On the very day the US and Canadian currency was last at dollar-for-dollar, I was fortunate to be in Canada. However, as an American on foreign soil, I wasn’t exactly sure how I was supposed to act or even feel on this historic day in Canada. For someone who’s in the business of placing actuaries and analytics professionals throughout the world, the headlines actually made me think about another type of rate of exchange; one of actuaries over borders.
The last time the exchange rate between Canadian and the US currency dipped below 62 cents to the dollar, it was a very different time for Canadian Property & Casualty Actuaries. Canada was then soundly in second place only to the US, in terms of the first CAS (Casualty Actuarial Society) and SOA (Society of Actuaries) actuarial exams attempted and passed. Since then, we are acutely aware of China’s emergence and that they haven’t relinquished their position as the fastest growing producer of actuarial candidates.
It was also a much simpler time. Not only was it before the Financial Crisis, it was before all the sweeping regulatory changes, demutualization, advancement of analytics, and the mega-mergers that led to the consolidation and shifting of the major (and smaller) players in the P/C space. The work was also simpler too, if not somewhat limited. The Commercial Lines market hadn’t really taken hold yet. All the other major trends such as Predictive Modeling, ERM hadn’t really translated to a boom in the job market in Canada. The marketplace was still made up of mostly Personal Lines carriers and consulting firms.
The market then was ripe for all types of competitors to prey on an overabundant supply of some of the best educated, highly trained Actuaries in the world. Europe, Australia, and (eventually) Asia came calling. However, the biggest threat came from Bermuda and their nearest neighbors from the south. International prospective employers offered more options; greater variety of work, more choices in climate, tax advantages, financial incentives, and (with the impact of NAFTA) it became much easier to obtain work permits in the US.
Today, much has changed. One thing that remains the same though, Canada continues to produce some of the sharpest actuaries the market has to offer. What has really changed within the insurance and actuarial landscape are the vast opportunities currently available for P/C actuaries in Canada. Today you can see actuaries and analytics professionals work for a diverse group of employers – from large insurers, crown corporations, mutual insurers, consulting firms, reinsurers, brokers, etc. In addition to traditional roles, you can now see them working on Economic Capital, Solvency II, Predictive Modeling/Analytics, R&D, Product Management, Cat Modeling, to list just a few. Some of the recent changes and trends such as the emergence of Flood Insurance, UBI, Data Science and insurance being sold directly online, will produce more exciting, newly created roles.
Some say the loonie will sink as a low as $.59 soon. If that happens, the Canadian P/C actuaries won’t have to reach for their passports in exchange…Canada will remain a vibrant, and flourishing marketplace, regardless of the almighty dollar.
About the Author
KC Cho joined DW Simpson Global Actuarial Recruitment in October of 1995. Outside of his recruiting, client management, and business development responsibilities, K.C. is heavily involved with the firm’s key initiatives of recruitment, training and development of staff. He also continues to play a critical role in the expansion and development of DW Simpson’s strong presence in the Canadian market.