Risk to the Actuary

Actuaries love to measure risk. Risk is directly involved in our calculations: Mortality/longevity risk. Morbidity risk. Turnover risk. Investment return risk. Asset/liability mismatch risk. Risk of underprovision for expenses. Risk of bad data. Risk that our models are incorrect. These are the technical areas that actuaries are trained to analyze. We love this stuff! Sometimes these can be quantified in … Read More

A Million Little Things

There is a show that I try to watch called A Million Little Things. It takes place in Boston and follows a group of close friends who are dealing with many current societal issues. I enjoy how it presents issues in a creative way that is both thoughtful and entertaining. The show also provides different perspectives on important issues. One of … Read More

Where Do You Practice?

I work for a U.S.-based office of an international consulting firm. I joined the firm more than 20 years ago when many of our clients were based in the areas local to my office. But consolidation in the insurance industry has reduced the number of local insurers and increased the international presence of many of the remaining companies. The evolution … Read More

Who Knows 14?

If you ask anyone you meet about the significance of the number 14, the reply will probably relate to Valentine’s Day which is on the 14th of February. For the historian, 14 may represent the storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789, the inclusion of Vermont as the 14th state of the United States in 1791, or Flag Day, celebrated on … Read More

The Code of Professional Conduct and Ethics

Ever since a minimum continuing education requirement in ethics became part of the requirements for Enrolled Actuaries, I have been interested in the interplay between the Code of Professional Conduct (“the Code”) and ethics. Ethical Practice For me, the most simplistic answer of what constitutes the practice of ethical behavior is in the determination of what is right and wrong. … Read More

Follow the ASOPs, Inside and Out

Internal or external users of actuarial services—should there be a difference in the work? Not much; actuarial work should be done in a similar fashion, and the substance of communication to internal and external “customers” should be very similar. I recently was asked to participate in a career symposium for high school students who currently attend my high school (held … Read More

The Art of the Possible

The phrase “the art of the possible” is often taken to imply that something sought is not all that likely to be achieved, at least not in its entirety. Imagine receiving a message from an employer or client stating, in part, “I’d like to have your report by next Wednesday. Let me know ‘the art of the possible.’” Many of … Read More

A Little Help From My Friends

Judging by vocal tones and body language, I think it is reasonable to assume that, upon hearing a reference to the Actuarial Board for Counseling and Discipline (ABCD), most actuaries would be more likely to think of the phrase “I’m from the IRS and I’m here to help” rather than a pleasant Beatles tune. I think it is fair to … Read More

Follow-Up Exam

As I wrap up my final year on the Actuarial Board for Counseling and Discipline (ABCD), I am also presenting my final “Up to Code” article. I decided I would go back four years and revisit the topic of my “Up to Code” article from the September/October 2016 issue of Contingencies. That article, “Test Your Professionalism IQ,” was presented as an … Read More

The Gifts and Responsibilities of Age

My wife and I watched Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner recently. The movie features John Prentice (Sidney Poitier), a successful, 30-something Black doctor, and Joey Drayton (Katharine Houghton), the 23-year-old white daughter of Matt Drayton (Spencer Tracy), a newspaper publisher, and Christina Drayton (Katharine Hepburn). John and Joey met in Hawaii and over the course of two weeks they fell … Read More