Passing the Gavel

October 25, 2023

Guest writer: Derek Guyton

One of the best things about serving as the 2022-23 CCA president has been working and connecting with so many CCA members and volunteers. Without our hundreds of volunteers, none of the things that you value so much would happen. At our Annual Meeting in Nashville, I expressed my appreciation for all the work our volunteers put in on many exciting activities, the highlights of which follow below. I also had the honor to present the CCA’s three awards to this year’s recipients. 


Two key strategic priorities for us have been adding value to the CCA membership and reaching more consultants. To help in this effort, we’ve launched a membership experience initiative. Part of this project includes gathering feedback from fellow members about their membership experience and what we could do to improve the value for each of you.  Some of the things we’ve heard so far include:

  • The CCA is by far the most valuable actuarial organization for the consulting actuary  
  • The CCA meetings and webinars are highly focused on the needs of consulting actuaries
  • Our online communities are extremely valuable for advanced learning and building our professional networks 

I am also excited to share that our membership has been growing and now exceeds 1,500 consulting actuaries going into the Annual Meeting  for the first time in our history! Members work for more than 500 different firms spanning the pension, health, life and casualty practice areas. 


We launched a new online community this year for actuaries that work in-house at public pension plans. This new resource provides a forum to share information on the aspects of their jobs that are very different than for other pension actuaries.

The Leadership Development, Women in Consulting and Healthcare Communities continue to be the most active.  Besides offering numerous events throughout the year such as leader interviews, podcasts, a book club, panel discussions and a Barbie movie discussion, these communities are an entrée to new and younger members as they are available to all actuaries and consultants, whether they are CCA members or not. We have learned this not a well-known fact. So, if you know a non-member who could benefit from these communities, please share this information with them.

Ed Pudlowski, who leads the very active Healthcare Community, is also the host of a podcast titled Innovative Healthcare Solutions. As a bonus, you will very likely be able to count the time toward your CE requirements! 

CCA Meetings

As a member, I suspect you are very well aware of our primary, formal continuing education events. 

  • Webinar Series – Includes 20 webinars annually that possibly reach more consulting actuaries than any event offered by another organization. The webinar committee is hard at work on our 2024 series, which will include a new subscription offering focused on professionalism, business skills and consulting skills. This series will be truly cross discipline.
  • Our spring 2023 virtual meetings attracted a combined total of 820 attendees. These events were a very cost-effective way to keep up-to-date and get necessary credits. 

Here’s what is coming up in 2024: 


About a year ago, we reformed the professionalism committee, and boy have they been busy! Members of that group include both pension and health actuaries, from firms of various sizes. 

This group is focused on three areas. 

  1. Re-launching the Professionalism Forum
  2. Publishing a Checklist for Actuarial Communications, which provides an abbreviated list of what Pension and Other Post Retirement Benefits actuarial reports should contain per the USQS and ASOPs. This document has been approved by the Board and will be posted online soon.
  3. Determining whether revisions are necessary to the peer review and other professionalism documents available on the CCA website

New Initiatives 

  • Technical Resource Library. For the benefit of CCA members working in the pension plan area, we digitized the existing Gray, Green and Blue Books to make the questions and responses easy to search and filter. These books are a compendium of technical questions and responses representatives of the Enrolled Actuaries Program Committee (1998-2016) posed to federal agencies.

This committee intends ultimately to create new questions and propose potential responses along with the reasoning/support behind the responses, sometimes including alternative responses.  These new questions will be separately identified and will have had no government agency involvement, but should provide useful background information regarding some of the many questions that are not addressed by regulations. 

  • You may have also heard about the R software training workshop pilot conducted for 10 lucky members by member Justin Hornburg. The feedback was fantastic and we will continue to look for ways to offer such training classes again next year.
  • The Public Plans White Paper 2.0 Working Group is making great progress updating the CCA’s influential 2014 paper on actuarial funding policies and practices for public pension plans. An exposure draft is expected to be out early next year to get comments from the broader community.
  • The Cash Balance Accounting Working Group has drafted a white paper addressing the financial accounting treatment of market-return cash balance plans. The final paper should be released in Q1 2024.
  • Our leadership team, with Michael Clark as our ace interviewer, met with consulting employers to understand perceptions of the CCA and how the CCA can better serve their employees. These meetings will continue in 2024.

2023 CCA Awards

Every year we honor three CCA members, voted by our Board of Directors, representatives of CCA and The Actuarial Foundation, to be our annual award recipients.

  • Lifetime Achievement Award. This award recognizes a CCA member for contributions made to the CCA and the actuarial consulting profession in general, during their professional career. This year’s winner is Don Fuerst.  

During his career, Don was CCA president, served on many committees and was a frequent speaker. But his contributions go way beyond the CCA. He was the Academy’s Senior Pension Fellow among other roles, as well as volunteering with the SOA. 

  • Most Valuable Volunteer Award. This award recognizes a volunteer who has made contributions to the CCA or the actuarial consulting profession in general, during the past 12 to 24 months. This year’s winner is Justin Hornburg.

Justin is a dedicated CCA volunteer who has contributed his time and expertise to the annual meeting program committee, the professionalism committee and the healthcare community steering committee.

  • Wynn Kent Public Communication Award. This award was established by the Kent family and friends to honor CCA past president, Irwin “Wynn” Kent.  The award recognizes members of the actuarial profession who have contributed to the public’s understanding of financial risk and encouraged more actuaries to engage in these activities. This year’s winner is Cori Uccello.

Cori is the senior health fellow at the American Academy of Actuaries and serves as the actuarial profession’s chief public policy liaison on health issues.

Being the president of the CCA has been an honor and the highlight of my career. I know you will be in great hands with president, David Scharf. He has a tremendous amount of energy and I know you will like hearing from him. I look forward to seeing you at future meetings!

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