The Real Housewives of Actuarial Science

I read this press release in my inbox this morning announcing that the Society of Actuaries (SOA) was launching a P&C designation, normally the province of the Casualty Actuarial Society. My half-attentive first thought was that the SOA (life actuaries, mostly) and the CAS (P&C actuaries, mostly) were deepening their partnership, perhaps some day to merge.

Jim Lynch has a different take: SOA declares war on CAS

The question I have is: why should anyone care? These organizations already collborate on exams, so it’s not like the SOA is going to weaken the examination gates and let all the ‘riff-raff’ in. Designations are purely about signalling and prestige except, as Jim Lynch notes, when it comes to signing off on Actuarial Opinions, which the SOA P&C designation can’t support, as far as I can tell.

So it’s all about passing hard exams. Pedants will no doubt quibble about curriculum minutiae or “which one is harder”, but the bottom line is that nobody cares enough about this to spend the time wondering which designation to puruse. My prediction is that the SOA’s initiative will either merge with the ACAS or fizzle out.

If these organizations want to grow they need to do better than copy each other.

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