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July 28, 2004

Appointed actuary increasingly outsourced to consultants

A continuing trend for companies to engage a senior member of a firm of actuarial consultants to act as their Appointed Actuary is highlighted in the 9th GAAPS International Survey of Appointed Actuaries. The survey found that compared with direct employment, contracting independent Appointed Actuaries is considered by many to be the most effective way of achieving the required degree of regulatory independence. Read the full story

Posted by Tom Troceen at 02:36 PM | Comments (0)

Don't forget to carry the one . . . billion

As you well know actuaries are known for their cunning ability to predict future costs. At times it is almost eerie how accurate they can be. But what happens when there is a little miscalculation . . . or a lot!

Well that questions will soon be answered by James Hardie and Trowbridge Consulting Ltd. Trowbridge Consulting Ltd. came up with a $294 million dollar estimate four years ago for the future cost of claims related to asbestos. It would be a vast understatement to say they were off. One might even speculate that their calculations were done with a TI-84 (batteries not included) and a magic 8-ball in the other hand. Of course we all turn to the almighty 8-ball on occasion, however when it results in a $2 billion dollar miscalculation, people tend to ask questions.
James Hardie now would like to propose a cap on future claims and are asking shareholders to foot the bill for future claims. As it turns out, there are plenty of lawyers that love to pounce on any mesothelioma patient and reward them (and themselves) with a piece of the asbestos pie. KPMG's actuaries have rendered their services as an expert witness to John Sheahan to prove the negligent claims that "fell below appropriate professional standards in concluding that events and claims had leveled in March 2000."
As the actuary/doctors well know, asbestos can take up to 50 years to affect a person. That leaves a little room for error in the future unlike typical reserves set for basic casualty estimates. James Hardie and Trowbridge Consulting Ltd's miscalculations included understated average claim size and an optimistic zero, yes zero percent inflation rate. Trowbridge denies wrongdoing and believes that it acted appropriately on the data it was given and that its calculations were "reasonable."

Posted by Tom Troceen at 02:04 PM | Comments (0)

July 25, 2004

Actuarial society accepts first black South African

A 22-year-old man from Limpopo has become the first black South African to be accepted to the Actuarial Society of South Africa. Congratulations Ranti Mothapo, and we look forward to your future success. Read the full story.
Also read about some of Ranti's other inspiring achievements here.

Posted by Tom Troceen at 06:52 PM | Comments (2)

VEE - You passed course one . . . what now?

Congrats! You passed Course 1, you are now on your way to fellowship, but what is this I keep hearing about VEE credits towards Course 2? VEE or Validation by Educational Experience has been set up for those with credits in approved college course work.

The Society of Actuaries, Casualty Actuarial Society and Canadian Institute of Actuaries have released an Preliminary Examination Syllabus Announcement that covers the topics that will be covered on each of the exams for the different defined paths (follow link at bottom of page). The question arises about VEE. This will be implemented in the 2005 syllabus which is expected to be released in the coming months.

VEE credits will be applied to Economics, Corporate Finance, and Applied Statistical Methods. The SOA and CAS are still developing the guidelines which will decide which college courses are acceptable for VEE. Next month a few details about the course requirements will be available. In September Universities will submit their applications for course approval on the VEE topics. In December the list of approved VEE courses at universities will be published on the CAS, SOA and websites. Applications for VEE credits will be accepted as early as January 2005

The website has comprised a comprehensive FAQs page that should answer your questions about what is to come. List of FAQs at

Feel free to post comments about what you have learned about the new requirements or any questions that you may need answered. Good luck on your future exams!

Preliminary Examinations Syllabus Announcement:
PE Syllabus Announcement

Posted by Tom Troceen at 06:34 PM | Comments (0)

July 20, 2004

Let there be has been created to bring together actuaries on key issues that face “our” world. In the future this will prove to be a resource for both aspiring students and seasoned actuaries as a place to gather information on current events that affect how we do business and where we are headed. As we tackle issues that affect all of us, you the reader may participate on the discussion boards that will be created for each article.

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Posted by Tom Troceen at 03:29 PM | Comments (3)