Enhancing Communications with CAS Members

As the CAS Vice President-Marketing and Communications, my duties include evaluating the effectiveness of CAS communications with members and improving our efforts to communicate where necessary. Last year, the CAS Executive Council identified several areas of potential improvement as we considered input on how well we are communicating from the Task Force on Improving Communications within the CAS, the CAS Board of Directors, and other areas of the CAS.

One of our tenets in reviewing our communications is that communications is not a one-way process. Just as we need to build our ability to share information with members, we need to make channels available that allow members to communicate with each other and CAS leadership.

My goal with this blog post is to provide an update on recent efforts to enhance communications with CAS members, ask for feedback on our current initiatives, and invite additional suggestions for areas for improvement.

Recent initiatives include:

  • The CAS Roundtable. This blog is an example of a new communication vehicle that we introduced to improve communications with members. Here, we can provide short, informal updates on current topics important to members while at the same time inviting feedback. That’s the inspiration for the name of the blog – the CAS Roundtable is intended to serve as an interactive forum for the discussion and exchange of views on important issues within the CAS and casualty actuarial profession.
  • Social Media. The CAS has made a conscious effort to build its presence on the social networks, and the number of CAS followers on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn continues to grow. We have over 1,000 fans/followers on both Facebook and Twitter, and over 2,000 individuals in our LinkedIn group. While the social networks provide an additional channel for executing our communication plans, they also allow the CAS to share member and industry news, which is the essence of social networking. CAS staff members subscribe to Google Alerts that inform them when Casualty Actuarial Society appears in an online article or blog. These articles are redistributed to CAS followers. We are seeing a growing number of people responding to what we share and sharing items of interest themselves.
  • Regional Affiliate Presentations. For many years, CAS leadership has accepted invitations to give presentations on current CAS issues that have been extended by our Regional Affiliates. We have found the Regional Affiliate meetings to be one of the best ways for leadership to interact with members – not only do the formal presentations provide an opportunity for questions and answers, but networking breaks allow for informal interaction that allow leaders to get feedback and input from members. The Board recently agreed to formalize its outreach to Regional Affiliates to include at least annual contact with each affiliate and a report back to the Board after a CAS leadership presentation on CAS issues.
  • Town Hall Meetings and Webinars. During the 2011 Annual Meeting, the Board held an open Town Hall Meeting to share news on actions taken at the Board meeting held two days prior, and to invite comments from members. Another Town Hall will be held at the 2012 Spring Meeting in Phoenix. The recent complimentary webinar titled “A Conversation with CAS Leaders” similarly provided a forum for the CAS President and President-Elect to interact with CAS members, and additional webinars are being planned.

In addition to these initiatives already underway, other projects are in the planning stages such as:

  • Increasing the publication frequency of The Actuarial Review. Because The Actuarial Review is the most widely-read CAS publication and one of the best vehicles for communicating to members, the Board agreed to increase the publication frequency from quarterly to six issues per year, beginning in FY 2013. Along with the increase in frequency, it is envisioned that the newsletter will transition to color and a magazine-like format.
  • Incorporating Video in our Communication Plans. Did you know that YouTube is the second most popular online search engine, behind only Google? The CAS currently makes limited use of video as a communication vehicle, but we are excited about the opportunity to utilize video and believe it will be an effective medium for certain communication initiatives.

Organizational communications should not be monologues, that is, a one-way exchange. Between the CAS and its members, there should be a two-way flow of information, and we encourage members to engage in this exchange. I think that we’ve made a lot of progress in our efforts to communicate with members, and to invite members to participate in a dialogue with CAS leadership. But what do you think? Please leave a reply below!


About Nancy Braithwaite

Nancy Braithwaite is the President of the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS). She is a Fellow of the CAS, a member of the American Academy of Actuaries, and a Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter. Nancy has served in numerous volunteer positions for CAS, including as Vice President - Marketing and Communications. Nancy is a 2VP and Actuary in the Excess Casualty Department at Travelers Insurance Co.