Coaching Actuaries at the Valuation Actuary Symposium (VAS)

“You’re from Coaching Actuaries?! You guys are like the Facebook of actuaries!” This is definitely the most memorable remark from the Valuation Actuary Symposium (VAS) in New York City. (Please don’t say anything to Mark Zuckerberg. I don’t want him to get any ideas.) But really, we had an excellent time in NYC representing Coaching Actuaries and SALT Solutions. There is an almost overwhelming concentration of brilliant minds and decades upon decades of experience in one locale for two days in the Big Apple.

Over the two-day symposium, we got to meet with corporate senior-level actuaries, including chief actuaries, consultants, and also state regulators. We also met a couple of students who are currently still in school. It’s exciting to see how eager these students are to get involved in the real (actuarial) world.

There is no doubt that actuarial discussion is inevitable at the Valuation Actuary Symposium. One interesting session sparked a debate on if actuaries should fully automate processes. For example, automating a process of creating a model for claims. Actuaries can write a VBA code and let Excel go through the entire process – but the panel raised the question, “do we have a system to cross check our results from the automation?” To be a good actuary, we need to question every single output.

An update from the SOA is that they are exploring a credential for Para-Actuaries according to the SOA President. Para-Actuaries are to actuaries what paralegals are to lawyers. This is a credential designed for those who are non-actuaries, but work with actuaries every day.

Overall, it was a great experience attending the VAS.