Actuarially Sound

Hill Visits Spark Interest From Volunteers, Policymakers About What’s Possible

Hill Visits Spark Interest From Volunteers, Policymakers About What’s Possible

By Ted Gotsch
Senior Policy Analyst, Content and Publications

The Academy continues to showcase its policy work for those outside the actuarial profession, debuting in the last month the Election 2024 Issues Clearinghouse website, as well as the Actuarially Sound blog. Last week it turned to a more familiar vehicle to spread the word about the organization and the expertise it provides—Hill visits!

Thirty volunteers convened in Washington, D.C., on April 18–19, where they met with congressional offices, federal agencies, and other stakeholder groups to discuss our shared priority issues and highlight the plethora of resources that the Academy offers to policymakers and other experts in the field. The visits directly support the Academy’s mission to provide unbiased actuarial expertise and advice to public policy authorities and stakeholders, meeting our federal legislators and regulators where they are in a literal and figurative sense.

Volunteers from the Casualty Practice Council (CPC), the Health Practice Council (HPC), and the Risk Management and Financial Reporting Council (RMFRC) combined forces this year, executing a joint event. Together they covered Capitol Hill and downtown D.C., meeting with key decision-makers and their staff from Senate and House committee offices as well from the White House, the Government Accountability Office, and third parties such as MedPAC and the Kaiser Family Foundation as part of an effort to educate and inform them about the Academy and all of the work our members create across the policy and professionalism spectrums.

Members lauded the conversations they had with federal staff, saying their input was well received. Annette James, member-selected director on the Academy’s Board of Directors and co-chairperson of the HPC’s Health Equity Committee, said it was great to sit down in person and discuss policy with those who make change happen.

“It is one of the most gratifying experiences that I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing,” she said. “Participating in the Hill visits makes me realize how important the work of the Academy is and my place in doing that. It really was an impactful moment.”

First-time participant Emma Casehart, a member of the CPC’s Extreme Events Committee, said Hill visits allowed her to tap into her interests at the intersection of actuarial work and government policy.

“It’s been really interesting to be able to meet with all the different groups and hear the kind of things they are focused on,” she stated. “Some are interested in climate reporting out to 2100, and how extreme events might be changing over that time period, and we can give a least a look into the financial systems piece.”

Whether they were talking policy with representatives they’ve known for years or were meeting for the first time, volunteers said they are building relationships and serving as a necessary actuarial resource for people grappling with some of the nation’s most pressing concerns.

“I really enjoyed how interested the people we met with were in hearing what we had to say, and their willingness not just to ask questions, but the way they came up with follow ups or redirected,” said Jason Karcher, chairperson of the HPC’s Individual and Small Group Markets Committee. “You could see they were invested in the conversations we were having.”

David Sandberg, vice chairperson of RMFRC’s Data Science and Analytics Committee, said policymaking staff seemed determined to continue to seek solutions to the big-picture problems despite being in the throes of an election year. It left him with a positive feeling of what is possible next year and beyond.

“Certainly, there is the realistic assessment that nothing is going to happen between now and November,” he said. “That’s why I found it encouraging that you could sense their passion, their interest, their realization that come the end of the year, in the new landscape there may be lots of opportunities to become engaged.”

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