May 4, 2008

CALU 2008 - Sharing The Wisdom

70% of CALU members (Conference for Advanced Life Underwriting) attended the 17th annual event in Ottawa from April 27-30, 2008. The chair, Graham Carter, selected the theme of Sharing The Wisdom. We did. And more.

They're There
I still can't believe the calibre of government officials who chose to address us
  • Monday morning: Deputy Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff, who spoke impromptu and took questions
  • Monday lunch: Governor of the Bank of Canada Mark Carney, who flew in after a morning meeting with bankers in Toronto, and also took questions
  • Monday afternoon: Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who rearranged his schedule to speak at 2pm
  • Tuesday morning: Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, who also attended the evening reception for Senators and Members of Parliament
In addition, a senior CRA official attended a roundtable discussion. He jokingly thanked CALU for keeping his department in business by asking ongoing questions. We also saw saw live recordings of the Senate hearings on Creditor Protection in which CALU representatives were thanked for helping Canadians with their constructive input.

Stephen Harper
Stephen Harper started his address with "My friends at CALU" and explained why he used those words. He's addressed CALU six times, the last three as Prime Minister. He called CALU unique because of political involvement and civic benefits.

Here are the parts of the conference which stood out:
  • best answers to audience questions: Michael Ignatieff
  • most entertaining: Mike Mandel on the power of words
  • most actuarial: Moshe Milevski, who spoke about longevity risk, the peril of outliving your savings
  • most thought-provoking: Dan Hill (not the Canadian singer) on recent research into the role of emotions in selling
  • most elusive goal: figuring out a fair price for buying/selling a block of business
Since so much takes place over the four days, the conference becomes a blur. You remember how good you felt, the people you met and a few tidbits of wisdom. I took notes which I'll turn into text with Dragon speech recognition for future posts.


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