2019 Board Member Candidate
Hans Wagner, FSA 1992
Recently Chief Actuary and Chief Risk Officer
I was first attracted to the actuarial profession by its strong ethics and the opportunity for socially important work coupled with interesting intellectual challenges and potentially lucrative employment. The path my career has taken including over 20 years abroad has not been what I could have expected, but has always delivered on those initial attractors. My goal in running for the Board is to help set the SOA’s strategic direction to maintain and enrich the profession so that our members and society as a whole benefit.
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 must 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. To strengthen the SOA we need to actively encourage diversity in membership and also diverse working relationships with other organizations.
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 and engagement with 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 and prepare the next Plan.
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 so I well understand the challenges and opportunities in a volunteer-driven organization. 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:
Currently I am completing strategic analysis projects for AXA while in transition from my prior role as Chief Actuary and Chief Risk Officer for ICBC-AXA Life in Shanghai. At ICBC-AXA I led 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 responsibilities included 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). We developed the Enterprise Risk Management function meeting shareholders’ and regulators’ requirements along with responsibility for ALM technical support. Supported Board of Directors and management in defining corporate Risk Appetite along with functional risk limits, and maximizing returns within the defined risk envelope. Focused on staff development and delivered internal and external training on Risk Management, ALM, product management, and economic capital. Supported 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(s) 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 US my next move was abroad, joining AXA’s Asia-Pacific unit in Melbourne, Australia as the US GAAP Regional Development Manager and then Chief Actuary-International with responsibility for operations across Asia. 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 in 2011 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 was responsible for Actuarial and Risk Management until June 2019, and am currently working on strategic projects for AXA while transitioning back to France.
Throughout my career I have done extensive work outside my companies, either as part of the corporate role or volunteering. I have volunteered service to the SOA in a variety of ways:
- on various examination and education committees including as Vice Chairman,
- writing articles and making presentations,
- on the Valuation Actuary Symposium Planning Committee,
- on the International Section Council including as Asia-Pacific Ambassador Coordinator,
- overseeing Fellowship research papers,
- running an exam center,
- on the Adapting Education for International Markets Task Force
- on the China Committee and assisting coordination of the China Annual Symposium, and
- currently as a member of the PD Redesign and Engagement Strategy Task Force.
Other roles have 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 was not easy with the time differences, though at least basketball is popular there!), 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 occupies most outside work hours, though. This Spring we completed a “trip of a lifetime” by train and car along the Silk Road from eastern China to Uzbekistan. 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 and one dog we adopted in China to partially fill the void from the death of our 19-year-old French cat.