There is often this stereotype of actuaries as the proverbial backroom operators, possessing poor communication skills and lacking easy grace with strangers. Henry Joseph M. Herrera is a resounding counterargument to that label. In a career traversing decades, Henry, as he is known to those close to him, has established a reputation as someone who is intelligent and reliable but also congenial and down- to-earth.
Henry graduated from the premier state university, University of the Philippines, with a Bachelor of Science in Statistics, cum laude in 1980. He then finished in the top 10 of his class completing his Master of Business Administration in 1986. In 1997, he completed what would be the first of four (4) programs at the Asian Institute of Management, returning to finish three more in 2001, 2010 and 2011. He completed a course at the prestigious Wharton Graduate School of Business in 2000. He followed it up by completing a course at another world renowned institution, Harvard Business School.
Henry first worked at Insular Life Assurance Corporation from 1980-1982 as an actuarial trainee and, later on, an actuarial assistant. He then worked as actuarial analyst for Lincoln Philippine Life Insurance Company, Inc. from 1982 to 1983. In 1984, he joined United Coconut Planters Life Assurance Corporation as an actuarial assistant eventually becoming Assistant Vice President and Controller in 1989. In that same year until 1992, he was Consulting Actuary for the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines Inc. He went to Philippine Asia Life Assurance Corporation in 1989 as Vice President and Actuary and would later serve as their President and CEO from 1994 to 1997. In between in 1990, he became a Fellow of the Actuarial Society of the Philippines.
Henry assumed various roles and responsibilities for Sun Life Financial and its subsidiaries for almost two decades. From 1998 to 2000, He worked for Sun Life Assurance of Canada as Assistant Vice President for Regional Actuarial covering the areas of the Philippines, Hong Kong and Indonesia. He would later become the Chief Actuary of Sun Life Financial Plans, Inc. from 2001 to 2006. He was also Vice President and Chief Actuary from 2000 to 2002, and Chief Actuary and Chief Investment Officer from 2002 to 2006 for Sun Life of Canada (Philippines), Inc. For Sun Life Asset Management Company, he was also Chief Operating Officer from 2005 to 2006. Henry would later become President and CEO for Sun Life Financial Plans, Inc., Sun Life Asset Management Company and Sun Life of Canada (Philippines), Inc. from 2007 to 2009. He was also President and Chairman for the Sun Life Financial Foundation in the same period.
In 2010, Henry became Chairman of the Audit Committee of the Board for Pru UK (Philippines), Inc. He later became their Chairman of the Board in 2012. He became Adjunct Faculty for the Asian Institute of Management beginning in 2010 up until the present. He is also Chair of the Audit Committee of the Board and a Member of the Board of Directors starting in 2011 up to the present for ATR KinEng Family of Mutual Funds. In 2013, Henry became a Treasurer and a Member of the Board of Trustees for Ahon Sa Hirap, Inc., a micro-finance institution for the poor.
Throughout his career, Henry has held positions in several institutions and foundations. He was a Director for PLIA Realty Incorporated (1994-1997), Solutions Incorporated (1993-2000), Basilio King Foundation (1996-1997) and for Sun Life and its subsidiaries (2000-2009). He was a Trustee for the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines (1996-1997) and for the UP School of Statistics Alumni Association (2006-2008). He also was a Lecturer for the Insurance Institute for Asia and the Pacific (1995-1998) and a Guest Lecturer for the Asian Institute of Management (2004-2009).
As an indefatigable pro, Henry has also been affiliated with several professional organizations through the years such as the Association of Insurers and Reinsurers of Developing Countries, Philippine Life Insurance Association, East Asia Actuarial Congress, International Actuarial Association, LIMRA International, Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines, Knights of Columbus and Actuarial Society of the Philippines.
Henry’s accomplishments extend to his personal life as well. He has built a family with an equally brilliant actuary. Generous with passing on the knowledge he has accrued over the years, he is never too serious to participate in an organization’s activities, even if it includes dancing to Beyoncé’s music, “Single Ladies”, in one local actuarial conference. The actuarial community is fortunate to have him as an informal ambassador, defying stereotypes and pigeonholing, among other things.