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

Communicating the Unknown

Randy Ratesetter came into Sheila Savvy’s office. Randy was relatively new, having joined Virtual Consulting three years ago. “Brigadoon Health Plan wants us to tell them how much the Pitchfork Virus will increase their costs. I told them that because it’s so new, we may not be able to do that, but I’d do some checking.” Sheila sighed. “It’s good … Read More

Looking for Truth in Shades of Gray

I am fascinated by the old movies that have been “colorized”—teasing out the real colors from the slight variations in gray used throughout the film. Who would have imagined that you can now watch Casablanca in full color rather than black-and-white! Although it may be anathema to cinematic “purists,” colorizing old movies is welcomed by many because of the sense … Read More

Actuarial Assumptions

Yogi Berra said, “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future,” yet that is the essence of an actuary’s work. The bases of an actuarial analysis are the assumptions and the values selected for these assumptions. All actuaries realize that any assumption made about the future could ultimately prove to be incorrect. However, it is not possible to proceed … Read More

Precept 11—Tell the Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing But the Truth

Every Precept of the Code of Professional Conduct (the Code) is considered essential in meeting our responsibility to the public in support of our profession. We rarely highlight Precept 11, Advertising. While infrequent, complaints alleging violations of Precept 11 usually present challenging issues for consideration. Precept 11 provides that: An Actuary shall not engage in any advertising or business solicitation … Read More

Getting Political—Can an Actuary Weigh In on Thorny Issues?

It’s still a long time until the November 2020 elections, and we can expect a lot of political news before we reach the day itself. Health care, pensions, social insurance programs, and other issues of interest to actuaries will be discussed by politicians and reported on by the media. Politicians and pundits alike will be advocating for certain positions, and … Read More