“It’s a responsibility for us to share our good ideas.” How submitting an abstract can lead to a stronger, enriched actuarial profession

With ICA2023 abstract submissions closing 31 March, we sat down with Dr. David Knox, Chair, ICA2023 Program Committee, to talk about the hidden benefits of presenting on the global actuarial stage, networking in-person, and the need for actuaries to share their ideas.

David, who is also a Senior Partner and actuary at Mercer, has been working hard with an army of volunteers to develop the ICA2023 program for both plenary and concurrent sessions.

We chatted with David about how sharing your original work through an abstract can strengthen the profession in more ways than one.

We also touched on the benefits of learning from people all over the globe, using others knowledge to address local or national problems, and how submitting an abstract is as easy as providing an outline of your ideas.

Watch below as Dr. David Knox discusses the benefits of presenting at ICA2023.

Actuaries Institute: Why is it important for people to put themselves out there and present their ideas to a wider audience?

David: I think it’s important on a number of fronts. Firstly, it’s a responsibility for us to share our good ideas. Secondly, from your own personal professional development, there’s nothing like putting yourself out there and getting questions back, because it forces you to think and develop your ideas even further. And of course, thirdly, and perhaps somewhat selfishly, if you are out there, then you are raising your own profile and that’s a good thing to do as well.

Three actuaries recently shared their advice, tips, and reasons why everyone should consider submitting an abstract to speak at the once in a lifetime opportunity: ICA2023. Read more.

Actuaries Institute: What are some of the key messages for the event?

David: I think some of the takeaways from ICA2023 will be about the breadth of the actuarial profession. Some of the plenary sessions we are looking at will include:

  • What’s the impact of climate risk on actuarial work, on society, on our communities?

  • What will the customers in financial services in 2030, 2040 be like?

  • Asia is a really important part of our region, but it’s also important in the development of financial services around the world.

  • Naturally data analytics and artificial intelligence are important but where’s that going to lead? What’s the role of actuaries in that space?

One of my personal interests is the whole consequences of aging populations, not just pensions, but more broadly about that topic. What does that mean for society? What’s the fairness of it? What are the consequences of our aging population, which in Australia is not as bad as it might be in China or Japan or other places, but we need to think about this globally.

I think the really important part of this is that it’s a global congress and it’ll go beyond Australia. We’ll have inputs from around the world and we’ll learn from each other.

Actuaries Institute: What’s something that you are most looking forward to for this event?

David: Beyond the plenaries, one of the things that I’m looking forward to is the concurrent sessions. We’re expecting about 150 sessional papers. We’ve got the call for papers out there at the moment, and it closes at the end of March. Here you will have the opportunity to present to a global audience. In fact, global speakers will be speaking to us, whether they’re in Germany, in Africa, Asia, or North America. We’ll be hearing about what’s happening in those countries; what we can learn from them and how are they responding to similar challenges we have in Australia. I’m really looking forward to hearing from our overseas actuarial colleagues. The last time we had the Congress in Australia was in Sydney in 1984. So that’s a long time between drinks!

Actuaries Institute: What can we expect from the event being a hybrid format for next year?

David: There are actuaries in many parts of the world who’ve never been to a congress and probably will never get to a physical congress, but here’s an opportunity for them to be part of one. The virtual presentation will be first class I can assure you of that using technology. And also, I’m hoping there’ll be an opportunity for people who are virtual to actually interact, not only during the sessions by asking questions and interacting with the speakers in a speaker’s forum or chat room.

Obviously, when you’re there physically, you get more opportunities, you’ll be able to see them. But if they’re online, we’ll certainly have open lines of communication and that will be to the advantage of everybody. I think it’s a real opportunity for the actuarial profession globally to really show off, to expand and to flap its wings, not only in Australia but around the world.

Actuaries Institute: Why should you attend ICA2023?

David: ICA2023 will be a unique event in actuarial history. It’s the first time an International Congress of Actuaries will be both physically in Sydney and virtually around the world. We will have speakers in Sydney, but we will also have speakers coming in from Asia, from Europe, from the Americas, which really gives us the opportunity to get a huge breadth of input and speakers. It’ll be like nothing we’ve seen before.

Submit an abstract for ICA2023! Learn more on our abstract submission page.

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