The Future of Credentialing for Catastrophe Risk

Over the past thirty years catastrophe risk management has grown into a critical part of insurance risk management. The power, rigor and importance of the discipline is clear from the fact that insureds, insurers, reinsurers, regulators and investors all use catastrophe models and the same basic analytic risk management paradigms. The discipline has revolutionized how we measure, manage and monitor catastrophe risk – a major global endeavor involving over $500 billion capital that affects the lives of almost everyone on the planet.

The cat risk management discipline is now  mature enough that a rigorous, comprehensive and international education and credentialing program would benefit both its practitioners and their employers. To fill this need The CAS Institute (iCAS) and The International Society of Catastrophe Managers (ISCM), a professional association promoting catastrophe management professionalism within the insurance industry, announced the launch of a new education and credentialing program for catastrophe risk professionals in November 2018.

The program comprises two new credentials that recognize expertise and practical experience in cat risk management:

  • Certified Specialist in Catastrophe Risk (CSCR) is a base credential that demonstrates a thorough understanding of essential catastrophe risk principles
  • Certified Catastrophe Risk Management Professional (CCRMP) is an advanced credential that recognizes essential knowledge and mastery in the application of the principles and analytics in catastrophe risk management.

The curriculum for the two credentials is overseen by a Curriculum Advisory Committee comprised of leaders from ISCM and iCAS. The specific learning objectives for each credential have been developed by an expert panel of thought leaders in catastrophe risk.

The credentials are valuable to practitioners at all levels of experience. They provide structured educational materials for self-study and independent examinations for credentials. The first exam covers basics of insurance, providing an on-ramp to the profession for new college graduates. This material is currently US-centric but content relevant to other geographies is under development. The learning objectives for the other exams are designed to be applicable to all regions around the world.

The credentials allow emerging catastrophe risk management professionals to stand out in a competitive job market and to further their careers by demonstrating mastery of the technical skills needed for success in a rapidly changing field.

Experienced professionals can attain the advanced credential through the Experienced Industry Practitioner pathway. They will demonstrate their mastery of the subject matter and receive recognition of the value they bring to their organizations.

For employers the credentials provide a benchmark for professional knowledge and skills. They deliver cost-effective, up-to-date training materials coupled with an independent assessment of candidate skills and capabilities. They will make hiring easier and can be used to create objective position descriptions.

The credentials are model-agnostic, focusing on the why of cat modeling as much as the how. In fact, the major vendors are supporting our efforts, with representatives of AIR, RMS, and CoreLogic all actively participating in the development of the credential.

The credentials also recognize that cat risk is global, and focus on commonalities between perils across geographies. The educational material encompasses modeling principles and risk management techniques which can be applied to the variety of catastrophe perils that exist throughout the world. Both ISCM and CAS and are global organizations with members in over 25 countries.

The Community of Practice and Continuing Education opportunities offered by ISCM and iCAS will enable members to continue to sharpen their skills in this rapidly changing field, prepare them for additional job duties and position them ahead of their competition. The credential and subsequent continuing education will increase the value professionals bring to their organizations and position them to advance further in their careers.

I am proud to have been amongst the first recipients of the new CCRMP designation and I encourage you to learn more about what the new credentials can offer you and your staff. Registration is now open for the first two courses and exams. Additional information about the credential requirements can be found at CatRiskCredentials.org.

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About Stephen Mildenhall

Stephen Mildenhall is an Assistant Professor in the School of Risk Management, Insurance and Actuarial Science at St. John's University in New York. He is an FCAS, CSPA and CCRMP and serves on the Board of Directors for the CAS and iCAS.

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