SOA releases passing candidate numbers for March 2021 Exam IFM.

Candidate Questionnaire

Roger Loomis, FSA 2007, MAAA
Principal
Actuarial Resources Corporation
Overland Park, KS



Brief description of current work:

Actuarial consulting with focus on modeling and Latin America

Primary Area of Practice:

Long-Term Care Insurance, Modeling

Other Areas of Practice/Interests:

Predictive Analytics, International

Why do you want to be on the Board?

I want to help the SOA stay focused on its vision of actuaries being highly sought-after professionals who solve complex financial problems. To achieve this, the SOA should provide excellent basic and continuing education and support cutting-edge research. We should take a cosmopolitan approach and capitalize on the experience and insights of actuaries in other countries and organizations who share this vision.

My career has taken me across product lines, countries, and languages and provided a broad perspective on the issues actuaries face. This background and my strategic planning skills will make me a valuable addition to the Board.

Professional Background

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 been in the actuarial profession since earning my master’s degree in Economics 23 years ago. For the first 10 years of my career I worked at insurance companies in several product lines including life, health, long-term disability, and long-term care. Most of my responsibilities involved valuation and forecasting, and I always found myself trying to create better models, more insightful reports, and innovative ways to add value to the process.

For the last 13 years I have been at Actuarial Resources Corporation where I’ve worked as an actuarial software developer and a consultant. I am now a principal at the firm and lead the company in two areas: our health insurance consulting practice and our Latin America practice. In the health insurance practice, one of our specialties is creating cutting-edge actuarial models using Monte Carlo Simulation that do a better job of helping actuaries understand and manage the risk of their product designs. These models are discussed in the research paper, “Understanding the Volatility of Experience and Pricing Assumptions in Long-Term Care Insurance,” which is now on the syllabus for the SOA’s Life Pricing exam.

I am fluent in written and spoken Spanish, and have consulted in Mexico, Chile, Argentina, and Brazil. These projects have exposed me to innovative ways insurance is used in different countries and the unique market and regulatory challenges faced abroad.

Having worked with actuaries in several countries across virtually all product lines has given me insight into the creative ways different actuaries in different situations deal with problems. The insights, creativity, and communication skills I have developed will be valuable assets when collaborating with the Board and other actuaries who share our vision of actuaries being highly sought-after professionals who solve complex financial problems.

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’ve volunteered in multiple research projects for SOA sections and have made dozens of presentations on actuarial topics to both technical and non-technical audiences, including presentations in Spanish to the Asociación Mexicana de Instituciones de Seguros (AMIS) and the Asociación Mexicana de Actuarios (AMA).

In all of these groups I gained experience brainstorming about problems, researching ideas, developing a consensus, setting goals, holding the members of the team accountable, and achieving results.

One particularly interesting project I led was the 2015 LTC Pricing Project. In this project we acquired historical pricing assumptions from eight carriers that had continuously been in the LTC market from 2000 to 2014. With this data, we modeled how the LTCI market has evolved as carriers learned about the LTC risk and acquired experience data on an insured population. We then quantified how the riskiness of the business had decreased as the product matured. We presented the results at virtually every SOA meeting and to executives, brokers, and analysts at the conferences of the ACLI, NAILBA, AALTCI, NAHUA, and AIFA.

This was invaluable experience on how to collaborate on innovative solutions and to promote the actuarial profession through communicating SOA research.   

Please list your relevant volunteer experience. Please include the name of the organization, your role, and approximate dates.

Member of Predictive Analytics (PA) Exam Committee, 2017-2019. Helped develop syllabus, write modules, write and grade exams.

Led LTC Pricing Project, 2016-2017. Conducted a high-profile research project about the future viability of LTC insurance and the probability of rate increases on new policy issues.

Co-Chair of Long-Term Care Think Tank, 2012-2014. Conducted a large Delphi study intended to find ways of improving LTC financing in the United States.

Member of Long-Term Care Section Council, 2009-2012

President of Kansas City Actuaries Club, 2008-2011

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.

When serving on the board, I would expect challenges to arise regarding conflicts of interest. For example, part of my consulting practice involves work in Latin America. If the SOA decided to expand more aggressively into Latin America, that could potentially be to my professional advantage. The key to dealing with such a potential conflict or even the appearance of one is to get ahead of the issue by disclosing it up front. With the issue in the open from the onset, we can have an honest discussion about its implications and the best course to take as we pursue the SOA’s strategic objectives.

The most rewarding experiences of my career have been on teams with a high level of trust—on teams where we knew that we all had good intentions and put the good of the team first. On such teams the members are free to express their views honestly, not fear that what they say will be used against them, be open to the views of others, and focus on the job at hand. This level of trust is necessary for the open and vigorous debates that lead to the best decisions.

Team Player

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.

When I was a co-chair of the Long-Term Care Think Tank, we undertook the ambitious goal of forming a consensus opinion on how America’s emerging Long-Term Care needs could best be delivered and financed. Forming a consensus opinion was challenging because of the diverse nature of the Think Tank; its membership included actuaries, insurance company executives, marketing and sales professionals, and public policy advocates.  We decided that the Delphi Method would be a good way to conduct the study. We knew the Predictive Analytics and Futurism Section had some expertise with conducting Delphi studies, so we reached out to that section and invited them to co-sponsor the study. We were also able to recruit an insurance marketing consultant with expertise in Long-Term Care to help administer the study. With this group of people working together, we were able to successfully finish the project and publish the results in the paper “Land this Plane: A Delphi Research Study of Long-Term Care Financing Solutions.”

Intellectual Engagement

Describe how you stay intellectually engaged and how you will apply your personal knowledge as an Elected Board Member.

I read newspapers, magazines, newsletters, and attend at least a few industry events every year. I use Google Alerts as a clipping service for stories of interest. I then selectively choose specific areas that I want to study more deeply. As an example, after learning about predictive analytics in a general way, it became clear that it is a valuable tool for marketing and underwriting. However, it was less clear how helpful it can be for experience analysis and assumption setting in life insurance. In order to better evaluate how these new tools can be best applied in these core competencies, I decided to take a deep dive into predictive analytics by taking online courses in R, enrolling in the SOA Pilot Certification program, creating models at Kaggle, and reading books on the topic.

I try to have frequent conversations with my clients and others to discuss the underlying issues our work addresses. As an example, several years ago I was charged with developing a first-principles actuarial forecasting model for life-LTC hybrid products. After studying the problem, I concluded that because of the path-dependent contingencies, there were simply too many nodes to model these benefits deterministically from first principles. I recalled from my basic education that when investment contracts have this issue, they are modeled using Monte Carlo simulation. After considering whether this would be the best approach for hybrid products, I went to the ILTCI conference with the personal mission of talking about this idea with as many actuaries as possible. This eventually vindicated the approach and led to collaboration on other insights about how simulation could be used to measure and manage risk. Multiple carriers now model their hybrid products using simulation.

Stewardship

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.  

At the end of every year, the profits at my company are placed in a bonus pool that is distributed to employees. Going through the annual process of setting budgets and approving expenditures has made me acutely aware of the need to be prudent with resources. Every marginal expense reduces the size of the bonus pool, dollar for dollar.

While it is vital that we invest in the company’s future, it is equally vital that we are left with annual bonus pools large enough to attract and keep the best people. Going through this process makes me always remember that every dollar we spend on one thing has the opportunity cost of everything else we could have done with that dollar. Really understanding opportunity costs is the basis of being prudent with resources and is something I will take with me on my role on the SOA Board.

My career has taken me across product lines, countries, and languages and provided a broad perspective on the issues actuaries face. This background and my strategic planning skills will make me a valuable addition to the Board.