Courses on Professionalism

I recently coordinated the CAS Course on Professionalism (COP) in Orlando for 117 candidates who are approaching their Associateship designation.  Another 120 candidates attended a recent course in Las Vegas and 75 soon will be attending our Canadian course in Montreal. In total, nearly 600 candidates will have taken the course in 2018.

The Course on Professionalism is the only time the CAS requires you to be at an in-person meeting.  Sure, most new Associates and Fellows will attend their first Spring or Annual Meeting to receive their designation. Many credentialed actuaries also attend one of the programs offered by the CAS or their regional affiliates to network and meet continuing education requirements.  However, the only time a member is required to travel for a meeting is the COP.  Why is that?

We are privileged to be a self-regulated profession. Think of other professionals: doctors, nurses, lawyers, teachers, and pharmacists are regulated by a government agency.  No government agency gives you a “license” to be an actuary.  The profession regulates itself through its own standards and discipline processes.  It is important that candidates understand this before they earn their credentials and start a career as a practicing actuary.

This brings us back to the Course.  Before coming to Orlando, candidates did prep work to learn about the Code of Conduct, the CAS Statement of Principles, and the Actuarial Standards of Practice put forth by the Actuarial Standard Board.  During the course, they were given a variety of case studies and other opportunities to apply these materials.  They also learned about the US qualification standards and what continuing education requirements are necessary to practice as an actuary. Of course, we still showed James Woods and the Billion Dollar Bubble movie to give insight on what can go wrong if you don’t follow professional standards.

Guest speakers joined us to provide insight on what professionalism means to them.  Many gave examples of times in their career when their professional ethics were tested, and why the professionalism resources we have available to us were so important.  I am always so pleased that current and past presidents, board members, and other distinguished actuaries are so willing to take time from their busy schedules and make it a priority to speak at the course.   It speaks to the actuarial community we have established within the CAS and the importance of professionalism in our industry.

Finally, a staff member from the American Academy of Actuaries spoke to the candidates on the role of the Actuarial Board of Counseling and Discipline (ABCD) and the services offered by the Academy.

Do you remember when you went to the Course on Professionalism?  Share your memories in the comments below.


About Ken Williams

Ken Williams is the staff actuary of the Casualty Actuarial Society. Ken is currently staff chair for the Professionalism Education Working Group.

2 Responses to Courses on Professionalism

  1. avatar John McNulty says:

    I attended the Orlando COP. Thanks to Ken, all the volunteers, and all the guest speakers! I thought you did a great job of communicating the professional and ethical responsibilities that apply to us as members of a self-regulating profession.

  2. avatar Brian Fannin says:

    It’s been more years than I’d care to admit since I attended a course on professionalism (and got my first exposure to Billion Dollar Bubble). The emphasis on high standards of practice is one of the most compelling elements of why I’m proud to call myself an actuary.

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