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A Veritable Feast: 2021 Continuing Education Webinar Opportunities From Your Joint Risk Management Section Council

By Tony Dardis

Risk Management, June 2021


As most of us have continued to “work from home” in the first half of 2021, it has never been more important for the Society of Actuaries to continue to provide quality, relevant continuing education opportunities through the webinar medium. The Joint Risk Management Section (JRMS) Council believes we have been doing—and will continue to do—our part for actuaries practicing in the risk management arena. If you haven’t dialed in to any of our sessions recently—no worries, we have a great program still ahead for the rest of the year, with many Continuing Professional Development (CPD) credits available for you to tap into.

In this article I’ll reflect on the year so far, the events coming up very soon, and what lies ahead for later in the year too.

The 2021 Opener: A “Special” for our non-U.S. Practitioners

We kicked the 2021 series off with a cracker. In planning for the webinar series in 2021, the JRMS Council made a concerted effort to ensure we offered sessions that were as relevant to the non-U.S. membership as well as the U.S. With that in mind, our first session of the year was specifically focused on the new International Financial Reporting Standards—IFRS 17—and the emerging global Insurance Capital Standards (ICS).

Our webinar “Risk Management Aspects of Changing International Capital Standards and International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS 17),” held on March 26, had a superb panel of renowned global experts in the field: Ralph Ovsec from Willis Towers Watson; Dean Stamp from ManuLife; and, as moderator, Maggie Ma from Sun Life. The panel addressed the enterprise risks associated with the adoption of the changes required to implement IFRS 17, including interpretation, operational readiness, and potential impacts on risk strategy. Additionally, the panel explored the purpose and background of the ICS, and discussed progress toward its proposed implementation as a global capital standard in 2025. The session was geared toward those working for insurers located outside of the U.S., and for U.S. insurers with parents that will be subject to IFRS 17, and we were delighted by the number of people who dialed in and gave us very positive feedback on the session.

Coming up Very Soon

Following hot on the heels of the 2021 opener, we have three more mouth-watering sessions coming up later in May, June, and July.

On May 25, we will be presenting “Chief Risk Officer Perspectives: ERM During the Pandemic,” led by a team from Oliver Wyman: Christopher Murphy, Morgan Poropatic, with Rebecca Scotchie in the role of moderator. In preparing for the session, the panelists surveyed chief risk officers from several life and annuity companies and will share key insights coming out of that exercise. Key topics will include: the oversight role and responsibilities of Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) during the pandemic, the impact on ERM frameworks, and lessons learned. The session follows up on earlier successful “ERM and COVID-19” panels that the JRMS has hosted, including a highly successful session at last year’s Society of Actuaries Annual Meeting & Exhibit, and promises some great insights and perspectives.

Then, coming soon after that, on June 8, you will have the opportunity to gain some valuable professionalism CPD credits, with our special webinar “Actuarial Standards of Practice for ERM.” This webcast will outline the key content in the ERM-specific Actuarial Standards of Practice (ASOPs) 46, 47 and 55 and explore the impact each ASOP has on practitioners working in these fields. We will also describe the ASOP revision work currently under way by the ERM Committee of the Actuarial Standards Board (ASB). Organized and moderated by the chair of the ERM Committee, David Paul from Assurant, this session will provide relevant and timely information to all actuaries practicing in the ERM field, including those with responsibility for developing ERM frameworks and those involved in capital assessment work such as Economic Capital. David will be accompanied by other members of the ERM Committee: Jamie Krieger from Highmark; Elisabetta Russo from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners; and myself.

And then to top off the near-term offerings, on July 8, Ron Harasym and Dave Halldorson from New York Life will be presenting on the topic of “Hybrid Proxy Modeling.” In this session, Ron and Dave will examine how the combination of various model efficiency approaches, pulling in many different facets of modeling and making it flexible enough to dial up or down various modeling components, can bring about incredible results. Not only does it become possible to produce and expand upon financial risk metrics via a building block approach, but also enables life insurers to produce analytics and dashboards to support strategic decisions that were simply not possible or cost effectively viable before. The session will be of much interest to any practitioner in the life and annuity industry that has responsibility for producing risk analytics.

And to Whet Your Appetite for What’s Ahead Later in the Year

Looking to later in the year, we are planning a number of additional sessions (dates and panelists in the process of being finalized), as follows.

  • Model Risk Management Best Practices for Life & Annuity Companies
    In the light of rapidly evolving regulatory and accounting changes necessitating increased attention to governance and controls, life insurers have been making considerable investment in building out their model risk management capabilities. In this highly practical session, we are planning to have experts discuss aspects of the topic, including how model risk management has been implemented at their respective companies, and in particular how the issue of "independent challenge" is being addressed.
  • Effective Implementation of Economic Capital
    Many life insurers around the world are supplementing their regulatory capital number with a calculation that is more oriented to an internal view of their risk exposures—what's commonly referred to as "Economic Capital." How are companies using Economic Capital, and what is viewed as the "value-add"? How have companies been able to get buy-in from management? Who are the stakeholders, and what is the regulatory and rating agency response? In this interactive panel, individuals responsible for Economic Capital at their respective companies will discuss the issues and describe their practices.
  • Smaller Insurer Focus: Development of a Risk Management Framework
    Virtually all large insurers today have in place a sophisticated ERM framework, of which the Own Risks Solvency Assessment (ORSA) is a part. However, what does ERM mean for a company that is not subject to the ORSA requirements, yet still faces enterprise risks to manage? Does an ERM framework make sense for a smaller company, and if so, what does it mean in terms of establishing a risk inventory, associated risk appetite, and overall risk strategy? In this session, industry experts with experience of working with smaller companies to build out their ERM functions, describe their work and highlight what they would view as ERM best practices for smaller insurers.
  • Emerging Risks, including Climate Change—What Are the Issues for Insurers and How to Manage Them
    The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and its on-going impacts for insurance companies has been a stark reminder of the importance of keeping on top of emerging risks and making some assessment as to what they could mean for the company and the potential impact. In this session, panelists discuss what they are viewing as the most important emerging risks of today, and how they are monitoring and potentially managing the threats. Special focus is given to risks associated with climate change and what some of the issues are there.
  • Operational Risks in the Light of Changing Regulations for Life Insurers
    Around the world there are rapid changes under way as a result of regulatory changes. In the U.S., life insurers have recently gotten up-and-running with VM-20 and VM-21, and also working to get ready for US GAAP changes under LDTI, as well as the pending implementation of a new Economic Scenario Generator in the U.S. for statutory reserves and capital. Around the rest of the world, life companies face analogous changes as a result of IFRS 17 and ICS. All of this creates tremendous operational risks as companies move quickly to implement the new regimes and be able to produce numbers quickly and accurately by the effective date. In this session, experts working to help get their companies/clients ready for the new regimes will explore the operational risks and describe how they are being managed in practice.
  • Risk Management Aspects of ALM and Hedging for Life Insurers
    Increasingly risk management aspects are being brought into decisions around Asset-Liability Management (ALM) and hedging. What are the impacts on capital for a given decision around asset allocation? Is there a balance to be struck between increasing the level of hedging versus holding more capital? What is meant by the concept of a "macro hedge" and how does it work? Also, in the current financial and economic environment, is hedging a viable option to help manage the risks associated with ultra-low interest rates for the foreseeable future? In this wide-ranging session, experts in the field of ALM will discuss the opportunities to use hedging as a risk management tool—what companies have been doing in practice, and where things could go in the future.

Between all the sessions already on offer and those being planned, we think we have something for everyone. Please do join us at the table for our veritable, virtual feast!

Statements of fact and opinions expressed herein are those of the individual author and are not necessarily those of the Society of Actuaries, the newsletter editors, or the respective author’s employer.

Tony Dardis, FSA, CERA, FIA, MAAA, is a consulting actuary with Milliman, and a Member of the Joint Risk Management Section Council. He can be contacted at