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March 2017 Board of Directors Meeting

Schaumburg, IL (Apr. 11, 2017) – The Society of Actuaries (SOA) Board of Directors (Board) met March 20-21, 2017, in its regular first-quarter in-person meeting.

“From a discussion about health care reform and its implications for actuaries to an in-depth exchange about the future of SOA research programs to further increase their focus and depth, the Board meeting was lively and tackled the issues from a strategic perspective,” said Jerry Brown, SOA President. “The role of elected board member is not only vital to the organization but to the dynamic discussions of our most current and pressing issues in the profession.”

Marketing and Communication Campaigns

The Board provided insight and feedback into an in-depth overview of 2017 SOA marketing and communication campaigns. The presentation included information about the SOA’s marketing and communications strategy, including how it has evolved, and how the SOA uses thought leadership, member and candidate communications, public relations and paid marketing to build and solidify the profession’s brand and reputation.

Public Policy Research and Strategic Research Programs

The Board provided feedback regarding ongoing work to establish formal operational processes on how research is pursued, whether research projects have public policy implications, how research topics are selected, and the internal review of project input. “SOA’s existing public policy research review process is a good example of a rigorous and streamlined decision-making process,” said Sara W. Goldberg, Board partner for Research. “We intend to continuously identify and respond to environmental changes in a timely manner by adhering to these processes.”

In addition to discussing research program identification processes, the Board provided insight into the SOA’s overall strategic research programs. In addition to a list of newly identified programs, the Board heard a presentation on ‘boundary criteria’ for established research programs. These boundary criteria test the relevance and impact of proposed research programs. The SOA Board discussed how using the criteria increases the focus and depth of all SOA research programs.

Health Care Reform

The Board heard an overview and provided feedback on the Affordable Care Act (ACA), including a comparison of health care reform plans, the cost of healthcare in the US and other countries, the SOA’s activities in education, and research and media outreach.

The SOA response to changes in health policy (as well as impending changes) generally falls into the categories of education and research for and by actuaries. Relevant research and other thought leadership can help inform policy decisions, and the SOA Board discussed at length the areas of opportunity for informing policy through education and research.

Environmental Scanning and Generative Discussion – Long Term Care

The Board discussed the 2017 environmental scanning initiative and the process established to address this initiative. The strategic initiative is a response to concerns that the SOA identify and respond to new trends affecting our members quickly. There are two key components to the process: environmental scanning to identify, triage and monitor issues and early Board involvement to frame their questions as issues are identified.

As a result of environmental scanning, the Board participated in a generative discussion on long term care insurance and its impact on the profession and the public. Breaking into smaller groups, board members discussed how the SOA should respond to the issue within its education and research mission. The Board framed emerging objectives and directed the SOA Executive Director to develop a response for the board’s consideration.

Reserved Seat Recommendation and Process and Board Role in Ballot Approval

The Board approved two reserved seats for the 2017 Board election for a candidate in the health area of practice and a candidate who is an international member. This means a minimum of two endorsed candidates for each reserved seat on the 2017 ballot. All candidates (elected board member and president-elect) who satisfy the criterion will be identified on the ballot. “Ensuring our board represents the professional diversity of our members helps the Board identify and respond to the challenges facing the profession,” said Paula Hodges, Board member and chair of the Governance and Policy Committee.

The Board also reviewed the process for SOA election ballot development and their role in that process. For more information on the SOA Elections process, visit the elections page on and the Elections Infographic.

Strategic Information Assets – Information Governance

The Board approved the new Information Governance (IG) policy. The IG policy institutes shared governance responsibility and an integrated approach to managing data collected and held by the SOA.

IG ensures that procedures and polices regulating the use, storage, sharing, and protection of various data sets are implemented, maintained and followed.