November 2018

From the Editors

By Chris Greig and Carlos Fuentes

November is the last quarter for our newsletter. We hope you have enjoyed the following articles:

    February 2018

  1.  Nudge for Good: Lessons From Nobel Prize Laureate Richard Thaler
  2.  Human Nature and the U.S. Health Care System, Part III
  3.  Insurtech and Innovation: A Conversation With Erik Wenzel, FSA
  4.  Quantifying the Unquantifiable: A Product Developer’s Dream

  5. May 2018

  6.  How Python (and Networking) Saved my Company
  7.  Human Nature and the U.S. Health Care System, Part IV
  8.  Examples of Visualizing and Using Data in Innovative Ways
  9.  The Future of Canadian Group Benefits
  10. A Change Will Do You Good
  11.  Timeless Thinking—The Art of War, by Sun Tzu
  12. Is There a Digital Blue Ocean?

  13. August 2018

  14. Why Actuaries Should Start Paying Attention to Python
  15. Innovation Insights
  16. Interview on Diversity and Inclusion With Meredith Reitman
  17. Artificial Intelligence for Actuaries
  18. Don’t Overlook Your Employee Communication Plan

In November we offer the following:

  • “Time to Review Your LinkedIn Strategy” by Allison Lu
    LinkedIn has become ubiquitous in the professional scene. It is no longer confined to job searches. Instead, it has become a networking platform, a tool to increase traffic to your website and a venue to position yourself as an authority in your field. In this article you will learn four steps to enhance your LinkedIn presence.
  • “Engaging Mortality” by Eric Sondergeld
    How does mortality variance behave at time of underwriting vis-à-vis in future years? Is the mortality variance of accelerated underwriting the same as the mortality variance of full underwriting? What about continuous underwriting? Sure, it would reduce mortality variance, but how would it affect product design? Do we know how customers would react? Read this article to explore these and other issues.
  • “Machine Learning” by Bill Rearden
    Machine learning (ML) sounds like a complex process, but in this article we find out that the fundamental ideas are easy to understand. The devil is in the details. While ML is here to stay and will fundamentally shape our profession, professional judgement, at least in the foreseeable future, will become more important because sometimes machine learning does not pass the common sense test. 
  • “System Dynamics” by Carlos Fuentes

    Do you know that the divorce rate in Maine is correlated (as a matter of fact, strongly correlated) with per capita consumption of margarine? This is a remarkable finding because it tells us that to reduce the divorce rate in Maine we need to reduce the consumption of margarine. Don’t laugh. A frequent assumption in model building—not in textbooks or in classes, in the real world—is probabilistic independence. Are we statistically trapped? Not with system dynamics or similar modeling techniques. 

We will continue presenting relevant articles to innovators and entrepreneurs. 2019 can be even better if you contribute your knowledge and expertise with fellow actuaries. We hope you do. 

Chris Greig, ASA, CERA, ACIA, is an assistant director at Moody’s Analytics. He can be reached at

Carlos Fuentes, FSA, MAAA, is president at Axiom Actuarial Consulting. He can be reached at