Importance, Benefits, and Responsibilities of Volunteering

Importance of Volunteering

The American Academy of Actuaries is the voice of U.S. actuaries on public policy and professionalism issues, bringing together all the specialties within the profession (SOA, CAS, ACOPA, and CCA).
The Academy's public policy work involves identifying which issues affecting the public at large would benefit from actuarial expertise and should therefore be pursued by the Academy's public policy practice councils or committees. Academy committees regularly prepare testimony for Congress, provide information to congressional staff and senior federal policymakers, comment on proposed federal and state regulations and international accounting standards, and work closely with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) and state officials on issues related to insurance, retirement benefits, and other forms of risk management. This work takes many forms, such as:
  • Developing issue papers on topics being discussed by policymakers and the media
  • Providing analytical support for the development of legislation at the local, state or federal level
  • Providing analysis and input on documents publicly exposed by regulatory bodies
  • Analyzing the impact of international developments on the United States actuarial profession
  • Providing educational sessions for policymakers
The Academy's Casualty, Health, Pension, Life, and Risk Management and Financial Reporting Councils have contributed to the public policy discussions on various topics, including healthcare legislation, principle-based reserves and capital, catastrophe insurance and reinsurance, various pension plan issues, Social Security and Medicare, and international accounting standards. The Councils also develop Practice Notes and other resources for actuaries.
The Council on Professionalism and it committees work to maintain the integrity, competence and standards of the actuarial profession. Council committees work together with Actuarial Standards Board committees and task forces, in the development and revision of actuarial standards of practice, qualification, and conduct, as well as other useful practical information such as discussion papers.

Benefits of Volunteering

Advantages of volunteering include the opportunity to broaden professional relationships, gain technical expertise, and improve leadership skills, thereby benefiting one's employer as well as the actuary's own professional development. Volunteer work may also provide continuing education credits.

Responsibilities of Volunteering

Being an Academy volunteer entails responsibilities as well, including:
  • Understanding the Charge of the Committee/Work Group to which the actuary has been assigned
  • Maintaining independence and objectivity in carrying out the work of the committee; each committee member must keep in mind that he/she must uphold the Mission of the Academy
  • Complying with the Academy's antitrust policy
Willingness to commit the appropriate time and work effort expected for the particular assignment, including commitment to any expected term of service, attendance and active participation on conference calls, any travel requirements, and attending face to face meetings when appropriate
  • Understanding and complying with specific Academy guidance, as applicable, including Guidelines for Making Public Statements and Guidelines for Developing Practice Notes
  • Every volunteer must acknowledge and affirm annually his or her commitment to the Academy's Conflict of Interest Policy, which states that the "fundamental purposes of the Academy require it to maintain a high level of professional activity and independence from any specific interests of its members." The value of this policy is to ensure that the Academy maintains a high level of objectivity that is independent of any specific individual and/or employer interests.