David N. Ingram, FSA 1984
New Rochelle NY
Brief description of current work:
Research and Writing. COVID Mitigation Monitoring Project – leader and analyst. Collecting, analyzing and reporting on observations by volunteers of COVID Mitigation activities. Project supported by SOA. Produced final reports from the project in May 2021. Variety of Decision Making – co-author of a research paper funded by the Joint Risk Management Section. Author of book on ERM planned for 2nd half of 2021.
Primary Area of Practice:
Why do you want to be on the Board?
After spending 30 years working mostly as an actuary in life insurance, I moved to S&P where I led their effort to incorporate ERM into their rating process. And for the past 12 years, prior to retiring at the end of 2020, I worked for a reinsurance broker advising their P&C and Health insurer clients on ERM. As a volunteer, I led the efforts to start a risk management specialty for the SOA, including forming what is now the Joint Risk Management Section. I also led the team that wrote the first ERM professional standards of practice for the U.S. and internationally for the IAA. With the IAA I also served as the chair of the Enterprise and Financial Risks Committee. I will bring to the board a very broad perspective from working with scores of volunteers and almost 300 insurers in all sectors of the insurance industry across the globe as well as extensive experience with communicating through writing and speaking/presentations.
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 concentrated exclusively on Risk Management for insurance companies from 2005 to 2020. In 2005, I led the work at Standard & Poor's to incorporate ERM into their insurance ratings process; training analysts; explaining the process to the industry by speaking at public events; and writing articles for publication. I participated in ERM reviews of over 100 Life, P&C, Health and Financial insurers globally.
From 2008 to 2020, I led the ERM Advisory practice at Willis Re for North America. In that position, I helped almost 200 Property/Casualty and Health insurers to start or improve their ERM programs. Most recently, that work concentrated on large ORSA projects. I produced almost 100 educational ERM webinars for insurer risk managers, executives and board members, wrote over 75 blog posts and about 95 articles for actuarial and insurance industry publications. Four papers that I wrote won the prize of "Best Practical Paper" at the ERM Symposium.
Prior to 2005, my professional experience was as a Life Actuarial Consultant for a major consulting firm and as an executive and staff actuary at two U.S. life insurance companies where one recurring activity was the analysis of risk and reward for life insurer products.
My experience working with so many insurance companies over the past fifteen years has provided me with a perspective on what management says about how the insurer should be operated. I want to share what I have learned with the SOA Staff and Board in hopes that will help with decisions about the future of the SOA organization and the actuarial profession.
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. Please list your relevant volunteer experience. Please include the name of the organization, your role, and approximate dates.
2000 – 2003 Founded and Chaired the SOA Risk Management Task Force which established over 10 working groups with over 100 volunteers. RMTF produced white papers used on CERA syllabus.
2004 – 2006 Founded and Chaired the SOA Risk Management Section which has expanded to be joint with the CAS and the CIA.
2009 – 2016 Chair of the ASB Enterprise Risk Management Taskforce. Lead the actuaries who drafted the first two actuarial standards of practice for ERM.
2011 – 2015 Chair of the IAA Enterprise and Financial Risks Committee. Sharing ERM activities of actuaries globally and initiating research and educational projects of broad interest.
2009 – 2017 First Chair of the ERM Task Force of the Actuarial Standards Committee of the IAA. Led the team of actuaries that drafted the first international actuarial standards of practice for ERM.
2020 – 2021 Researcher for project funded by the Joint Risk Management Section “Modelling the Variety of Decision-Making”
2020-2021 Researcher for project partially funded by the SOA “COVID Mitigation Monitoring Project”
Writing for newsletters, The Actuary magazine and speaking at SOA meetings.
I learned how to effectively start and lead a volunteer working group. As a board member I would use and share that knowledge.
What did you learn in the COVID19 pandemic that will help you, post-pandemic?
During COVID-19 pandemic, I worked on a research project to solicit volunteer observations of mitigation practices across the U.S. I learned how to collect and work with real time data to create immediately actionable information. I know that some areas of actuarial practice work with very recent data, but many do not. I hope to be able to spend time over the next several years exploring further areas where working with “warmer” data could benefit actuarial work.
Describe a constructive conversation you had in a group setting or one-on-one during which opinions varied and you needed to get to a consensus.
In my job, I regularly led a risk identification and prioritization exercise where the main objective was to create an initial consensus of the workshop participants (usually the management team of an insurer) regarding the key risks of the firm. Usually this involved helping the group to agree upon criteria for assessment and then on how these criteria apply to each risk. This consensus position will often not make everyone happy but the process needs to make everyone satisfied that their views have been heard and considered. And the process needs to be an efficient use of everyone’s time – usually 3 – 4 hours.
I have also led discussions of volunteers where we were working to create professional standards of practice where there needed to be a single outcome starting from a variety of opinions. In these situations, I usually tended to work through a long list of items, resolving those that could be resolved more easily and deferring discussion of more contentious issues to a second or third pass through the topics. With each pass, the group built more and more common understanding of the topics involved and of how each other saw the issues which made outstanding issues easier to resolve and made it easier for someone whose position was rejected to believe that the others had actually given it serious consideration.
Describe how your awareness of diversity, equity and inclusion has evolved throughout your life.
I am a cis-gender white male. My awareness of diversity, equity and inclusion has evolved slowly over my entire adult life. It started with my experiences as young adult living in the racially integrated Mount Airy section of Philadelphia and being very active in an integrated church. I served on an interfaith Anti-Racism committee for two years where I heard personal stories of situations where black members of the group had experienced overt bigotry in their lives.
Our daughter’s first husband was black, and her son, our first grandchild, is biracial. He has been brought up in the same integrated community in Philadelphia. I worry for him in our current environment.
For about six months, we had a co-worker of mine living in our house with us who was a Muslim from Bangladesh. Because of my experience living with him, I became more aware of the wide range of people who make up the Muslim faith community.
I worked with many female actuaries and have watched the profession move to include more and more women actuaries. At Willis Re I worked in an analytics division led by a woman where many women have been given opportunities. I found it to be capably led and a very creative and productive environment.
I found that I was delighted to be called upon recently at the wedding of a close relative and her bride to give advice from the longest married couple at the reception to the newlyweds.
How would your experiences strengthen your understanding of international issues?
My international experience includes work with several large Canadian multi-national insurers as a consultant, review of ERM programs for the largest multi-national European insurers for S&P, volunteer work with the International Actuarial Association and ERM advisory work with a small number of non-U.S. Willis Re clients. Work has taken me to every continent except Antarctica. One of the main things that I have learned through those experiences is that very often conflicts across borders result from a failure of one or multiple parties in a discussion to be aware that something that is done one way in their country is often done totally differently in another country.
An example of that is in the ORSA process, which is something that is in most countries specified by the regulators. While the broad concept of the ORSA is the same the world over, the details of what is needed to be done to satisfy local regulations for an ORSA varies quite a lot from country to country. A task force of the IAA spent more than a year constructing a document that sought to spell out the details and differences of the ORSA throughout the world so that discussions of IAA delegates could be held to talk about issues that were actually held in common. The recurring problem with that project was to get people to realize how many details of ORSA requirements in their country needed to be spelled out because they were not the same everywhere else.
How does the SOA need to change to meet emerging challenges and opportunities?
Like most organizations, the SOA needs to balance between supporting the current needs of members, the medium-term strategies of the organization that are works in progress and preparing for far longer-term challenges, some of which we can see only dimly at present. I was involved in early days of the actuarial profession moving into the Enterprise Risk Management arena and through that experience, I learned that the most valuable skill of actuaries in a situation of emerging challenges and opportunities is our ability to learn – to tackle and master a new topic and to find ways to bring the unique actuarial perspective to add value. This is even more valuable than the specific body of knowledge and skills and experience performing ongoing actuarial tasks. I believe that information about emerging challenges and opportunities needs to be gathered from all corners and that the board should be challenging all parts of the organization, both staff and volunteers, to identify the specific opportunities and challenges as they cross the horizon and first become visible. The challenge is to make this process as streamlined and efficient as possible. The trick that needs to be mastered is to give enough resources to emerging situations so that we are prepared for the ones that actually become a real threat/opportunity.
Many people think that the two choices when faced by these situations is to fight or flee. However, in fact, the reaction of most organizations and most people is to freeze. To meet these challenges, the SOA must build and maintain a bias towards action when faced with emerging challenges and opportunities. If the SOA can combine the outstanding ability of actuaries to learn with a bias towards action, then the profession will likely be able to meet these situations.