Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Emotional Actuaries

Contrary to popular stereotypes, actuaries are not emotionless robots. That’s the domain of tax collectors.

Here’s a listing of some feelings/personality traits that actuaries have.

  • Valuation actuaries are reserved
  • Cash flow testing actuaries have several sensitivities, and are sometimes shocking.
  • Pricing actuaries are marginal.
  • ALM actuaries will feel balanced on most days.
  • Annuity actuaries are a mixed bunch, some are rather stoic with fixed feelings while others can be quite variable.
  • P&C actuaries are rather protective.
  • Pension actuaries are eager to make contributions.
  • Life actuaries can be selective, ultimately.
  • Health actuaries are highly adjustable.
  • Disability and Long Term Care actuaries are morbid.
  • Investment actuaries are interesting, but hedging actuaries can be exotic.
  • Reinsurance actuaries share everything.
  • Experience study actuaries are occasionally incredulous.
  • Regulatory actuaries are very formal.
  • Governance actuaries are controlled.
  • Academic actuaries are collegial.
  • Retired actuaries, if all went to plan, will be untaxed.
  • Chief Actuaries get bored of directors.
  • An Appointed Actuary is opinionated.
  • Finally, actuarial students are testy. These are fragile creatures, often on the brink of mental breakdowns, so please treat them with a lot of love and care!
On the topic of emotions, a new tool for understanding how actuaries are feeling is now on the market.  Introducing the Actuarial Mood Ring!

Sunday, July 9, 2023

Maverick vs Maverick: Round 1

Dominic Lee, aka The Maverick Actuary sort of dared me to binge stream his interview series. Well, that’s how I took it anyway. It wasn’t an official challenge but when he "encourages" me to check out his stuff,  I hear "I bet you won't" and I’m not one to back down from an invitation. 

Also, over the 4th of July I enjoyed watching the movies Top Gun and Maverick back to back. Having those flicks fresh in my mind has inspired me to put the Mavericks Head to Head. Let’s “fly right into the Danger Zone!” And see how Dom stacks up against Tom.

Monday, March 13, 2023

When a Virus Stays Viral: Variant Edition

Hello fellow pandemic survivors! How is the bunker life treating you these days?  I know many folks may be maxed out on articles on COVID, but let's not lie - season 4 has had some new interesting twists. 

First, I came down with the 'VID while at an actuarial conference! I was down for a couple days with fever and flu like symptoms, before recovering. Spent some time quarantining to prevent spread and thankfully the rest of the fam was able to dodge the bug. 

Second, little did I know that I would get another chance to experience a catastrophic event a month later. Hurricane Ian plowed over my community in September. You can read about my thoughts on that experience, and how it is a reminder that risk is everywhere, tomorrow is never promised and lessons on resilience and resolve.

Many of the lessons from the hurricane apply to the pandemic as well. How do you alert but not panic the public, how do you save the most lives? How do you respond after the storm hits? How do you dig in for the long haul?

Third, the virus is mutating itself like it is part of the Marvel Universe or something.  The VARIANTS even sounds like a new movie in the franchise. Before we go deeper, here's a quick look back at the past 3 seasons. 

To recap: 

  • Season 1  -the sky is falling
  • Season 2 - putting humpty dumpty back together again
  • Season 3 - same song, new verse, a little bit louder, a little bit worse
In an ongoing effort to chronicle the elements of life in COVIDland, we will revisit various themes:

1. Decision Making and Uncertainty
2. Risk Models
3. The New World

Friday, February 17, 2023

NSFW Book Review: Everything is Your Fault by Stephan James

Between the Spreadsheets alternates between philosophical musings and satirical articles that are generally clean. For proof that actuarial humor can walk through the mire and be as lewd as your drunk uncle Roger, we present a review of Everything is your Fault, a series of parody advice columns from an actuary writing under a nom de plume. 

Friday, January 13, 2023

Eat Your Numbers: A Second Helping


Covering how nutrition assistance programs are calculated, updates in medical coding of nutrition in healthcare, and climate impacts to food supply. Check out the Jan/Feb 2023 issue of Contingencies.

Part 1 is here: