WHAT LED YOU TO BECOME AN ACTUARY? AND WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO THE PROFESSION?
When I was in high school, my mother worked at an insurance company. She knew I liked math, so she suggested becoming an actuary. I had never heard of an actuary before, so I looked into what an actuary was and what they do. I thought it sounded interesting. I went to college planning to be an actuary and was able to have an internship after my junior year, which helped solidify my desire to go into the profession. I was intrigued by the idea of using math for practical purposes like pricing insurance products.
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU WISH YOU WERE GIVEN WHEN YOU WERE AT THE BEGINNING OF YOUR CAREER?
Do not ignore the soft skills. Technical training and exams can get you a long way up the corporate ladder, but only so far. After that, skills like strong communication, emotional intelligence, and understanding human behavior and building strong relationships become more important.
TELL US ABOUT A TIME WHERE YOUR ACTUARIAL EXPERTISE INFLUENCED AN IMPORTANT DECISION IN YOUR WORKPLACE.
A former company entered a new distribution channel. We tracked experience by distribution channel and saw results from the new channel that varied materially from our pricing and other channels. The company decided to exit the new channel.
WHAT IS ONE OF THE BIGGEST LESSONS YOU’VE LEARNED IN YOUR CAREER?
As I stated above, the soft skills are very important. As actuaries we need to be able to communicate in a way that our audience understands us. We need to spend our energy on building strong relationships with people.
WOULD YOU LIKE TO SHARE ANYTHING ELSE WITH ASPIRING OR NEW ACTUARIES, OR THOSE INTERESTED IN VOLUNTEERING FOR THE ACADEMY?
I have been an Academy volunteer for many years. Volunteering allows me to give back to the actuarial profession. It also enables me to be involved with influencing the direction of new regulations and to understand the context behind the decisions that are ultimately made. Understanding context makes it much easier to work with new regulation than simply reading the words.
SHARE A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF. WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR HOBBIES OR OTHER PERSONAL INTERESTS?
I am married and have five children and stepchildren in a blended family. My wife is the love of my life and my anchor. My kids are all very different and are taking their own paths to success and are really great people. For fun I play ice hockey and enjoy sailboat racing. I really like to play chess, although I have not played in tournaments for a few years. I also study Jewish religious texts.