October 2012

Letter From The Editors

By Andrew Chan and Rich Junker

Actuaries are caught in a perfect storm. Since the global financial crisis erupted in 2008, actuaries have had to deliver more information to senior management and at the same time, they have had to comply with new guidelines/standards, e.g., IFRS, Solvency II, PBA reserves ... etc. A lot of them have had to work double shifts, yet their deliverables have remained behind schedule. It is easy to say that they should have been thinking strategically and working smarter. Unfortunately, they have had to spend most of the time on fire fighting. So how do they have time to think beyond the box?

CompAct is an online newsletter that encourages adoption of new technology/methodology that will significantly improve our productivity. We want to hear your story on how technology can help you fight the impossible deadline!

Our lineup of authors this month provides a number of tools to enhance your ability to surf atop, not underneath, the report proliferation waves:

In this issue, Tim Heng explains in “Excel as an IT system” how a proper development framework can reduce spreadsheet risk. A proper development framework can also promote reusability, robustness, and longer life expectancy of the application  itself, i.e., increase our efficiency. Do you have a development framework?

Paul Margus demonstrates how Excel Tables can effectively manage data in his article “Table it in Microsoft Excel” and even shares his example workbook with us.

Don’t miss Steve Craighead’s article about how to create a Ring of Fire using R’s spatial modeling package.

Kevin Pledge describes why actuaries are ideally suited for a leading role in analytics in “Actuaries—Data Scientists for Insurance.”

I was eager to find out what the best app of all time is from Dave Kester’s article. I was surprised about the finding, but I don’t think anyone would argue with Dave about his choice. So what is the best app of all time?

With each issue of CompAct, you will discover tools and methodologies that make your work product easier, quicker and more insightful.

Andrew Chan, ASA, is a financial model engineer with ALG Consulting. He can be contacted at chan_a@algconsultings.com.

Rich Junker, FSA, CLU, MAAA, is an actuarial consultant at Junker consulting in Tampa Bay, and can be contacted at richardjunker@tampabay.rr.com.