Robert M. Damler, FSA, MAAA, joins the Ball State Department of Mathematical Sciences as a John Beekman Distinguished Professor of Actuarial Science. Professor Damler also serves on the College of Sciences and Humanities Dean’s Executive Advisory Council.
What is your journey to Ball State?
I graduated from Ball State University in 1987 with a Bachelor’s degree in Actuarial Science. Following graduation, I joined a global consulting firm, Milliman & Robertson, which is now known as Milliman. I enjoyed a 35-year year career at Milliman retiring on December 31, 2022. During my career at Milliman, I progressed from being an actuarial student to being a managing partner for the last 19 years. In 1994, I became a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries after having completed the actuarial exams. I have been a Member of the American Academy of Actuaries since 1990.
My business partners and I developed a consulting practice which focused on two primary areas, state Medicaid programs and pharmaceutical companies. We developed a consulting practice that grew from two employees to more than 180 employees with annual revenue exceeding $52 million of consulting fees. The consulting practice expanded from being focused on actuarial issues to having a broad spectrum of healthcare consultants, including public health consultants, pharmacists, and healthcare operations consultants. My primary focus for the last 25-years of my career in consulting was on publicly funded healthcare programs, specifically the Medicaid program, which is operated by state government agencies and overseen by the federal government. I provided consulting services to more than 20 state Medicaid agencies, the federal government and many managed care plans throughout the country.
I am completing my second, three-year term and currently serving as the Chairperson on the Actuarial Standards Board, which oversees the Actuarial Standards of Practice for actuaries in the United States. I am the serving as the External Evaluator for the University of Illinois on behalf of the Society of Actuaries for the University-Earned Credit program. At Ball State, I am currently on the Dean’s Executive Advisory Committee for the College of Science and Humanities. I have also served on the Actuarial Science Advisory Committee.
What are your research and teaching interests?
During my professional consulting career, my research focused on two areas: the Medicaid program and risk adjustment systems. I published various papers on the use of risk adjustment systems in Medicaid and measuring the underlying morbidity of the populations. I also published various papers on the impact of changes to the Medicaid program, including eligibility expansions under the Affordable Care Act. I am involved in Medicaid committees for both the Society of Actuaries and the American Academy of Actuaries. I also was the task force chair for Actuarial Standard of Practice No. 49, Medicaid Managed Care Capitation Rate Setting.
While my role as a Distinguished Professor at Ball State does not have me teaching full-time, I anticipate providing ad hoc presentations on the healthcare system in the United States, including the Medicaid program.
What are some of your goals for your first year here?
My primary goal as a Distinguished Professor is to promote the actuarial science program at Ball State University. I have the following three goals during my first year:
- Encourage prospective students interested in actuarial science to choose to attend Ball State University
- Meet current Ball State undergraduate and graduate students in the actuarial science program and help them with career planning
- Meet current and prospective employers to recruit Ball State’s actuarial science students
What do you like to do in your free time?
During my free time, I am involved in various volunteer and recreational activities. I currently serve as the president of the housing corporation for the Ball State chapter of Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. I also am serving as the chair of a capital campaign for the fraternity to raise funds for a new chapter house.
For recreational activities, I enjoy playing golf with my wife, driving race cars and participating in road course racing, riding bikes and running. I enjoy reading books, especially those in the historical fiction genre regarding American or wartime history. Finally, I enjoy time with my family. We have three daughters that are married and have or are having babies (four grandchildren with three more expected in the next 7 months). All three of our daughters live within a few minutes of our home and we get to enjoy their company on a regular basis.