When I first became an actuary 30 years ago, and again about 20 years ago when I first entered academia and began devoting more time to research, I enthusiastically joined ASTIN, the non-life special interest section of the International Actuarial Association. I enjoyed receiving the green volumes of the ASTIN Bulletin twice per year, and perusing top-quality research articles in property-casualty actuarial science.
But there was a problem: the side of me that yearned for practicality and applicability wasn’t satisfied. The papers often seemed esoteric, and a popular refrain among practitioners was that one couldn’t publish a paper in the ASTIN Bulletin unless it included at least one triple integral. (Not precisely accurate – but the point was made.) And indeed, at least in-part for this reason, membership in ASTIN has fallen in recent years, both among CAS members and also globally among the other national actuarial societies.
This concern has been recognized by ASTIN, and the section leadership has been trying to implement change, in terms of both the reality and image. They have begun to stress more practical issues and applications, both in their research and in their general activities. A good example is the recent international survey of loss reserving practices, summarized in a 100-page report. I can also personally attest, based on my attendance last year at the annual ASTIN Colloquium in Lisbon, Portugal, that the papers presented often concerned interesting and practical issues and results.
There are at least two ways to participate in ASTIN. The easiest is to simply become a member: the cost is only $50 per year, and can be done with a simple click during the annual CAS online dues payment process. The other is to attend a meeting. This year’s Colloquium will be in the Western Hemisphere, in Panama City, Panama, in August. While the program and presentations have not yet been finalized, some of what appear to be (to me) the more interesting and relevant topics for CAS members include: stochastic and other loss reserving methods, pricing cyber security insurance, qualifications for risk transfer, and Solvency II-related calculations. In addition, a number of panels and workshops (e.g., reserving, pricing, MCMC, term structure models) will be available.
Participation in ASTIN will allow you to:
- Keep a finger on the pulse of international actuarial activities and developments,
- Partake of good and relevant actuarial education and research, and
- Develop additional and international contacts in the actuarial profession.
For such a modest cost, the potential return is attractive. If you’ve been part of ASTIN in the past, but chose not to renew — perhaps it’s now worth reconsidering. If you’ve never been a member… give it a try!