Red carpet? Check. Security? Check. Name tags? Check. Microphone and screen? Check. Are we at the Oscars? Definitely not, but it’s 8.29 AM and the Actuarial Congress 2023 is about to start.
While people enter the grandiose marble hall of the Royal Tropical Institute, I meet some of this year's participants; professionals working in the insurance, consultancy and regulatory field. They seem in the right spirit but still in need of some upliftment, perhaps coffee is a first step in the right direction. The second step is realized by our chairman of the day, Jeroen Breen, who starts the day off with an interactive poll introducing today’s theme: ‘Fairness: the Ethics of Solidarity’.
After the first plenary sessions the impact of this year’s topic is tangible during the first coffee break. What does fairness mean? What is ethics about? Moreover, what do these concepts entail for the actuary? An important insight: the questions ethics gives rise to are not answerable in a straightforward way. Subjectivity lies at the heart of this topic, therefore it was about time to engage people on a personal level during the interactive sessions.
My earlier hope for some upliftment in the participant’s mood is visibly realized after these sessions. During the lunch the participants and now also some students hold lively dialogues about the topic. To put it poetically; the seed of conversation had been planted and kept on growing as the event went on. The subsequent speakers made sure that their sessions contributed in a similar fashion, shedding light on the subject - causing photosynthesis in the conversational seed.
Fast forward to the end of the day: a carefully selected discussion panel that through discourse summarizes and adds final details to the day. The conference has come to an end except for two activities. The first one is to thank all parties involved, Jeroen Breen in specific as this was his tenth and final year as chairman of the day. The remaining and final part of our day consists of a borrel in the marble hall. With all the new insights it makes sense that (almost) everyone longs for a drink and a chat. I look around and see some of the people I met this morning. Even though they still look the same from the outside, I silently hope that they take some wisdom home with them.
The glasses are emptied, the last people go out
The committee is drained, their effort makes proud
Joyful is the feeling, when I think back
Was this event unforgettable? Check. Check. Check
Chairman AC 2023