Bitcoins, deflation and the slightly silly impact of loss

I think Bitcoins and the Blockchain are amazingly cool.  I still don’t think Bitcoins are a useful currency and I worry that many of Bitcoin’s biggests fans also like the gold standard, Austrian economics and some other crazy stuff. What impact will the loss of Bitcoins over time have on the economy?

Downwards counterfactual analysis

Stress and scenario testing are important risk assessment tools.  They also provide useful ways to prepare in advance for adverse scenarios so that management doesn’t have to create everything from first principles when something similar occurs. But trying to imagine scenarios, particularly very severe scenarios, isn’t straightforward. We don’t have many examples of very extreme […]

Alternatives to uncanny

This is a rant about people who are wrong on the internet.  Also, why Huffington Post is a platform for big bad wolves. And why the asymmetric information and importance of financial advice means it’s not okay. Maybe this is just part of Cunningham’s Law. Clickbait headline? Check. “3 Smart Alternatives to Life Insurance“ Numbered […]

The importance (or not?) of actuarial exams

Erik Wenzel posed a provocative question on his LinkedIn stream. I began my reply there, but the character limit foiled me. Erik asks: “Thought experiment– what if there were no more actuarial exams?” He gives a starting set of pros and cons, many of which are interesting. That, and the comments on his post, left […]

Move over cholera, here’s the Black Death

The Black Death, caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis, wiped out 30 to 50 percent of Europe’s population between 1347 and 1351 Now, South Africa has been placed on high alert for a potential plague infection. Mortality rates are estimated anywhere between 30% and 100% without treatment. Many estimates are towards the top end of this […]

Collective nouns for cats

In my ASSA convention presentation on systemic risk last week, I took pains to highlight the difference between real systemic risk and mere catastrophic claim risk or even concentration risk. In this post I will cover these and other cats, the place of reinsurance including “feelings” and why this is hyper relevant for captives. To […]

Credit Life Aside: banning sale of credit life alongside lending?

Some markets have banned sale of insurance alongside lending Another way to deal with the problem of competition in credit life is to simply not permit the sale of insurance at the same time as the loan. This means that more providers will have an opportunity to make the sale since the lender doesn’t have […]