President’s Message MARY D. MILLER
The Golden Rule
THE ACADEMY’S 50TH ANNIVERSARY gives us the occasion to look back where we came from and to
look forward to where we are going.
Our mission statement, “The American Academy of Actuaries’ mission is to serve the public and the United States actuarial
profession,” and our motto, “Objective. Independent. Effective,”
are both simple declarations that ring as true today as they did
when a relatively small group of actuaries got together 50 years
ago in Montreal to found the Academy.
They, too, were effective, as the ad hoc group created
the Academy in a business meeting that lasted all of 35 minutes—albeit after much
preparation. The founders had the wisdom to
immediately begin crafting and creating the
that has grown to the
many specialty areas of
practice served today by
the Academy’s dedicated
In keeping with our
Golden Anniversary, one
might liken the Academy’s mission to the “Golden Rule,” in which
we would treat others as we would want to be treated. This charge
goes well beyond actuarial analysis, to the public’s essential trust
of our profession to give businesses and government institutions
alike the most accurate, unbiased information and assessments
possible with which to make their decisions.
At our “Aging Securely” briefing just last month on Capitol
Hill, for example, our volunteers brought their expertise in the
key issues of pension and long-term care to high-level policymakers that will help shape their thinking as they craft policies
in those areas. Discussion—and, no doubt, spirited debate—on
these issues has already begun and will continue in the ongoing
presidential election campaign.
The aging of our population is compounding the challenges
of addressing retirement security, which is why our work in the
public policy arena is even more critical today. The Academy
is committed to helping policymakers and stakeholders thoroughly evaluate public policy approaches to this important issue
by providing objective actuarial analysis.
Even without a large hurricane hitting the U.S. mainland
this year, large catastrophic events have kept casualty actuaries
working overtime this year, from South Carolina’s “thousand-
year flood” last month to the West Coast’s drought, floods, and
damaging wildfires this summer.
The ongoing rollout of the Affordable Care Act continues
to raise a host of issues, from coverage to costs to long-term
care and other issues that affect all Americans’ health and well-
being. With the political winds sure to continue to swirl around
this issue into 2016 (and beyond), the public needs to count
on actuaries’ ongoing
impartial analysis of the
The Academy’s Life-
time Income Initiative
and Aging Initiative
are focused on pension
and health issues to
help the public’s plan-
ning and perception of
these important issues.
In support of these, the
Academy has identified
areas of cross-practice cooperation to support sound public poli-
cy not only for Social Security and Medicare, but also for lifetime
income and long-term care for an aging population with more
and more baby boomers saying farewell to the workplace every
And as noted in the cover story of the September/October
Contingencies, we are also drawing attention to other ongoing
important issues, such as the need to consider the ramifications
of an aging U.S. infrastructure, from both a property and a liability perspective.
Our Golden Jubilee celebration will culminate with the
Academy’s Annual Meeting and Public Policy Forum in Washington this month, when we will celebrate where we have
been—and have some fun—while rolling up our sleeves in the
many public policy sessions in order to engage in collegial discussions with one another and with policymakers.
The Academy’s Golden Anniversary comes at a time when
actuarial discipline and insight can and must continue to inform important policy discussions. Our mission remains vital
to ensure sustainability of U.S. financial security systems—for
the next 50 years and beyond.