In Memory of Charles G. Bentzin

Charles G. Bentzin, FSA, EA, MAAA, passed away on 8 May, 2020. Bentzin enjoyed an actuarial career that covered four continents and which, with education, training and active practice, extended over 60 years.  Bentzin was born on November 29, 1932 to A. E. “Mike” Bentzin and Joy Soulen Bentzin in Watertown, Wisconsin.

After investigating numerous possible occupations, Bentzin decided to become an actuary while a junior in high school. Bentzin enrolled in the actuarial course at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and graduated with honors with a B.B.A in actuarial science in 1954. Upon graduation, Bentzin began working for the Connecticut General Life Insurance Company in Hartford as an actuarial trainee where, in1957, immediately prior to leaving for military service, he received his designation of Associate, Society of Actuaries (ASA). In 1959, with a rank of First Lieutenant and while working on adapting military pay to the computer at the Army Finance Center in Indianapolis, Indiana, Bentzin received his designation of Fellow, Society of Actuaries (FSA).  At that time Bentzin was one of the youngest Fellows in North America. Upon leaving military service that year Bentzin became the Chief Actuary at the State of Arizona Insurance Department; the first “lettered” actuary to hold that position and the first such professionally active actuary resident in Arizona.  Bentzin was one of the charter designees as a Member of American Academy of Actuaries, (MAAA) in 1965 and as an Enrolled Actuary, (EA) in 1976.

In 1960 Bentzin founded Charles G. Bentzin Associates Inc., the Phoenix, Arizona consulting actuarial firm which he managed for over 30 years.  Bentzin Associates became nationally known for its work with captive reinsurance companies and Bentzin was instrumental in developing important concepts and techniques applicable to such companies including the “exotic” reinsurance company and the experience refund agreement. Bentzin was also successful in applying actuarial techniques to such varied “non-traditional” applications as forecasting the rate of return of Sun City, Arizona homes to the market due to the death of one or more of its occupants, determining the value of mortgage servicing income and determining the amount of money that would be needed to cover blow-out risks in a self-insurance fund for three New Mexico gas wells.

Following the sale of the Bentzin Associates’ client list in 1992, Bentzin extended his actuarial work to other continents.  Bentzin consulted with governments and taught insurance and pensions in developing countries including Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, Bangladesh and Bulgaria. Bentzin also lead a group of actuaries to China under the People-to-People program.  These activities enabled Bentzin to pursue his two passions: learning and traveling. As a result of these and other trips, Bentzin ultimately traveled in over 100 countries and developed an expansive and conservationist “world view".

Bentzin was also active in professional, civic and academic organizations.  Bentzin was twice president of the Arizona Actuaries Club; a member of the International Congress of Actuaries: an Associate of the Institute of Actuaries of Great Britain, member of the CFA Institute, life member of the American Association of Individual Investors, President of the Phoenix, AZ chapter of the University of Wisconsin-Madison alumni Club; Local Secretary (President) of the Phoenix, AZ Mensa Society and a life member of Mensa, a member of the Beta Theta Pi social fraternity and the Phi Kappa Phi and Beta Gamma Sigma Honorary Scholastic Fraternities and for over 30 years was a member of the Phoenix, AZ Rotary Club #100. Bentzin was recognized by Who's Who in Insurance and Who's Who in America.

Bentzin is survived by sons, Ben Bentzin, Barton Bentzin and daughters Bianca Bentzin, Belinda Bentzin Buscher, Bonny Bentzin and Eight Grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his mother, Joy Soulen Bentzin; father, A. E. “Mike” Bentzin and brother, Scott Lee Bentzin.

Bentzin was a perfectionist with an ever inquiring mind and a zest to try new things. He was generous in giving time and expertise to friends, family and colleagues. He enjoyed classical and folk music, planning and traveling to far–flung places and an extensive knowledge of current events. Bentzin’s fascination with learning caused him to accumulate what probably became the country’s largest private actuarial library.  Bentzin donated this library, which was contained in 40 boxes, to the University of Nevada-Reno where this library is now recognized as the Charles Bentzin Actuarial Collection in the Department of Mathematics & Statistics.