ACOPA Activities Benefit ACOPA Actuaries

By John Markley • June 18, 2018 • 0 Comments

ACOPA actuaries benefit from being a part of ASPPA and ARA. In May, ACOPA actuaries Tom Finnegan and Bill Karbon, our new Executive Director Marty Pippins and I participated in the Government Affairs Committee (GAC) weekend meetings in Washington. On Monday, May 21, we met with the PBGC and the IRS. The PBGC values our meetings as we are the representatives of the majority of plans covered by the PBGC. The PBGC is working with ACOPA to assist in delivering messages regarding reportable events and the missing participants program.

Monday afternoon, ACOPA and other ASPPA representatives met with the IRS. I have participated in numerous meetings with ASPPA and the IRS. The meetings are clearly important to the IRS, as approximately 20 IRS representatives crowded into the conference room for the meeting and dozens of others participated by conference call. Over the course of the years of the meetings, the IRS has acted on many of the ideas and concerns of ASPPA and ACOPA representatives. By combining our message with the other sister organizations of the ARA, ACOPA has a strong voice.

ACOPA is also a member organization with other actuarial organizations in the North American Actuarial Counsel (NAAC) and the International Actuarial Association (IAA). It is important for ACOPA to maintain relationships with the other actuarial organizations. The other actuarial organizations know ACOPA through ACOPA’s participation in these organizations.

January NAAC Meeting


President Bill Karbon described ACOPA's participation in the January 2018 NAAC meeting in Puebla, Mexico.

The Puebla meeting was originally scheduled for September 2017. Unfortunately, an earthquake struck Mexico shortly before the scheduled date of the conference. The conference was postponed only a few days before the actual event and Kurt Piper, ACOPA President for the meeting, was already on the way to Puebla at the time of the cancellation. Kurt, from Southern California, is experienced with earthquakes and was only minimally concerned about earthquake damage. Kurt was right! Despite media reports of the damage in Mexico City, which is only 80 miles from Puebla, the impact of the earthquake in Puebla was minimal. Kurt made the most of the opportunity and spent time with other actuaries who also made the trip despite the conference postponement.

The Puebla conference was postponed until January 2018. Bill Karbon and I represented ACOPA at the conference. The Mexican actuaries were great hosts! The conference was a mix of technical information and time for socializing. Bill and I spent time with the President and President Elects of the Society of Actuaries, the Academy of Actuaries, the Casualty Actuarial Society and the Conference of Consulting Actuaries.

We also had the opportunity to learn how actuarial organizations operate in other countries:

  • In Mexico, there are two actuarial organizations. One of them recently celebrated their 50th anniversary, similar to ASPPA. A college degree in actuarial science is critical for entering the actuarial field and replaces examinations for entering the profession.
  • Canada benefits from having a single organization to represent all actuaries. Like U.S. actuaries, passing examinations is critical to career growth for a Canadian actuary.

Saturday in Puebla included a tour of the city. The municipal area has a population of 2.5 million and is 7,000 feet above sea level. The tour included a library that was several hundred years old. The books have been maintained in excellent condition. The Catholic churches in Puebla are also well preserved and magnificent.

Although the tour was well organized, I was antsy to get back to the hotel. My Philadelphia Eagles were about to start their playoff season with a tough matchup against the NFC reigning champion Atlanta Falcons. I was not sure whether there would be any coverage at the hotel. As soon as we walked into the hotel, I noticed the bar television had the Eagles game on! Bill and I watched the game along with several other actuaries, including the incoming President of the Academy, who is an earthquake actuary!

Leaving Puebla was also an adventure! The evening before our scheduled flights back home was unusually cold for Puebla. As we entered the unheated airport, we learned that our plane had ice on the wings; in Mexico, the airports do not have machines to de-ice the wings. Several hours later, the wings were clear of ice the natural way — from the warmth of the sun — and we could take off, but it was another several hours before we were warm again.

Puebla is an amazing city. I highly recommend visiting if you have the opportunity.


Next NAAC Meeting in September

ACOPA is organizing the next NAAC meeting, which will be held in San Diego this September. Bill Karbon, Lauren Okum and I will be representing ACOPA at the meeting. Thanks to Elizabeth Duda and other ARA staffers, the organization of the meeting is proceeding smoothly!


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