Frozen Fragments

This article originally appeared in the CIA (e)Bulletin.

By John Dark, FCIA, CIA President

As I write this, the polar vortex has the western part of our country firmly in its grasp (-30 C coming to work this morning) and the rest of the country is feeling the winter in a lot of different ways.

Climate Change and Flood Risk

As we know, a single season does not make a weather pattern, but I certainly believe that climate change is a powerful factor that we will have to deal with for the foreseeable (hopefully it is foreseeable!!) future.

As the results of insurers come in from around the world the story is often the same—weather-related and other catastrophic events are the cause of severely reduced earnings.

As risk experts, actuaries cannot be blind to this effect, and we must apply our minds to analyze the results and, where possible, the causes. In Canada, flood is emerging as a major weather risk affecting many parts of our country—even more than the high-profile wildfires—and the role we can play advising on risk mitigation and planning will become more and more important. Read the article about a recent paper on this topic from the Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation later in this (e)Bulletin.

Economic Uncertainty

Of course, weather isn’t the only unpredictable element in our universe. The drastic financial shift in the last quarter, which has finally begun to reverse, also affected the earnings of many of our employers and the financial status of pension plans. 

The year 2019 will be as busy and as interesting as 2018 was for the Canadian actuarial profession with IFRS 17 approaching—albeit potentially delayed a year—and with a federal election bringing many of the retirement programs in our country into focus.

The external world isn’t slacking off either—Brexit and US–Chinese trade talks, to name just two, are contributing to economic uncertainty.    

All the more reason for actuaries to continue to provide their advice and counsel, and for the CIA to speak on matters that we see affecting our society.

March Board Meeting

The opening part of the year is often hard to write a President’s update for. It’s not that nothing is happening, but with so many members involved in activities around year-end, many initiatives are underway but have not yet come to fruition.

Closer to home, we are approaching our March Board meeting at which a significant amount of time will be spent on analysis for the 2020–2024 long-range plan. We look forward to the work which the councils have done to express their aspirations. We know that there will be more things on the want list than we can deal with immediately, but the Board will assess the requests and consider the future direction of the CIA, leading to the adoption of the strategic plan at the June Board meeting, with the key elements needed for our continued success.

Annual Conference and Board Elections

We also look forward to two firsts in the first half of the year—first all-electronic annual meeting to conduct the business of the Institute, and our first ever annual conference, act19 in Montréal.

In the meantime, stay warm!! The Governance and Nominations Committee is still seeking candidates (log in required) for positions on the Board—including President-elect. I urge any of you with an interest to reach out to any member of the Governance and Nominations Committee to explore this opportunity to contribute to our profession.

John Dark, FCIA, is the President of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries.

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