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25 Years Ago in The Actuarial Review
Count on Norm Bennett
Walter C. Wright 

Happy New Year!

Finding interesting material in old issues of the AR is sometimes a challenge. Fortunately, many of the old issues contain a "Maunderings" column by Norman J. Bennett…the columns always have good material. Today's readers may be amused by Norm's New Year Resolutions from 1979.

February 1979 AR (.pdf)   

This year I resolve to make an honest attempt to read a standard Charlie Hewitt paper thoroughly. I'll check the integrations, test the limits, and hunt for that tiny invisible flaw. My reward will come at some meeting when he is steeled for my usual banalities and I come on casually with, "Charlie, I noticed that the latent roots of your multinormal dispersion matrix are…"

I resolve to get someone, anyone, interested in organizing a search for the negative binomial. The lifeblood of a quarter generation of our brightest actuaries was shed in capturing and taming this endangered species and now it's disappeared entirely. Not so long ago it was déclassé for the modish actuary not to have at least two or three moments of this little distribution on his person at all times. Now it's gone. Even Les Dropkin gave me a blank stare when I asked about it.   

I most firmly resolve for my own reputation to remember that when a young actuary refers to the "good old days," she means calendar year 1974.

I resolve to stay out of the puzzle business and leave it to the experts. Actually, I understand that this resolution has already been made for me by the puzzle editor.   

I resolve to do my best to persuade Hiram Tanaka and Karen Kashiwabara of the Hawaii Insurance Department that my on-the-scene presence is necessary to explain to them some obscure point in our ratemaking methods. Naturally I would hope that the point would not be too obscure and that the question would arise during the colder months in the Northeast.

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