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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Stars of the small screen

The internet has had a profound impact on modern life, connecting people across the world and providing a vast and instant source of information. In my opinion, however, the greatest gift the internet has provided modern society is YouTube. It is a simple idea — users post video clips that the rest of the global population can view at its leisure. This may be mainstream music videos or just ambitious scientists experimenting with Mentos and lemonade, but it is estimated that over 100 million clips are watched every day, making it one of the most visited websites in the world.

With this much content, it is not unsurprising to find that a small part of it is dedicated to the humble actuary. With little more than an hour’s research, I have uncovered a whole new side to the profession that I never knew existed and, through my brief audio-visual forays, I have broken down the actuarial content of YouTube into a number of sub-groups: recruitment, actuaries and good causes, social and other.

The recruitment group, somewhat predictably, features careers videos about the profession and it is this genre that gets the first hit when you search for ’actuaries‘. But there is a wide range of content here. Some try to make the profession sleek and sexy — jumping around London, showing big shiny buildings in Canary Wharf and actuaries looking important in their day-to-day working lives. Others look very dated and seem to be advertisments for grey knitwear, potentially supporting some of the stereotypes the public holds for our kind. One of the more life-affirming clips in the recruitment sub-genre is of a young American who, excited at finding his calling in life, looks into the camera and proudly declares: “Mum, dad, I’m going to be an actuary!” accompanied by a big broad smile and a thumbs-up, which is not quite how I did it.

Actuaries and good causes is another heart-warming category. Many firms involve themselves in the community doing some very admirable work and have posted several short documentaries charting their achievements. Inspiring stuff. The social genre is a more complex beast. With some YouTube content, I find it hard to fathom why you would want to share it with the world rather than just keeping it private. A great example is a group of actuaries at a dance party. Drunken dancing is only entertaining and funny when you are drunk and dancing. Still, there is something a little bit addictive and voyeuristic about watching videos of others being silly, and at least it shows that actuaries can have fun.

The final sub-group, ‘other’, is possibly the most interesting. It is here that YouTube really comes alive. There are videos that demonstrate the musical prowess of actuaries, such as a musical performance at a 2008 Society of Actuaries event which includes the line, “Mortality tables are not a joke. They tell us how many folks are going to croak”. Genius! Other clips demonstrate the actuary’s physical prowess. There is a compilation of amateur wrestling moves performed by an actuary. These are not your simple headlock moves — this is a very strong actuary hoisting people above his head and executing moves that would make Hulk Hogan think twice.

My overall impression, based on my research, is a positive one. As a profession, we are representing ourselves fairly well on YouTube. We inform the world about what we do, we contribute positively to society and we’re not afraid to laugh at ourselves along the way. Now, where did I put that camcorder...


Client entertaining

Bom-Bane’s, Brighton
Follow your way down some residential roads near Brighton’s seafront and you will find Bom-Bane’s, offering one of the best dining experiences you will ever have. Singing staff (yes, you read that correctly), good quality food and mechanical tables — what more could you want? And it won’t break the bank either. Make sure you go on their musical night, their fortnightly dining-come-cabaret experience. www.bom-banes.co.uk

Art by an actuary
Actuarial healing
For Christmas, we bring you the greatest actuarial YouTube clip of all time — a modern interpretation of the Marvin Gaye classic, Sexual Healing. This performer is unknown but, suffice to say, he will soon be a legend. Visit http://bit.ly/31yGj1


If you know of any great actuary-related videos on the internet you’d like to share, please send us the links at arts@theactuary.org.uk


Snaps with GAAPS
Look out for a special photography competition coming up in the new year. We’ll be asking you for your best pics on the theme of ’international finance’, so use your imagination and get snapping now to be in line for one of the special prizes provided by competition sponsor, GAAPS.