By Greg Fann
In the Public Interest, January 2021
The Social Insurance and Public Finance (SIPF) Section Council had its annual kickoff meeting on Dec. 1. As you likely suspect, it was held virtually. We discussed our plans for 2021 and I wanted to share some highlights. We were fortunate to have an engaging discussion and full attendance from the council. As a result of SOA staff restructuring, we welcomed Steve Siegel to our group. Steve is a veteran Research Actuary with the SOA and we are delighted to have access to his expertise and experience.
As a multi-disciplinary section that serves actuaries who practice in Social Security, public pension plans, and government-backed health insurance programs, we are careful in planning our work to align with serving section members. Forty-six percent of us consider ourselves “health” actuaries while 25 percent consider “retirement” our primary practice area. Section members should expect content similar to prior years and an enhanced focus on various health concerns.
Historically, some of our key accomplishments have been award-winning presentations at SOA meetings. Along with the SOA, we adapted in 2020 to facilitate virtual presentations. Many section members regularly attend both the SOA Health Meeting in the spring and the SOA Annual Meeting & Exhibit in the fall. The section will be submitting several session proposals for each of these meetings. We also plan to host a section breakfast at both meetings; please join us and share your ideas about the section if you are attending the respective meeting. At this point in time, it is still unclear whether 2021 meetings will be in-person or virtual. A hybrid scenario is a possibility, and we are developing sessions that will fit under any format. Notably, the SOA Health Meeting is scheduled to be held in Baltimore, Maryland; this provides unique opportunities to recruit speakers with a government background from the Washington, D.C. and Baltimore areas.
We spent quite a bit of meeting time brainstorming a “Call for Essays.” You will hear more about this soon. The proposed topics are exciting, and thoughtful essays will undoubtedly lead to further engaged discussion. As a bonus, we will be awarding cash prizes to winning papers.
The section will continue to regularly sponsor webcasts. Expect to see more health-focused content this year. Health care and the supporting financial systems have been at the forefront of federal policy for most of this century. A new presidential administration with advocacy for larger social supports will certainly be of interest to section members. Another more recent forum that we have utilized is podcasts. Prior recordings can be found on the resources page on the section website. We release one or two podcasts a month so check back regularly for the latest.
If you have any suggestions on content for our various forums, please let me or other council members know. Looking forward to 2021!
Greg Fann, FSA, MAAA, is the chair of the Social Insurance & Public Finance Section Council and a consultant with Axene Health Partners, LLC. He can be reached at email@example.com.