville Beach, FL
Brief Description of the type of work you currently do:
Although retired since June 2015 from paid actuarial work, I continue to be actively involved in education, research, and healthcare policy while serving on the Boards of Directors and key committees of both the SOA (2015-18) and The Actuarial Foundation (2016-present). I write and speak on healthcare issues on my own, through the SOA and the Academy, and while a member of the Health Advisory Panel of the Congressional Budget Office. After 30 years of volunteer and leadership roles in the SOA’s Education and Examination system, I now devote time to The Foundation’s education programs. I have been the CFO and/or Chief Actuary of two national insurers and two regional health plans. My most recent executive position was as Chief Actuary of Humana. Under my direction 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.
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 will your own ethics and views on transparency influence your decisions and actions in your Presidential term?
Every day we read about ethical lapses of politicians, business leaders, and entertainers. Nothing is more crucial to the SOA’s reputation than counting 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. Professionalism is now also a requirement for Associateship as a result of another E&E syllabus committee on which I served.
- I included discussions of ethical and business scenarios (e.g., articles in Stepping Stone) during various business and actuarial 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 an Academy’s survey said was the number one ethical concern; namely, responding to pressure from management to select inappropriate assumptions for reserves or pricing.
As you review the responsibilities of the President Elect Job Description, the 2017-2021 Strategic Plan, and the 2019 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.
The President-Elect, President, Past President, and, indeed, the entire Board of Directors are the Leaders of the SOA as we are all elected by the entire membership. We are individually and collectively responsible for listening to members, 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 my many volunteer and business roles, I believe I have demonstrated the skills needed to be a successful Chair. For example, during the two years 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 to develop better ways to train new committee members and institute new grading techniques such as “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. I needed their support 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.
Currently, as a Board member of The Actuarial Foundation, I work with staff, teams of actuarial volunteers, and a consultant to create a national modeling competition for high school students. I began working on this initiative in the summer of 2015. The first competition concluded in February 2018 and the second in April 2019 with the awarding of $55,000 in scholarships to the top four teams. From year 1 to year 2, participation grew from 140 students to 873. As Chair, I work with different groups of volunteers to:
- Choose a topic 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 3!
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 had to prove oneself quickly!
On behalf of the SOA, I’ve interviewed with Time and HBO’s Vox News and written Op-Ed articles. I have also had the pleasure of being an ambassador among actuaries when meeting with students or attending an international actuarial or NAIC meeting.
What do you see as the future of the SOA and the profession, 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 have performed and explain how these experiences have prepared you for the Presidential role and qualify you in carrying out the strategic direction of the SOA.
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 in four different cities and helped all of them successfully grow while creating opportunities for learning and growth for my staff.
Each position posed different challenges. 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 with a CPA or MBA. I was either the only actuary or the only credentialed one and had to build an actuarial department. Before Prudential demutualized, management formed business units. I was the only actuary appointed business unit CFO. I have deep expertise and experience in medical insurance and managed care for individuals, small and large groups, Medicare, and Medicaid, I also have experience in long-term care, disability, dental, critical illness, group credit, group life, pensions, auto, and homeowners.
My prior executive positions will help me carry out the direction of the SOA as I have gained experience in working with diverse individuals in complex organizations and making major business and personnel decisions, especially in placing actuaries in non-traditional roles. I’ve led strategic as well as financial planning for these companies and have made quarterly presentations to company boards. I also have led by example to encourage volunteering, taking a risk, and continuing to learn new skills.
Volunteer and Governance Experience
Describe how your volunteer, personal and governance experiences would strengthen your contributions to the SOA Board, the organization, and strategic plan execution.
I began volunteering as a new Fellow in 1980 and have been contributing ever since in various ways for the SOA as well as for the Academy, industry groups, and in my community. As shown below, I have also served on many different kinds of boards. These experiences have given me not only working knowledge of two key areas of the SOA (Education and Research), but also how organizations make decisions, and how to influence those decisions as a board member or board chair in a collegial way.
- 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 the Transactions, Journal of Managed Care, Health Watch, and Contingencies
- Won award (1990) for best paper on employee benefits, which was used on syllabus for many years
- First chair of Research Papers committee
- Ph.D. grant committee
- Speaker at SOA meetings on healthcare, E&E, and risk
- SOA (2015-2018)
- Actuarial Foundation (2016-present)
- Elected twice to Board of Education (NJ)
- St. Louis World Affairs Council
- Chamber of Commerce (PA)
- Synagogue boards