What is the biggest risk to the actuarial profession?
If actuaries make mistakes, they can harm the reputation of the profession. Having standards of practice and a discipline process helps. When problems arise, there will be bad publicity, but that is not fatal.
The biggest risk is irrelevance. Times change. Professions fade away. Other groups can intrude and become substitutes.
Here are reasons to worry about irrelevance
- too few know what actuaries do (which is to measure and manage risk)
- there are few actuaries. The Society of Actuaries has about 23,000 members
- actuaries are expensive, which creates incentives to look for cheaper substitutes
- actuaries need broader skill sets, which include strong communication abilities
We're surrounded by risk, which is precisely what an actuary is trained to measure and manage. Why aren't actuaries getting sought out to help?
The public knows when to call a doctor, lawyer or plumber. Who knows when to call an actuary (and how to find a suitable one)?
Actuaries need to market better as individuals and as a profession.
What Others Think
- Six key issues what keep actuaries awake at night (Keith Faulkner)