Vegas, Baby! 5 Memories from the 2018 Annual Meeting

I just returned from another great CAS Annual Meeting in Las Vegas, and I wanted to share my top 5 most memorable moments:


  1. Welcoming New Members – One of the most important features of any Annual Meeting is the induction of the new members. At this meeting, we had 244 new Associates and 241 new Fellows. As one the Vice Presidents of the CAS, I was fortunate to be able to attend the receptions for both the new Associates and Fellows. I am always inspired and invigorated by seeing and meeting the influx of new members, as they demonstrate to me that the CAS, and by extension the casualty actuarial profession, is growing and in high demand. It also warms my actuarial soul to see the pride that the new members and their families feel now that all of their hard work has paid off. The embedded picture is the result of Brian Brown cajoling a group of us into posing for a shot.
  1. Networking – I think it’s safe to say that CAS meeting and seminars are the best place to expand your actuarial network. I made many new connections at the meeting and I was also happy to bump into numerous old colleagues and friends. As I’ve attended CAS events over the last 15 years, I’ve noticed that my network has grown exponentially. I’d heartily encourage newer members to step out of their comfort zone and make an effort to meet new people at each meeting they go to.


  1. World Class Education – As always, the Annual Meeting Planning Committee delivered a stellar program of educational content (which almost goes without saying). My favorite session was “Wheels of Misfortune,” where the presenters vividly illustrated how poorly the commercial auto segment has performed, and how it is still hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It was a sobering view of how the insurance industry can be caught off guard by changes in trend and loss development patterns. I also enjoyed the general session titled “A Tale of 2 Analytics Tribes – Actuary vs. Data Scientist,” where an esteemed panel of analytics professionals mused on the dichotomy (real or imagined) between actuaries and data scientists. My take-away was that the distinction is less apparent or important than many think, and that actuaries can position themselves as “data scientists” relatively easily by changing the way that they approach problems.


  1. CAS Board Vote on Proposed CAS/SOA Combination – The welcome reception on Sunday night was buzzing with talk about the big announcement from that afternoon. In case you missed it, earlier that day the CAS Board voted on the proposed combination with the SOA, and decided not to move forward. While some members in Las Vegas were disappointed and others were relieved, the most common reaction was surprise. It had only been two months since the announcement that a combination proposal was in the works, and many members were still digesting and learning about the pros and cons. Brian Brown commented on the Board vote in his opening presidential remarks and emphasized that the Board’s desire was to continue its focus on the unique needs of property-casualty actuaries while looking for ways to collaborate with the SOA in areas of common interest.


  1. Actuaries Invade Downtown Vegas – Many people don’t realize that the Strip is not the only option for visitors to Las Vegas. There is also “Downtown Las Vegas,” which was the original heart of Vegas before the Strip was developed. Downtown Vegas has been revitalized and now has a long pedestrian street that has an LED canopy overhead. While it is still very “Vegas” and flashy, it offers a welcome change of scenery from the Strip. On Tuesday night of the meeting, the 1,200 meeting attendees enjoyed live music, drinks, and food in a large blocked-off section of the pedestrian street. There was even an “oxygen bar” available for those who needed a little pick-me-up after a long day of learning and networking. You can see how the CAS logo was prominently featured in the embedded photo. After our event concluded, I assume many of the actuaries dispersed into the adjacent casinos to enjoy some games of probability.

All in all, the 2018 Annual Meeting was a huge success, which is a testament to the many hundreds of hours of hard work by the planning committee and the CAS staff. I look forward to attending more meetings and seminars in the future and have already marked my calendar for Honolulu in 2019. I’d suggest registering early for that one!

Did you attend the Annual Meeting? Please share your favorite memories by leaving a comment below!


About Justin Brenden

Justin Brenden is the CAS VP-Professional Education and the Chief Reserving Actuary at Third Point Reinsurance Ltd.