The summer of 2020 brought race into the national conversation like no time in the recent past. The acknowledgement of systemic racism as a persistent and pernicious problem led individuals and businesses alike to rethink their practices. The same is true for actuaries and the insurance industry, with the NAIC forming its Special Committee on Race and Insurance, and the CAS forming a Race and Insurance Working Group. The CAS Annual Meeting held November 9th to 12th included a General Session, The Actuary and Social Justice, that explored the actuary’s role in addressing systemic racism from both a regulatory and ethical perspective. Over the course of 90 minutes, the panel discussed:
- Defining “unfair discrimination” and contrasting it with “disparate impact” – Mary Francis Miller, FCAS, MAAA of Select Actuarial Services gave an overview of the topics, and highlighted why the concept of unequal treatment is still an issue today.
- Historical Context – Tomantha Kyle, ASA, ran through the history of black oppression and progress, from the Slave Trade to modern day regulatory positions on use of credit score. Her comments had a particular focus on the ways in which the insurance industry was historically a party to and benefitted from the oppression of black people.
- Other Professions – Talithia Williams is a statistician and mathematician at Harvey Mudd college, and an appointed member of the CAS Board of Directors. She focused her discussion on ways in which the statistical profession is contemplating the issue of race and bias in models, including giving real life examples of pitfalls.
- What Comes Next – Jessica Leong, FCAS, MAAA and President of the CAS rounded out the discussion by giving her advice on how actuaries should move forward on this topic, including providing resources for further education.
The session was moderated by Kuda Chibanda, FCAS, member of the CAS Board of Directors, and is available for free viewing here: