The Importance of Elections

By Kurt F. Piper, FSPA, MAAA, ASA • September 14, 2017 • 0 Comments
I thought that since we have just had our elections, it would be a good time to write about the importance of elections for ACOPA.

Of all the actuarial and other professional organizations, ACOPA is the only one I know of that has so many of its leadership positions subject to a full, free and fair election. This was by design from the start of COPA. Even where there are elections in other actuarial organizations, almost always there is an official slate and any unapproved candidates have a really tough row to hoe to be elected.

There is a valid argument for that methodology. Just for example, back in the old ASPA (the elections for the new ASPPA are more like ours), nominations were carefully vetted and presented as an approved block. Could an unapproved block have been presented at an annual business meeting and voted into office? Yes, but that never happened. One reason why this process worked well enough was that the vetting took into account service on ASPA committees and the potential for future value to ASPA in leadership roles. It also addressed the concern that an open election could result in too many speakers being elected because their names were more widely known than those who served on E&E, Conferences, etc.; this was to avoid having each election be a popularity contest. A downside was that some who thought they should have been part of the recommended slate for the ASPA Board were not selected, and had no real recourse.

ACOPA, on the other hand, is a smaller organization than the old ASPA, the SOA or the Academy. Most members know many if not most of the members who would be leadership material, although not all. One of the roles of ACOPA leadership has been to find new volunteers, promote good volunteers within the committees, and suggest that the best run for leadership positions without any thought of popularity. That said, they are not presented as a block. Anyone can run on an equal footing. At election time, members do not know if ACOPA leadership approves of a candidate or not. This gives someone with sufficient service to ACOPA the ability to compete in the election freely and fairly. Whether someone has “sufficient service” is decided solely by the membership via the election.

If you read the resumes of the members on the LC, MC and EC, you will be impressed with how much time and effort they have contributed to ACOPA. In addition, once members leave the LC, MC or EC, they do not stop volunteer service. ACOPA cannot survive without widespread volunteerism. 

I believe that the full, fair and free election process contributes to our volunteerism and our success.

At this point, I will stop and wish you a great Fall and look forward to seeing you at ASPPA Annual.