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This article originally published by The Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP)
Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. has assigned executive vice president and chief enterprise risk officer Elizabeth (Betsy) Ward the additional role of chief actuary. The move is seen as part of a trend to streamline and clarify risk governance amid growing marketplace complexity.
“Managing risk is critical to our success, and by bringing together our actuarial and risk functions, we are strengthening our ability to help more people secure their future and protect the ones they love,” Roger Crandall, chairman, president and CEO of MassMutual, said in a May 18 announcement.
Ward has been chief enterprise risk officer since 2007. When she stepped into that role, she was also chief risk officer of Babson Capital Management, a MassMutual subsidiary that she had joined in 2001 and where she was managing director.
Effective May 29, Ward succeeded Isadore Jermyn as chief actuary. He retired after more than a decade in that position and 34 years overall with MassMutual.
Concurrent with Ward’s change in status, Brad Hoffman was promoted to senior vice president in the enterprise risk and actuarial organization. A 24-year veteran of the company, Hoffman has been a member of the enterprise risk management team since 2009, helping to standardize the risk identification and management process across the firm. He also serves as chief risk officer for broker-dealer MML Distributors.
Hoffman has degrees in mathematical economics (B.A., Colgate University) and law (Marshall Wythe School of Law at the College of William and Mary).
“Expect to see more risk functions combined and evolve in this way to create true, comprehensive and consistent risk management programs throughout organizations, enabling risk to be defined, ranked and mitigated in a manner in which the measuring scales are equal whether you are looking at quantitative or qualitative risk,” said Mitch Avnet, founder and managing partner of Compliance Risk Concepts in New York.
Consolidating titles, such as chief risk officer with chief actuary or with chief compliance officer, is typically part of an effort to coordinate oversight and break down silos.
“Roles are being combined especially in operational risk areas to create continuity and consistency in the overall risk management program, because it can be very siloed,” Avnet explained.
Ward, who has actuarial experience, said, “Given how much life insurance involves financial risk management, it’s natural to have the combined roles be part of strategic planning in forecasting risk, supplementing it with necessary operational consideration and balancing it with strategic risk taking and risk protection.”
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