SA85-90 “combined” and more actuarial sloppiness

I know of far too many actuaries who think that the “average” SA85/90 table is an appropriate base for their insured lives mortality assumption. It’s not. It’s also a good example of “actuarial sloppiness”. To be specific, it is equally inappropriate if your current experience is a reasonable fit for the combined SA85/90 table. SA85/90 […]

The virtual irrelevancy of population size to required sample size

Statistics and sampling are fundamental to almost all of our understanding of the world. The world is too big to measure directly. Measuring representative samples is a way to understand the entire picture. Popular and academic literature are both full of examples of poor sample selection resulting in flawed conclusions about the population. Some of […]

Fixing SA education – political will not (only) money

I blog from time to time about education in South African and its frightening link to unemployment and all the societal ills that go along with that. I also point out that as a nation we spend a fair amount of money on education with very poor results. This story about absenteeism amongst South African […]

Credit Suisse annual update on market performance

Credit Suisse has for several years now put out an annual Credit Suisse Global Investment Returns Yearbook 2013 is out now. It’s worth reading in its entirety for the insights. I don’t agree with everything there, and I certainly don’t agree with the widely held view (not among the authors) that the universe of countries included […]

The Perfect Storm Part 1 – IFRS reporting under SAM

A client recently mentioned that they were concerned about the implication that the adoption of Solvency Assessment and Management (SAM) would have on insurance accounting under current IFRS4. The apparent concern was that measurement of policyholder liabilities for IFRS reporting would change to follow SAM automatically. Let me start out by saying this is categorically […]

Does being richer make you feel better than being cooler?

Economists (and actuaries) like to measure things. The easier to measure and the more reliable the measure, the more we like to measure it. This is not unlike the drunk looking for his keys under the street lamp because that’s where the light is even if it isn’t where he dropped the keys. Sometimes the […]