An Actuary Like Me – Micheline Dionne

We have the willingness to apply our strengths to new developing areas such as Climate Risk. 

Micheline Dionne is President of the International Actuarial Association and Past President of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries (2010). At the IAA, she chaired the task force on ISAP4, the model actuarial standard supporting IFRS17 and the early years of the task force on Climate Risk. She has spent her career in Life Insurance and Reinsurance being Appointed Actuary but also active in pricing, risk management, investment and reinsurance client relationship management. Micheline is a Canadian citizen and a Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries. 

Why are you proud to be an actuary?

Society has never needed more facts and neutral analysis to counterbalance fake news, and because we have the willingness to apply our strengths to new developing areas such as Climate Risk. 

What is the most valuable skill an actuary can possess?

Ethics. We produce and are guided by a series of fantastic standards that shape the way we work, maintain its quality, and facilitate the ability to make positive impact.  

What is your advice for younger/rising actuaries?

To get involved! I first started working on committees with the CIA, contributing to thought leadership in accounting and standards. I then expanded into working on climate risk with the IAA. Now I contribute as President of the IAA and get to work with amazing colleagues globally. It’s been a wonderful and fulfilling journey. 

What’s something an outsider wouldn’t know about your profession? 

The breadth of impact that actuaries have on society in areas such as climate risk. 

What other countries have you worked in?

I have always been based in Canada but have been significantly involved with US corporate actuarial work.  And guess what, I also did a one-month assignment in Sydney where I got to appreciate the free spirit of Australians and the beauty of the country. 

Micheline speaks at the Bursary and Global Ambassador Welcome at ICA2023 in Sydney

What’s the most interesting trend for 2023?

Over the last two years there has been a growing interest from actuaries wanting to work in Climate Risk and global Sustainability issues. There has been a significant contribution made by the profession in this area to date, and I look forward to seeing this work continue.  

Where do you see the biggest growth opportunities for actuaries?  

With the raise in uncertainties, the world has never been more in need of actuaries to understand the nature of the developing risks and help prepare to face that risk. Risks are not just related to insurance, pension or even investments, they are challenging the world environment as we know it now. It goes beyond climate risks to all facets of our lives and of society in general. 

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I am an avid cyclist and spend a lot of time touring around my neighbourhood. 

What is the phone app you use the most?

WhatsApp to keep in contact with people from all areas of the world. 

What do you do to recharge each day?  

Nothing best to recharge than to go cycling or cross-country skiing. Physical activities bring clarity to the mind by allowing to retain what really matters. Solutions then percolate up non-encumbered by useless considerations.   

What is your favourite random fact?

We each have an impact on our life and on the lives of others, but we often are too busy to make sense of it.  

What is on your bucket list?

Cycle throughout Canada, from one ocean to another. It is aspirational more than realistic and… a multi year project. 

If you lived 500 years in the future, what do you think your profession would be?  

The core of the actuarial profession would still be to apply scientific knowledge to understand risks even if these risks will likely be much different from the current ones.

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