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Actuaries Abroad
Upcoming Actuarial Celebrations
Kendra M. Felisky-Watson 

LONDON, England–Yes, Virginia, there are actuaries in the land of wallabies and kangaroos. In fact, the Australian Institute of Actuaries is celebrating its 100th birthday this summer.

In honour of this occasion, the next ASTIN and AFIR meetings will be held in conjunction with the birthday celebration. The relevant dates are ASTIN August 10-13, AFIR August 13-15, and the Australian Institute's annual meeting August 17-20. The location is Cairns, Australia, which I am told will be lovely at that time of year.

Another date for your calendar: The International Congress of Actuaries will be holding its quadrennial meeting in Birmingham, England June 7-12, 1998. It's another birthday; the 150th anniversary for the Institute of Actuaries. While Birmingham is not really a very nice place to visit, the area around it is.

As usual, Lloyd's and the actuarial certification of reserves required by the US regulators is keeping many actuaries busy. Instead of allowing the reserves for the US Trust Funds of Lloyd's to be set based on UK insurance law, the New York regulators are requiring that the reserves be set based on New York insurance law. Needless to say, this has thrown UK actuaries into a tizzy.

A quite interesting meeting took place recently at the Institute of Actuaries when Dr. S. Coutts and Mr. T. Thomas presented their paper, Modelling the Impact of Reinsurance on Financial Strength." The authors postulated that the Daykin et al. asset/liability model could be used to specifically examine the effects of different reinsurance programs on the capital of a direct insurance company. Coutts and Taylor presented a modular model structure in which you can either use the authors' module or construct one more appropriate to your company's situation. It seemed to me that this is all very similar to the Dynamic Financial Analysis that the CAS has been studying for years.

What was really fun was the discussion that took place. Some reviewers liked the paper and thanked the authors for their innovative contribution to actuarial science. Other reviewers found the tone of the paper to be "self-congratulatory" and accused the authors of wasting peoples' time with a marketing brochure (the authors are a consultant and a reinsurance broker). The authors will be presenting their paper to the CAS at an upcoming meeting where I think they will have a much more sedate reception.

As part of its long heritage the Institute of Actuaries is housed in one of the oldest buildings in London, the Staple Inn. The Staple Inn is a lovely old half-timbered (black and white) building around a central cobblestone courtyard. It was the only building in its area to survive bombing during the war. All the general administrative workings of the Institute are housed in the Staple Inn but the library has been moved to Oxford.

The Institute has meetings about six times a year when papers are presented and discussed. If the meeting is on a boring subject, I entertain myself by staring at the lovely carved ceiling and beams, the heraldic emblems on the walls, the intricate paneling or the stained glass windows. Usually, one meeting a year is on a general insurance topic and then I tend to pay attention. After the meetings, the attendees move on to one of the 18 dining societies, or the pub. These dining societies are members-only and some are real stodgy "pass-the-port-on-the-left" gatherings. The oldest dining society was founded in 1848. In fact, many people miss the meetings and just go to their dining society! At most dining societies after-dinner speeches are given, traditionally on non-actuarial subjects and they are preferably light-hearted and edifying. A friend of mine recently spoke at one about feminism, American line dancing and boring actuarial neckwear.

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