Terry M. Long, FSA 1981, MAAA
Senior Vice President & Principal
Lewis & Ellis, Inc.
Overland Park, KS
Brief Description of the type of work you currently do:
Consulting actuarial work for life insurance and annuity companies, audit firms, regulatory agencies and expert testimony
Primary Area of Practice:
Other Areas of Practice/Interests:
Financial Reporting, Product Development, Regulatory
Why do you want to be on the Board?
I am completing my first Board term. I have enjoyed the experience and am very excited about the current strategic initiatives, especially those dealing with Professional Development as part of the Long-Term Growth Strategy. While many of the decisions will be made this year, I want to have a role in helping to implement those initiatives. I believe I have demonstrated an ability to work with others and have contributed to the effectiveness of the Board. I also believe I have grown significantly the last two and a half years and believe my best contributions are still to come.
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.
I have worked in the actuarial field for more than 43 years, with almost 39 years as an FSA. During the first ten years of my career, I worked for an insurance company in both reinsurance and life/annuity product development. The last 33 years have been as a consulting actuary with a primary focus on small to mid-sized insurance companies. I have also worked with InsurTech firms, audit firms and regulatory agencies as well as providing expert testimony in a wide range of cases.
Over my career, I have seen significant changes in the tools we use, the skills needed to serve employers and clients, and the type of work actuaries do. The introduction of personal computers and tools such as Excel led to predictions that fewer actuaries would be needed since work could be completed more quickly than previously required. Same with advances in computer technology, speed and computing power. While it is true some of the activities we performed became simplified and easier to complete, an entirely new set of products, analysis and projections became possible. Actuaries were able to adapt and thrive due to our basic knowledge and ability to learn new skills. In that time, the demand for actuaries has increased, not decreased.
The growth of data science, AI and machine learning pose a greater challenge to actuaries than anything the profession previously experienced. It will also present greater opportunities for actuaries, both in traditional and non-traditional areas. I am optimistic that with the sound strategic approach we are developing and more timely, appropriate qualifying and continuing education from the SOA, actuaries will be able to succeed and thrive in an AI world.
Volunteer, Governance and Personal Experience
Describe how your volunteer, governance and personal experiences would strengthen your contributions to the SOA Board, the organization, and strategic plan execution.
I have spent more than 15 years serving as a volunteer with the SOA, primarily with Sections and professional development. From serving on program committees, chairing the Life and Annuity Symposium and serving on the Professional Development Committee (PDC) both as a section representative and later as the Board partner, I have learned much about what works, and doesn’t work, with respect to professional development activities. When the SOA announced that a Professional Development and Engagement Task Force would be developed, I eagerly volunteered to be a member and was appointed the Chair. All these experiences have been very helpful in my contributions to the Board’s work on the Long-Term Growth Strategy as I am one of the Board members on the professional development subgroup.
My involvement with sections continued after I joined the Board as I was one of the Section Liaisons during my first two years. This provided me the opportunity to meet with Section leaders several times during the year to inform them of Board activities as well as to learn about their concerns, needs and activities.
For the last two years, I have served on the Board’s Governance and Policy Committee.
Please list your relevant volunteer experience. Please include the name of the organization, your role, and approximate dates
- SOA Small Company Section Council, 2003 - 2006; Chair 2004 – 2005; Friend of the Council, 2006 - present
- Life and Annuity Symposium Track Chair, 2010
- Life and Annuity Symposium Program Committee Chair, 2012 and 2013
- SOA Professional Development Committee, 2012 – 2017 Life Sections Representative; 2017-present Board Partner; Chair 2014 – 2015
- Numerous SOA program committees, both as a section representative and as the PDC liaison to the Life and Annuity Symposium and Valuation Actuary Symposium
- SOA Professional Development and Engagement Task Force, 2019 – present; Chair
- SOA Board of Directors, 2017 – present
- SOA Appointment Committee, 2017 – present
- CAS/SOA Joint NAIC Recertification Process Proposal Task Force, 2017 – present
- SOA Outstanding Volunteer Committee, 2017 – 2018
Ethics and Transparency
Ethics and transparency are essential to professional practice and service on the board. Discuss ethics and transparency challenges you might expect to face in your role as elected board member, and describe how you would approach these challenges.
As a consulting actuary, it is imperative that I hold myself to a high ethical standard. Clients must be able to trust me to treat conversations and information they provide confidentially, to act professionally and to admit and correct mistakes when they occur. I have declined potential engagements when there was a conflict of interest or I was not qualified.
In my volunteer activities, there have been occasions where there were conflicts or potential conflicts on proposed alliances with the SOA. In those cases, I have disclosed the conflict and, as appropriate, did not vote or excused myself from all discussions on the proposal.
The same standards apply as a board member and manager of L&E. My partners and our employees must trust me to do what is right and to act in the best interest of the firm. While recognizing certain information must remain confidential, we have become more transparent with employees on company activities and finances. I have operated the same way with other Board members and SOA members. I have been committed to building their trust that I will act in the best interests of the SOA, and not mine or my employer’s.
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.
My volunteer activities, especially those with the Board and the Professional Development Committee, have provided many opportunities to collaborate with SOA staff and other volunteers. Assignments are typically group assignments for subgroups consisting of Board members, other volunteers and SOA staff.
In most of those opportunities, I was a team member. One example is the Joint CAS & SOA NAIC Recertification Process Proposal Task Force. The task force consisted of Board members and other volunteers from both the CAS and SOA as well as staff members from both organizations. It was organized to develop a proposal to the NAIC on a recertification process for P&C appointed actuaries. While the immediate need for the SOA was limited to our GI-track actuaries, there were concerns that the recertification process could extend to all appointed actuaries. Both organizations agreed it would be best to have similar processes for all appointed actuaries. Many of the task force’s discussions took place during, or immediately after, the combination discussions between the SOA and CAS. At no time was the work of the task force impacted by those discussions. The result was a proposal that was accepted by the NAIC with little or no change.
An example of being a leader is the Professional Development and Engagement Task Force. I was appointed the Chair of the task force, which consisted of a diverse group of members in terms of generations, professional and volunteer experience, geography and area of practice. Ultimately, the task force was combined with a subgroup of the Board to develop recommended changes to the SOA’s professional development programs. The result was a set of recommendations that is now being considered by the Board as part of the Long-Term Growth Strategy.
Describe how you stay intellectually engaged and how you will apply your personal knowledge.
As consultants, our clients expect us to be knowledgeable on the issues impacting the industry today as well as being informed on emerging issues that might impact us in the future. As an employer, we also monitor events to ensure we are properly positioned. I stay informed in a number of ways, including:
- Reading SOA and Academy publications, such as section newsletters, The Actuary and Contingencies
- Reading non-actuarial industry publications and articles
- Reading various newspapers and articles not directly related to the insurance industry
- Conversations with work colleagues, including those from other disciplines such as A&H and P&C actuaries
- Conversations with professionals in other disciplines, including InsurTech
- Attending meetings where most of the attendees are non-actuaries
- Reading books on leadership and performance improvement
- Podcasts on various topics, especially topics that are new or different from my practice area
- Suggested readings for SOA Board meetings
While the first two items mentioned are valuable for staying informed on what is happening today and having immediate impacts on the SOA and the profession, I have found the other items are often more valuable for learning about what might impact us two to five years from now.
Due to SOA Board and PDC activities, I pay extra attention to how emerging areas might change the profession, with extra focus on the continuing education needs of SOA members as well as how the SOA might deliver that continuing education. I have applied that knowledge during Board discussions and in various Board committee meetings.
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.
During my time on the Board and Professional Development Committee, we have had to make decisions about how to best use the funds, SOA staff and volunteers available to us. As an example, one of PDC’s roles is to review potential partnerships or alliances with other organizations to provide education content to members. Another responsibility is to periodically review SOA-sponsored events and meetings. A key consideration in both examples is the perceived benefits to the members and SOA in exchange for the monetary, staff and volunteer investment. Decisions to discontinue programs that no longer serve the intended purpose have been modified or discontinued.
As part of the management team for L&E, one of my responsibilities is to help ensure we have the staff and tools in place to support our clients. Another is to see that our staff has the necessary skills, gets the appropriate training and education they require, and find their jobs fulfilling. At the same time, we are responsible for growing the company and managing expenses to ensure we can achieve a profit that adequately rewards our staff and owners. That has included making some difficult staffing decisions.
The knowledge and skills gained from both my volunteer and professional experiences will carry over to my role on the SOA Board. Conversely, much of what I have learned from my SOA Board service has been valuable both professionally and in other volunteer activities. I will remain committed to ensuring the SOA continues to maintain a professional staff and provides the quality services expected by our members, while using our resources effectively and efficiently. This has required extra commitment by the SOA and all Board members the last few months as we find new ways to deliver the services expected by SOA member.