Are you Excited? SOA's Exponential Opportunities


The SOA Board has conducted an exhaustive study of the critical challenges facing the SOA, the actuarial profession and long-term growth prospects for both. We are excited to share the strategic roadmap for how we will evolve and transform our educational offerings to empower candidates and members with new skills and techniques in order to elevate the profession’s effectiveness for employers and society and safeguard its relevance and viability.

We call this SOA to the e-power . It will take all of us to power this transformation and realize its exponential opportunities.

Are you excited yet?


Was this the exciting announcement that was coming? I’ll read it (or browse through it) before jumping to too-strong a conclusion, but “strategic roadmap released by an actuarial professional society” wasn’t what I was expecting with all the lead-in hype.

Most of the stuff in there is not new at all – just continuing projects the SOA had already been pursuing for a few years now (like the predictive analytics stuff). So some of it isn’t a new strategic direction, but merely a repackaging of ongoing projects.

There is one change I’m wary about, because it may affect me & and SOA volunteering directly. It’s this bit:

Improve engagement by building a community structure that brings the SOA closer to members, closer to candidates, and closer to students who want to learn about the profession.

That community structure is going to supplant sections, I think. This may or may not work, but I think they don’t understand why, for example,, is going nowhere.

OK, I read it. It’s not terrible, but I’m not super impressed. It’s a strategic roadmap so understandably light on details. My key take-aways:

  • Education needs more focus on data science, predictive analytics, and virtual offerings. Which is fine, in part. I’ve always thought the true value actuaries bring isn’t being the biggest nerd in the room, it’s being able to connect many different parts of the business and draw relevant business conclusions. I’d have loved to see the data science piece complemented with a pseudo-MBA program focused on insurance, or other senior management level concerns. You’re not going to train up the next generation of CEO/CRO/CFOs or even Chief Actuaries by going all-in on the technical side.
  • The engagement program (based on wording choices) is mostly focused on connecting with younger professionals. The CE-related items they mention sound fine. A natural evolution from where we’re add, with some need to stay current and/or leap ahead with some of the technology needed to deliver it. Good focus point.
  • D&I is an after-thought. The Development&Engagement section even includes a bullet on increasing educational content related to D&I. But nothing about ACTUALLY engaging with less-represented populations. Words matter, and this one jumped out to me.
  • Research…skimmed it very high level. I’ve always thought the research arm of the SOA was super important and I’m glad to have a portion of my dues funding it. But I just can’t get into the details. Same thing here, I’m going to hope they’re researching the right things and teaching tomorrow’s actuaries to do things 10x better than I can do them today
  • Global…Not interested. SOA might view that as a growth opportunity. But as Lin-Manuel Miranda said “welcome to the present, we’re running a real nation”…US insurance code is not converging with international regs anytime soon, and I’m personally more concerned with US-based work. If there are efficiencies, great. If it provides a real value and not just a power grab, great. I’m not getting too excited about it.
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Oh, and my assumption is that all the section newsletters go poof.

We will see what happens. Maybe they’ll have sections continue in parallel to these other things. Or maybe not.

And then wonder why the volunteers they used to have are gone, and new ones haven’t come in behind them. Hmmm.


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so what is the plan? can you share more?

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