Hour of the Actuary: time to find your voice, have courage, and be brave

“The age of data is the age of the actuary. The waves of opportunity are before us and we must take them at the flood – right now.”

In her Presidential Address, Annette King outlines her thoughts, vision, and the opportunities to seize during a milestone year for the Actuaries Institute.

Courage can come in many shapes and sizes. Courage can be speaking up during a meeting. Or it could mean evaluating the risk in a project that can cost millions. Or it could be the courage to create a new service to meet an unmet customer need. The way we use courage to approach and overcome our fears is something that connects us all.

Digging deep to find my own courage has led to many great things in my life as an actuary. This includes my 30-years adventure across Asia-Pacific in insurance, wealth management and superannuation for large multi-national companies as well as with fintechs and insurtechs. Eventually, through a lot of hard work, I made it all the way to the CEO’s office and now non-executive director roles.

While I’ve worn many hats, one thing always stays the same in my life: the need for courage. Like anyone, there have been many times in my life where I doubted my decisions and feared what was next. But I found that embracing that feeling can make the difference in your career.

My motto is “feel the fear and do it anyway”. I am a firm believer that our greatest personal growth comes with uncomfortable stretches.

And as I step into becoming your President in 2022, during the 125th anniversary of the Australian Actuaries Institute, I am passionate about how we use those traits to grow even larger as a community and to extend ourselves as individuals.

As actuaries, we can have the quiet courage to be more for individuals, for organisations, and do better for society.

As actuaries, we have the instincts and knowledge to manage risks others cannot. And to optimise outcomes.

As actuaries, it’s not only about being the thought leaders, problem-solvers and opportunity-seekers. It’s about being fearless.

Actuarial life has given me so much. I’ve had those opportunities because the people who were in this role before me expanded the idea of what an actuary can be. And I want to do the same.

In the following, I want to share a couple of things. First, my latest video where I provide some insights into where I want to take actuaries this year.

Secondly, my ‘Fearless Actuaries Presidential Address’. This document outlines the finer details about my vision, and ideas. But more importantly, it’s where I express my deepest passion in supporting actuaries to cultivate, nurture, and use their courage to do great things.

I encourage you all to watch the 10-minute video and read ‘Fearless Actuaries’. Here are just a few key drivers for us over the next few years that I want to highlight.

Committed to growth

It’s a personal focus of mine to attract not just talented mathematical problem-solvers but people who have great communication skills and who are opportunity-seekers.

We need to commit to growing our numbers. Not just in increments but in multiples.

We’ll be investing in that growth. Importantly, we need to unite our message about what actuaries do and how we add value. We’ll have more to say about that in the coming months.

Social purpose in the age of data

The data revolution is changing the way the world works and who wins in that world. New business models are forming, and new social norms are being created.

It’s no secret that actuaries can play comfortably in this world. Through a deep understanding and experience in capturing and analysing data we already have the skills to help design the future and move the dial.

Our role as guardians of the public interest has never been more important. That role includes ensuring the financial sustainability of so many services that people rely on – whether that’s the NDIS, home insurance, disability insurance, super, and so much more.

Ethical behaviour is entwined in our professional DNA. As Bartosz Piwcewicz recently wrote, we can set the frameworks and standards for the industry in all the layers of data ethics – security, bias, privacy and more.

We use data for good.

Our time is now

I am not only honoured and excited to be your President in 2022, but eager to expand conversations about how actuaries are positioned in all walks of life – from government, industry, and society.

Now is our time. Let’s have the courage to extend ourselves individually and as a profession. The age of data is the age of the actuary. Let’s have the courage to grow.

Click here to watch Annette King’s address and download her written address.

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