Effective Communication

Welcome to the CAS Blog!  We hope that this blog will become a regular part of our communications between the CAS leadership and members, allowing for timely feedback in both directions.  As such, it is appropriate that the subject of this first blog post is communications.

For the CAS or any membership organization to provide value to its members it has to have effective communication between its membership and its leaders.  So what’s the best way to structure this communication in today’s busy world?  It depends.

  • For some, paper still works best.  The best example of this is our quarterly Actuarial Review (which comes out electronically and in paper).  But paper publications (or even the electronic version of those publications) are frequently slow and in one direction.
  • We also have in-person communication, such as presentations by CAS leadership at regional affiliate meetings and our Spring and Annual meetings.  These allow for two way communication, but these in-person meetings are infrequent and require a fair amount of advance planning for both presenter and attendee.
  • In the digital world, the focus is on getting information out and back fast.  Our latest efforts in this vein include using LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, to complement the more formal feedback from the Member Advisory Panel (or MAP).  MAP has been especially valuable to the CAS leadership as it allows us to get a relatively quick response from a representative sample of CAS members on key issues being considered.  The introduction of this CAS blog is a new attempt to achieve fast feedback in both directions between members and the CAS leadership.

But, please keep in mind that effective communication requires knowledge of your audience.  In other words – two-way communication cannot be effective if one side remains anonymous.

We want to know what you, the CAS membership, think about issues – especially about the potential subjects of future blog posts – but we will require that those who post identify themselves.  This allows all involved in the discussions to understand the context of the posts.  We understand that comments that create conflict are sometimes easier to express from behind the veil of anonymity, but as professionals we need to stand behind, support, and explain our positions.  This should also help us to stick to the issues and understand the reasons for different positions.

So what do you think?


About Ralph Blanchard

Ralph S. Blanchard III is the current President of the CAS and a Vice President and Actuary for The Travelers Companies, Inc. in Hartford, Connecticut. Ralph earned his Fellowship in the CAS in 1983. Prior to serving as President and President-Elect, Ralph served a two-year term on the Executive Council as Vice President-International from 2007-2009. In addition to his past service on numerous committees, Ralph fulfilled a three-year term on the CAS Board of Directors from 2000-2003 and on the American Academy of Actuaries Board of Directors for the same years. Ralph has been recognized twice for his volunteer service to the CAS, receiving the organization’s Above and Beyond Achievement Award for volunteerism in 2004 and 2007. He earned a B.A. in Mathematics from Dartmouth College.

2 Responses to Effective Communication

  1. avatar David Terne says:

    Wow! I think the blog is a great idea. The CAS has a blog, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter……. is a CAS app next? :o)

  2. avatar Pat Teufel says:


    I am strongly in favor of increased communication between CAS Leadership and our members. As our organization grows, the diversity of interests and perspectives multiplies; it is important that we provide opportunities for dialogue and then listen to each other.

    For me, the primary issue today for most of our members (myself included) is not a lack of communication, but rather — information overload. There is just too much information coming at us, from a multiplicity of channels, for us to take the time to “hear” and “discern” the tidbits of information that are relevant for us as individuals. To that end, I agree fully with the CAS’s efforts to expand the number of channels through which communication occurs, and would favor allowing our members to “filter” the information that they are interested in receiving from the CAS.

    CAS leadership should not be dictating the amount or timing of member communications; that should be up to the members. Many of our members have no interest in being engaged in ongoing dialogue on CAS issues and still feel sufficiently “connected” to the Society; they are the “silent majority”. Whatever the level of dialogue that our members wish to have, we should be “available” to listen, dialogue and “connect”.

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