In Answer to Your Many Questions

EDITOR’S NOTE: Mike Toothman just completed six years of service to the profession as a member of the Actuarial Board for Counseling and Discipline (ABCD). In October 2008 and June 2009, he was a panelist on Academy-sponsored webcasts on the Code of Professional Conduct. In October 2009, he was also a panelist on an Academy-sponsored webcast on Precept 13. At … Read More

Moving from Discipline to Guidance

FOR MOST OF HIS ACTUARIAL CAREER, Paul Fleischacker’s impression of the activities of the Actuarial Board for Counseling and Discipline (ABCD) was simplistic—and fairly typical. “I think I was like most actuaries who think of the ABCD as primarily a disciplinary group, rather than as a group of experts who can give guidance when you have questions on compliance issues,” … Read More

The Carol of the Bells

THE HOLIDAYS WILL ARRIVE BEFORE WE KNOW IT, and I’m reminded of some professional advice I received about 25 years ago. I was chatting at a holiday party with the general counsel of an actuarial consulting firm, trying to find a common topic between an actuary and an attorney. He told me that, in his experience, almost all actuarial malpractice … Read More

Don’t Regret Having Filed a Complaint

In your work as an actuary, it’s quite possible that at some point you’ll discover an apparent unresolved material violation of the Code of Professional Conduct. Members of any of the five North American actuarial organizations that have adopted the code are required to follow it—even when they aren’t providing actuarial services. (When you read the code, you find that … Read More

Interviewing With Integrity

“What’s your personal integrity statement?” Does the question catch you off guard, or are you prepared with a solid and concise response? The actuarial community places particularly high value on ethics and integrity. While it can be a sensitive topic, it deserves candid and comprehensive discussion. Today’s workplace has been defined by Enron, Sarbanes-Oxley, and the cry for transparency. As … Read More

Student of Change

The traditional path for young actuaries entering the profession involved pursuing math or business courses in college, discovering the profession at career fairs or by word of mouth, signing on as an actuarial intern for summers and after graduation, and committing months and months to a self-imposed study schedule to prepare and pass the requisite exams. Like so many other … Read More

I’m an International Actuary?

Johnny had just finished his latest project—pricing a new product his company was planning on selling to select employers. Although he hadn’t been given enough time to do all of the research he would have wanted, he still felt that the final product would be well received. And, he took some comfort in the fact that he had at least … Read More

When Is a Violation Resolved?

Sarah McAree (FSA, MAAA) has a problem. Sarah was recently engaged by the privately held Argo Fishing Lure Co. to provide actuarial services related to its retiree group-benefit plans, beginning with the 2009 valuation. Jim McNiece (ASA, MAAA, FCA) had announced he would be retiring at the end of 2009, and Argo decided to engage Sarah’s services now rather than … Read More

Actuaries, Data Security, and Hill Street Blues

Imagine sipping your Starbucks one morning and reading this headline: “Court Awards  <insert painfully large dollar amount> for Privacy Violation. <insert your firm’s name> to Appeal.” It really could happen to you or your employer—or both. Many otherwise upstanding companies that never expected to be associated with that type of headline have been found guilty of violating customer privacy. A … Read More

Broaching the Subject of Professional Behavior

As I was walking down the row of cubicles late Friday afternoon, thinking about the glorious weekend ahead, I saw that another student actuary at Excellent & Reliable Insurance Co. had lingered at his desk after quitting time. “Hey, Joey, you need to pack up and go instead of staring at a blank computer monitor,” I said. “Oh, I’m just … Read More