and require actuaries to use professional
judgment to convert the written words
of the standard into appropriate practice.
“While new actuarial standards of practice
may be promulgated to deal with a wide
variety of situations, the multiplicity of
circumstances encountered in real life and
the pace of technological advancement
make it necessary for standards of practice
to leave wide discretion for the exercise
of individual judgment by the practicing
Take Advantage of the
To instill and maintain the public’s trust in
the actuarial profession, actuaries cannot
wander rudderless into new or emerging
areas of practice. Under Precept 1, each of
us has an obligation to “act … in a manner
to fulfill the profession’s responsibility to
the public and to uphold the reputation of
the actuarial profession.” Not doing so risks
the public’s confidence in the profession,
and our prized status as a self-regulating
profession. This is why actuaries must keep
up to date and ensure they are qualified to
practice in a new or emerging area.
If you are unsure about how to fulfill your obligations under the Code, you
should take advantage of the many resources
available to help you do so. Consult the
actuarial literature. Listen to the archived
professionalism webinars available to
Academy members without charge. Talk
to your colleagues. Ask the COQ a question.
Request guidance from the ABCD. Make
the most of your continuing education opportunities. Look in the mirror. Whatever
it takes, do what you need to do to push
boldly into a new area while upholding
the tenets of actuarial professionalism set
forth in the Code.
Some years from now, readers of this
article may find that the fields we have
identified as new and emerging practices
are actually quite commonplace and well
understood. At the same time, these readers
will be facing the same professionalism
challenges that we have discussed with
newer emerging practices that we may
not be able to even imagine today. Just as
the iPhone will be thought of as primi-
tive and outdated in the future, so will we
similarly think of some of our currently
new and shiny actuarial techniques. But
the thread that will always weave through
our actuarial work, whether now or in
the future, is the professionalism that we
embrace in fulfilling our responsibility to
the public and upholding the reputation
of our profession.
[ 1] The Application of Principles and
Practices for Actuaries Working in
Developing Areas; Academy’s
Committee on Professional
Responsibility; 2004 ( 3).
[ 2] ASOP No. 1, Section 4. 3.
[ 3] Application of Principles, p. 11.
[ 4] ASOP No. 1, Section 3. 13.
[ 5] ASOP No. 1, Section 2. 9.
[ 6] ASOP No. 1, Section 3. 1. 6.
[ 7] Structural Framework of the U. S.
Actuarial Profession; American
Academy of Actuaries; 2004 ( 11).
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