The Great Modeling Debate: What Standards Should Apply?

July 22, 2015
12-1:30 p.m. EDT

The Academy continued its popular and affordable professionalism webinars in July, focusing on a topic that was not previously addressed but that is of interest and concern to the vast majority of our members.

Almost all actuarial work involves modeling of some type. Recognizing that the number and importance of modeling applications in actuarial science is increasing, in 2012 the Actuarial Standards Board (ASB) established a Modeling Task Force charged with developing an actuarial standard of practice to address modeling applications in all practice areas. Based on the work of that task force, the ASB issued a first exposure draft of a new modeling standard in 2013 and a second exposure draft in 2014. The many thoughtful comments on these exposure drafts have made it clear that actuaries have a wide range of opinions on what standards should apply to modeling.

Our expert presenters engaged in a mock debate to provide different perspectives on issues raised in the comments on the draft modeling standard.



Patricia Matson, MAAA, FSA 

Tricia Matson is the chairperson of the Actuarial Standards Board (ASB), a member of the Council on Professionalism, chairperson of the Own Risk and Solvency Assessment (ORSA) Subgroup, and serves on several other Academy committees related to financial reporting, risk-based capital, and risk management. She has spent over 20 years in the insurance industry in a diverse range of roles. Currently, she is an actuarial director with a leading risk and regulatory consulting firm where she coordinates, manages, and leads a team providing all aspects of individual and group life and health insurance. Previously, she was vice president of enterprise risk management at a prominent mutual life insurance company. In this role, Matson was responsible for leading the design, building, and implementation of enterprise-wide economic value and economic capital framework and was involved in the development of the company’s ORSA report. Before that, she was a principal at a large consulting firm.

Shawna Ackerman, MAAA, FCAS

Shawna Ackerman is the vice president of the Casualty Practice Council and chairperson of the ASB Catastrophe Modeling Task Force, which is charged with drafting the actuarial standards of practice (ASOP) for using catastrophe models in actuarial work. She has previously served as co-chairperson of the  Extreme Events committee. Ackerman is currently the chief actuary for a provider of earthquake insurance in California. Prior to joining that entity in 2010, she was a principal and consultant with a large actuarial firm in San Francisco, where she provided litigation support and expert witness testimony to insurance companies and financial institutions and provided reserving, legislative costing, pricing, and product development support to numerous clients.

Mary Simmons, MAAA, FSA

Mary Simmons is a member of the ASB General Committee and the Data Quality Task Force and previously served on the ASB Credibility Task Force, which revised ASOP No. 25, Credibility Procedures, in 2013. She has nearly 25 years of experience in the insurance industry, in roles including product pricing, financial reporting, valuation, and cash flow testing. She is a vice president and actuary at a life insurance company and appointed actuary for a subsidiary of the company. Her current focus is experience studies and assumption development for life insurance and annuity models. 

Keith J. Jones, General Counsel and Director of Professionalism, American Academy of Actuaries

*The opinions expressed by the panelists during this presentation do not represent the opinions of any of the panelists’ employers or any boards or committees of the Academy or the Actuarial Standards Board or the Actuarial Board for Counseling and Discipline.

This webinar was presented by the Academy’s Council on Professionalism and co-sponsored by the American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries, Casualty Actuarial Society, Conference of Consulting Actuaries, and Society of Actuaries.

The American Academy of Actuaries believes in good faith that your attendance at this live professionalism webinar constitutes an organized activity as defined under the current Qualification Standards for Actuaries Issuing Statements of Actuarial Opinion in the United States. Under these Qualification Standards, an hour of continuing education is defined as 50 minutes, and fractions of an hour may be counted.

The Joint Board for the Enrollment of Actuaries (JBEA) has approved the Academy as a qualifying sponsor of continuing professional education (CPE) programs for enrolled actuaries.

If you are an enrolled actuary, the Academy believes in good faith that you may earn 1.8 CPE core credits under the JBEA rules for attending this live webinar. However, the JBEA ultimately determines what constitutes core, non-core, ethics, or non-ethics continuing education and the number of CPE credit hours allocated to same for enrolled actuaries.

You will not be able to receive a certificate of attendance for listening to any recorded webinars. In order to receive a JBEA CE Certificate of Attendance you must attend the live event, follow the instructions provided during the live event, and request your certificate by completing the online form within 30 days of attending the live event.

To constitute formal CE under the JBEA regulations, there must be three (3) or more people involved in substantive pension services physically present at your webinar location.