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  #1  
Old 01-27-2016, 09:49 AM
meprendes meprendes is offline
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Default ERM or GHSPC

Without making this sound like a humble-brag (I hate those), I am looking for opinions on my situation: any help is much appreciated.

I have passed two of the Health Track FSA exams. I need to decide between taking the ERM exam or the Group Health Specialty exam. I have life events happening this exam "semester", and won't be able to get a ton of study time.

That being said, I feel as though I have a good chance of passing GHSPC in April, as the topics cover a lot of products I work on, and the pass rate for that exam is comparably higher than ERM or GHADV or GHCORU.

Alternatively, I could "skip" this exam semester (complete FSA modules) and shoot for GHSPC or ERM in October. ERM has a 40% pass rate, and is four hours.

I thought I would want to get a CERA (and be "special") but now I am not 100% on that. Two reasons: I don't know if the CERA will help me more in my current role (pricing of specialty health products, DI, CI), and I have doubts about other industries even having any knowledge on the credential. As I see it, I have a sure fire FSA by the end of the year with GHSPC, or I can take a risk to get some extra letters.....that might not matter.

Either way, I could get some other credential (CFA, FRM) if I really felt it necessary to have something that other industries recognize.

Am I discounting the CERA/ERM training too much? I just feel like even with a CERA I won't be qualified for ERM roles, I'm not a CPA and have not worked in Financial Risk before. Or am I just being a weenie about 2 extra hours?
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  #2  
Old 01-27-2016, 06:23 PM
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From my experiences and knowing people that have the CERA, I haven't heard of it really being worth much. Like you said, it has to get to the point where companies and industries recognize and value it to make it worth it. That may be the case in the ERM industry, but I definitely haven't seen it in the Health or Pension industries at all.

Given the higher pass rate, less exam source material and your work background, I'd go for Specialty if you don't see much value in CERA. And as you said, that gives you two chances to pass it and be done with exams this year. You could do the modules after you take the exam, while you're waiting for the grades.

Just my opinion, so take it for what it's worth.
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Old 01-27-2016, 06:25 PM
meprendes meprendes is offline
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Originally Posted by DBactuary View Post
From my experiences and knowing people that have the CERA, I haven't heard of it really being worth much. Like you said, it has to get to the point where companies and industries recognize and value it to make it worth it. That may be the case in the ERM industry, but I definitely haven't seen it in the Health or Pension industries at all.

Given the higher pass rate, less exam source material and your work background, I'd go for Specialty if you don't see much value in CERA. And as you said, that gives you two chances to pass it and be done with exams this year. You could do the modules after you take the exam, while you're waiting for the grades.

Just my opinion, so take it for what it's worth.
Very helpful, thank you!
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Old 03-24-2016, 12:51 PM
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Where are you getting the 40% pass rate quote from? I sincerely ask because I'm a similar conundrum... more than anything because I get double the salary increase/bonus if I do ERM instead of Specialty.
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Old 03-24-2016, 02:13 PM
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Where are you getting the 40% pass rate quote from? I sincerely ask because I'm a similar conundrum... more than anything because I get double the salary increase/bonus if I do ERM instead of Specialty.
The SOA posts passing percentages in the Exam Results section of the website. Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015 percentages are listed below, respectively:

ERM: 40.3%, 41.3%, 44.2%, 39.3%
Specialty: 59.2%, 50.5%, 70.8%, 63.2%
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Old 03-24-2016, 02:20 PM
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Thanks, I had looked at the page but I was only looking under each specific test (like they have it in the prelims) and didn't see anything.

Is anecdotal evidence also that the ERM is harder than the Specialty course?

I'm thinking that maybe some non-actuarial people might have actually bought into the ERM mumbo jumbo and could be driving down passing rates.
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Old 03-30-2016, 08:54 AM
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Is anecdotal evidence also that the ERM is harder than the Specialty course?

I'm thinking that maybe some non-actuarial people might have actually bought into the ERM mumbo jumbo and could be driving down passing rates.
I don't have an answer for that, but my opinion is that I wouldn't think that many non-actuaries would be taking the ERM exams (presumably for the CERA designation?), so I'd think that would be a pretty small effect on these numbers.

Specialty is certainly less material (2 hr exam instead of 4 hr). I think both materials have fairly straight-forward material for the most part. Of course there are a few technical pieces that get pretty complex, but there are a lot of parts that are just memorizing a ton of information and understanding the logic behind the processes. So I don't know if the ERM material is harder, or if they're just grading on a different curve, but the passing percentages certainly show a difference.
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Old 09-23-2016, 03:21 PM
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I've been giving this some thought and now I'm thinking that what is probably happening is that near-ASAs or brand New ASAs are going after the CERA credential in the hopes of having a better looking resume.

The downside of this is that it makes ERM the first FSA-style exam they take and hence why the pass rates are so low. By this I mean that they tend to fail more since they're not used to this type of exam; a similar effect is affecting Core which has a lower pass rate than advanced for the latest sitting. I didn't care enough about this to go back to older sittings though...
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