Just a few years ago, the CAS was busy preparing for its centennial celebration in 2014. In honor of the event, the CAS conducted an interview with Frank Harwayne, FCAS, who was then the second oldest living CAS member. Harwayne died in 2016, and his obituary is included in this issue’s In Remembrance column. When composing his obituary, I came across Harwayne’s interview. He had these words of wisdom for new actuaries:
Your work is with numbers, but your business is with people. We did not enter this field to have stories, books, songs, or movies written about us; we entered this field to make the lives of everyday people just a little bit better, a little bit easier, and a little bit brighter.
I was struck by his humble sentiment and how he differentiated actuarial work from the meaning of that work. With all the discussion of big data and insurtech disruption amongst those in insurance, Harwayne hearkens back to the basics of what it means to be an actuary — “Your business is with people.”
In his In My Opinion column, AR Editor and Chief Grover Edie espouses a similar take on the business of actuaries, trying on a different answer to that age-old question, “What do you do?” I am amazed that Grover’s column touches on the same subject as Harwayne did. Then again, in my many years of working with actuaries, it seems that they all, at one time or another, contemplate just how to explain what it is they do. I know that I have!
Be sure to read Grover’s piece and see if you agree with his definition of an actuary.
I have never met Ana Mata, ACAS, but I feel that I know through her volunteer work as an AR copyeditor. So I was very happy to see a photo of her on social media taken at the International Congress of Actuaries held last June in Berlin. She was presenting the results of a paper produced by the joint Institute and Faculty of Actuaries-CAS International Pricing Working Party. Dr. Mata, along with Chairperson John Buchanan, who is the subject of this issue’s Downtime column, served on the joint working party. It really is a small world!
To read the paper, which is the 2016 winner of the prestigious Brian Hey Prize, visit actuaries.org/uk.