One of the things I enjoy the most about serving as the CAS President is meeting with our members. CAS members are passionate about the organization and they ask me challenging questions. Our high level of member engagement makes the CAS especially strong.
This was evident again during my recent visit with approximately 70 of our members at USAA, where I had a wonderful time discussing our new credential in predictive analytics, changes to our exams, and changes to our exam delivery such as Technology-Based Examination.
It was a special treat to visit USAA for a couple of reasons. First, I have always had tremendous respect for the United States Military. As I have traveled the world, it is very apparent the enormous sacrifices that the military has made to insure our freedoms; from Gettysburg to Pearl Harbor to the beaches of Normandy and beyond. I also have a son in the Air Force. He is proud to serve in the military, and my wife and I are certainly very proud of him.
USAA is a company that is consistently rated very highly by their policyholders and provides an outstanding service to our military worldwide. It was a pleasure to see Dave Cummings, USAA Chief Actuary, who I served with on the Executive Council when he was CAS Vice President of Research. Dave accomplished a lot for the CAS as VP, such as initiating our research efforts around autonomous vehicles, which will be published shortly. I also enjoyed seeing Beverly Phillips, chair of our meeting planning committee, who is doing a great job planning our Spring Meeting in Boston in mid-May. I knew that USAA had an active group of CAS volunteers but when Dave asked how many people had volunteered for a CAS activity, I was pleasantly surprised that over half of the room raised their hands.
It seems like every company that I visit has an enormous demand for individuals with skills in predictive analytics, and USAA is no different. The actuarial and analytics staff at USAA has a strong interest in predictive analytics and the new credential offered by The CAS Institute, the Certified Specialist in Predictive Analytics (CSPA). In fact, USAA is encouraging some of their staff to take the CSPA credentialing exams. I believe the CSPA credential is a great option for people who want to learn predictive analytics and stay current with skills in demand by insurance companies.
We also had a good discussion about the new integrated questions that we have added to upper-level CAS exams. Two people had taken Part 9 last spring, which was the first exam to include an integrated question, which requires candidates to understand multiple facets of the syllabus material in addressing complex business problems in a single exam question. They thought the longer question was good but could have been more cohesive. Another person who took Part 8 last fall, which included an integrated question for the first time, thought the question was more cohesive and effectively tested several sections of the syllabus. So it appears the new questions are improving with more experience.
In closing, thank you to USAA for hosting me for the day, and to our members who attended my meetings for your active participation and discussion!