Brian L. Louth, FSA 1989, FCIA
Senior Vice President Business Development and Chief Marketing Officer
RGA Life Reinsurance Company of Canada
Toronto Ontario, Canada
Brief Description of the type of work you currently do:
Maintain and grow effective relationships with clients to deliver meaningful reinsurance solutions. Provide leadership and direction to the business development and underwriting teams at RGA Canada.
Primary Area of Practice:
Other Areas of Practice/Interests:
Product Development, Education, and Research
Why do you want to be on the Board?
Shaping the education focus of the SOA to continually grow the relevance and value of actuaries is critical to the profession’s support of the evolving needs of key stakeholders. My long history of involvement with the SOA Education and Examination Committees, combined with the leadership skills, business knowledge and expertise developed over my 35 years in the insurance industry, equip me well to effectively contribute to the future direction of the SOA. My Canadian perspective also broadens the discussion.
Growing member engagement with the SOA, an ongoing challenge of the Canadian Advisory Council’s objectives, is another key focus for me.
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 as a member of the SOA board?
Strong ethics are table stakes. Transparency comes from effective communication. I am proud to be part of a company and a profession that has a reputation for providing trusted advice with high ethical standards and professionalism.
I like everything to be stated clearly and simply. I tend to lean toward the technical and enjoy theoretical, complex and global concepts. My natural style is to listen to understand others views and positions before sharing my views. I am a diplomatic negotiator and am not above trying new or unconventional approaches. With teams I am usually able to persuade other people to give their input which suits my preference to gather and organize information before concluding.
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 advance the direction of the SOA. We need both leaders and team members. Describe a situation from either your professional or volunteer experiences that demonstrated where you can be effective in each of these roles.
I currently lead the marketing, business development and underwriting teams for RGA in the Canadian market. Our business success comes from our ability to leverage the collective expertise of associates from across our local and global offices. My personal belief is that collaboration of the team leads to the most informed decision. No one individual or team has all the solutions. At RGA, we listen to our clients, assess their needs, and then work with members of the RGA and client teams to deliver the right business solution. It is the strong relationships we build with our clients, within our company, and with members of the industry and profession that lead to the kind of collaboration essential to business success.
While there are times when it is important to question and challenge others, it is equally important to support and communicate team decisions. This is always my expectation of myself and others on my team. There are times to lead and times to follow for all of us. Each of these roles can provide a valuable learning experience. My volunteer work with the SOA has provided me with a unique perspective on leadership and teamwork as I have participated in many roles from committee membership to leadership roles such as General Chair for the Education Steering and Coordination Committee. And, in my experience, the SOA staff have been key contributors to the successful achievement of the objectives and goals of the various committees on which I have participated.
Board members need to exhibit curiosity and a desire to learn about areas that may potentially impact the SOA and the profession. How will you apply that knowledge as an elected Board Member?
My current job keeps me well connected to evolution in the industry, from regulatory changes to Insurtech and Fintech. Combining this with my participation on various industry committees and task forces (including the SOA) helps maintain awareness. There are so many interesting and exciting challenges in front of us with continuing disruption in technology and the industry. Reading articles and discussing these challenges with others is something I embrace.
In the Canadian market I see two dominant themes, regulatory changes and streamlining the customer journey. My interest and curiosity has led to my participation in the CLHIA Distribution Task Force and various other industry committees providing me with opportunities to share my knowledge and expertise in solving challenging issues, and equally as important, to keep me as professional, up-to-date and informed about the critical issues facing the both the actuarial profession and the insurance industry.
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.
It is always a challenge to focus your energy on the right priorities. This helps to optimize the available resources. In my business development role, it is essential to deliver on commitments you make to clients. This same commitment is required in delivering on expectations with task forces and volunteer committees.
As a member of the senior leadership team for our Canadian business, I participate in setting priorities to achieve key business objectives. Knowing when to stop projects while being open and flexible as new information arises is helpful to sustaining the engagement of teams while efficiently leveraging resources. I believe this experience will transfer well to my ability to support the SOA Board in moving forward with the key elements of the strategic plan.
As a young actuary I received excellent advice. When you spend the company’s money, spend it as you would your own. Wise words, and a simple tenet to being prudent and respectful of limited resources.
Provide a brief description of your professional background and the type of work you have performed and explain how these experiences have prepared you as an Elected Board Member and qualify you in carrying out the strategic direction of the SOA.
My early career included a variety of technical actuarial roles across pricing, product development, financial reporting, and investments. I was very involved the recruiting of actuarial students and in establishing a rotation program to support the development of actuaries within the company. I progressed from managing technical teams of actuaries and accountants to being responsible for the affinity business. Today I am part of the Canadian leadership team of a reinsurance company with specific accountability for the marketing, business development and underwriting functions. I spend a great deal of my time working with executive level contacts across the Canadian insurance industry. I have a strategic focus in developing reinsurance solutions that go beyond traditional risk sharing structures.
I participate in our quarterly board meetings and am comfortable with the level of preparation required to contribute appropriately in a board setting.
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.
My strongest interest has always been with actuarial education. The majority of my volunteer energy over the last 30 years has been focused on education as demonstrated by my volunteer history with the Society of Actuaries. My perspective on the future of education has been shaped by my past experience and through relationships and connections I have built with other actuaries. I believe that this perspective will benefit the future direction of education for actuaries in these times of rapid change.
I currently support exam development for General Insurance, Enterprise Risk Management and Individual Life and Annuities. I am a member of the SOA Canadian Advisory Council and also participate on the CLHIA Task Force for Insurance Distribution. Previous volunteer roles include General Chairperson of the Education Steering and Coordination Committee for the SOA, Chair of the 2009 Canadian Reinsurance Conference and member of the Loma Canada Council.
I was honoured to receive recognition of my volunteer contributions with an SOA Outstanding Volunteer Award in 2016 and a Presidential Award in 2018. It was inspiring to participate on the 2018 SOA Outstanding Volunteer Awards committee and have an opportunity to learn more about the outstanding efforts of the most recent award nominees in pursuit of the advancement of the actuarial profession.