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International Actuarial Association: On the road to globalisation

Nicole Seguin provides an insight into the International Actuarial Association, looking at its purpose, the work it undertakes and the unique opportunities it brings

07 MAR 2013 | NICOLE SEGUIN


Nicola Seguin

The International Actuarial Association (IAA) is a new, yet very old association. It had its beginnings in Brussels in 1895, but it was not until 1998, during an era of immense growth and innovation worldwide, that the actuarial profession decided to launch the new International Actuarial Association (IAA). Its purpose is to add a voice at the international level.

The IAA’s vision is that the profession is recognised worldwide as a major player in the decision-making process within the financial services industry, in the area of social protection and in the management of risk, contributing to the well-being of society as a whole. This is a vital goal for the profession: everyone stands to benefit from this aim, whether or not they are an actuary.

The IAA must also ensure that the actuarial profession is recognised worldwide by other major stakeholders in the financial field and by the public at large.

In support of its number one strategic objective, to identify, establish, and maintain relationships with key supranational audiences and provide them with actuarial input to improve the soundness of decisions being made on important issues with a global impact, the IAA is in the process of agreeing memoranda of understanding with all its institutional members. These are: the International Accounting Standards Board, the International Association of Insurance Supervisors, the International Social Security Association, the International Organisation of Pension Supervisors and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

The goal is to raise awareness of the actuarial profession and instill a desire to seek actuarial input and guidance. It is a major step and the IAA is now becoming the go-to organisation for many supranational organisations whose work is relevant to, or benefits from, actuarial science.

As a result of the IAA’s efforts, two more organisations have expressed an interest in engaging formally with the IAA: the International Labour Organization and the International Federation of Accountants. These relationships are entered into cautiously: only when it is beneficial to the profession and to the public, and only when the IAA can deliver on the demands. Maintaining the integrity and reputation of the profession is paramount.

Another major achievement has been committing to the development of model international standards of actuarial practice (ISAPs). The first model standard, General Actuarial Practice, was adopted on 18 November 2012. Without the IAA, the call from supranational organisations for ISAPs could have fallen into the hands of non actuaries, an undesirable outcome for the profession worldwide. This has been a challenging area for the IAA, but, with the consensus of actuarial associations worldwide, progress is being made.

Although the need for ISAPs might not be apparent to all, it is only a matter of time before it becomes clear that this action is instrumental in bringing the actuarial profession to the forefront on global financial and other related matters.
Where in the world?
The IAA is planning several events that are sure to be of interest to actuaries across the globe.

ASTIN (IAA Non-Life Insurance Section) Colloquium 2013
21-24 May – The Hague, The Netherlands
http://www.actuaries.org/ASTIN/Colloquia/Hague/

Joint AFIR/ERM, Life, Pension Benefits and Social Security Colloquium 2013
24-26 June – Lyon, France
http://www.actuaries.org/lyon2013/

International Congress of Actuaries 2014

30 March-4 April 2014 – Washington DC,
United States (pictured below)
http://www.ica2014.org/
These events provide continuing professional development opportunities
for all actuaries and a unique chance for global networking and cross-border knowledge sharing. Colloquium events generally attract 350-plus actuaries from around the world, while Congresses attract in excess of 1,500 actuaries.

A visit to the IAA website www.actuaries.org will give you a more in-depth view of the IAA. Through your local association, you can become involved in the work of the IAA and help ensure the future of your profession.

Nicole Seguin is executive director of the IAA. She has been working with the actuarial profession since starting with the Canadian Institute of Actuaries in 1988 and assumed responsibility for the IAA in 1997, when the Secretariat was moved from Brussels to Ottawa.
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