Canadian actuaries on the international stage: Terry Narine

Terry Narine, FCIA, is the CIA’s representative to the Health Forum of the International Actuarial Association (IAA). He is currently serving as the Acting Chair of the IAA’s Health Forum until a formal election of the Chair occurs in 2022.

For readers who don’t know, can you describe the IAA and its function?

Yes, the IAA is the International Actuarial Association. It is an association of associations and many actuarial bodies from around the world are members, including the CIA. The IAA has two membership categories:  Full Member Associations (FMAs) and Associate Member Associations (AMAs). There are 74 FMAs and 27 AMAs currently. The IAA seeks to be globally recognized as a leading expert in risk and financial security with a mission to ‘Inform, Assure, and Advance’ the actuarial profession. The IAA has established relationships with supranational organizations such as the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), World Health Organization (WHO), World Bank, etc.

Recent work of the IAA has included IFRS, climate change, supervisory frameworks, and mortality studies. Interestingly, the IAA is headquartered in Ottawa with a staff that supports its various functions.

How did volunteering lead you to your current role?

I started volunteering with the CIA back in 2001 with what is now called the Committee on Membership Eligibility (CME). Our role was to review and make recommendations to the Eligibility and Education Council (EEC, now Education and Qualification Council) on applications for Fellowship. I volunteered with that committee for over a decade until becoming Chair in 2014.

In 2016, as Chair of the CME, I was asked to join the EEC. I eventually became Vice-Chair of that council and served on it for five years. Concurrently, I was also involved in the IAA. I’ve been fortunate to be awarded both the bronze and silver volunteer awards from the CIA for my various roles.

How did you become involved with the IAA?

In 2017, I was approached by Jason Vary, the former Chair of the CIA Committee on IAA Participation, to be the CIA delegate on the IAA’s Health Committee. It was a health committee back then rather than a forum – but more on that later. I happily accepted the role. While I started out my career with the intent of being a life actuary, I found myself drawn more and more into the health space. Being on the IAA’s Health Committee has further broadened and strengthened my health experience over the last five years as I’ve been able to observe health practices in other regions of the world.

What is the most exciting thing that ever happened to you at the IAA?

On September 2, 2021, the IAA celebrated International Actuaries Day. Yes, there is such a thing, it was news to me as well. In preparation for the anniversary celebration, the IAA asked about 25 actuaries worldwide to make a YouTube video and I was one of those selected.

I’ve made numerous trips to IAA meetings to represent the CIA. There have been some interesting memories. On the trip to Tokyo in November 2019, there were at least four former or current CIA Presidents onboard my flight. Most of us took the same subway train to our hotel. Same for my trip to Mexico City a year earlier. It’s an experience that has allowed me to rub shoulders with the who’s who of the CIA.  

How was the Health Forum created?

There was some restructuring of the IAA in 2021. As a result, many of the committees were disbanded and a number of forums were created in their place. There are four forums created where the members will have a scheduled in-person meeting each year. The Health Forum is one of the “Big 4.” There are several other forums that were created with virtual meetings only. Of course, at the time of this writing, it looks like meetings are going to proceed on a virtual basis for the next little while. Our next scheduled face-to-face meeting is for Brussels, Belgium, in the spring of 2022. We’ll see if that happens in person or not.

What is the role of the Health Forum within the IAA?

The role of the Health Forum is to generate consensus on emerging health issues around the world from an actuarial perspective. The group meets every two months or so to discuss projects that we would like to see researched by the IAA. Unlike in the past, where committees developed topics and also collaborated on research, the forums can suggest topics for research. With approval from IAA executives, task forces are then created to conduct the research. The Health Forum is also looking to broaden its reach to organizations like the WHO, OECD, and the World Bank. 

What is your role on the Health Forum?

Formerly, I was a member of the Health Committee. I became the Vice-Chair of that group in 2020. When the Health Committee was disbanded, I became the Acting Chair of the Health Forum in September of 2021. I say acting because very shortly after, the IAA selected a Chair for the Health Forum. The IAA uses selection criteria that include geographic and other diversity factors. The FMAs will have an opportunity to nominate a representative for this role. I found out recently that the CIA has nominated me!

What are the future plans for the Health Forum?

Our plans include creating a list of topics with global impact on health for various task forces to research and report back to the IAA. These include topics such as pandemic modelling, vaccine rollouts to COVID-19, and climate change’s impact on global health.

How does the CIA benefit from having representatives at the IAA?

By having representatives at the IAA, the CIA is able to contribute to, influence, and learn from the profession worldwide. Some of the other committees and forums of the IAA include Professionalism, Education, Insurance Accounting and Regulation, Inclusive Insurance, Pensions Accounting, and Resource and Environment. To the extent the Institute can influence worldwide education and ensure our education system meets IAA requirements, we succeed in elevating the credibility and recognition of the profession worldwide.

Similarly, on the Health Forum front, the Institute benefits from hearing about emerging health practices in other jurisdictions. This gives us the opportunity to advance Canadian thinking around this subject.

How often do the Forums meet to discuss relevant topics?

The Big 4 Forums are slated to have one in-person meeting a year. Virtual forums are only required to have a once-a-year virtual call.

The CIA thanks and recognizes the efforts of its volunteers in helping raise the public profile of Canada’s actuarial profession – further solidifying our influence as leaders and our voice as experts.

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