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

Requesting Guidance From the ABCD

My phone rang, and I grabbed it. “I need guidance,” said the voice on the other end. “Um, OK,” I responded “I saw the Actuarial Board for Counseling and Discipline’s e-mail and office addresses on its website, but I’m calling because I need to remain anonymous—at least for now. I just took over as the enrolled actuary for a defined … Read More

An Actuary Defends Herself

The following fictional presentation of opening statements in a lawsuit is purely hypothetical. It’s intended to illustrate the many ways in which our profession’s official standards can help an actuary give his or her clients a complete, sound, and accurate work product and guard against unfounded accusations.   CASE: Aaron Burr Smith Inc. Widget Factory and Donut Shoppe (plaintiff) v. … Read More

Paul’s Puzzle: A Fable for Actuaries

Paul Plesiosaur was the pricing and reserving actuary at Raptor Health Plan, a small health maintenance organization located in his hometown of Pleistocene Crossing in the Rust Belt section of the Midwest. He had done very well at the state university, passing two actuarial exams and graduating with a 3.6 average. Although he could have taken a position with a … Read More