The SOA seeks to advance actuaries as leaders in measuring and managing risk. To do that, the SOA needs to understand what’s going on in the environment, both the industries in which actuaries work (e.g. insurance, pensions) and the world at large (e.g. economy). An environmental observation is information about a change, trend or development in industry, economic, national or global environments. Environmental observations are key pieces of data that, put together, help build understanding of the changing environment. From that understanding, the SOA can develop education, research, and other programs and strategies to respond.
The form has four sections.
- Title/Submitted by/Date: If you are submitting the form on behalf of a volunteer(s), please list their name(s) and your name.
- Environmental Observation: Summarize the observation and explain why it is important.
- Observation Source: Could be media, conversations with volunteers/members, task force or committee meetings, industry trends, observations from multiple sources. Show how the source supports the observation (e.g. an observation noting a potential reputation risk might sight media sources that are negative in their comments about an actuarial work product).
- Opportunities and Challenges: Note where you see this as creating an opportunity or challenge to the SOA or profession. When considering upsides and downsides, look at the ability to affect SOA key statistics (revenue, membership counts, candidate counts), the reputation of the SOA and/or the profession, and our ability to achieve the SOA vision statement (Actuaries are highly sought-after professionals who develop and communicate solutions for complex financial issues.) In this section we are asking you to hypothesize what the outcome(s) reacting (or not reacting) to this observation could arise.
In general, when submitting observations stick to the facts as much as possible. Even within the opportunities and challenges section, where you are asked to think about what could be, think broadly across the spectrum and hypothesize a range of potential outcomes; for example, you may see “event A” as wholly positive, e.g. leading to a potential uptick in candidates, but if there are potential pitfalls as a result of “event A,” please note those as well.