A recent wedding has made Joseph Mills consider the benefits of acting in the present not just planning for the future.
I have just got back from one of the most unforgettable weddings I have ever been to. A friend, an actuary friend, was getting married! Yes - actuaries can, in fact, form functioning relationships. Even more to my amazement, the people most enthusiastically busting shapes on the dancefloor to DJ Dave were past and present work colleagues - the only difference from their normal appearance being that their ties were secured firmly around their foreheads, rather than their necks. Of course, I am far too sensible to be involved in such antics
As risk professionals, we strive to do a number of things. We try to build the best view of risk possible and we try to use that best view to make the business more money, whether that is on the top or the bottom line. The trouble is, the actions we take now are not going to be truly visible for months - maybe even years, if we are thinking of big commercial claims with many IBNRs.
To compensate for this gap in knowledge, we continue to remodel as historic data starts to run off. We are often encouraged to look into the future by using experience from the past, but that doesn't sit right with me. Saturday's wedding was not just about tomorrow or yesterday, next month or last month, but about today, enjoying the moment. I could easily list the clichés, quotes, memes, gifs, posters and wall art that cover the same sentiment, but I'd be going down a well-trodden path.
It goes without saying that marriage is a lifelong commitment - that is the most important part of getting married in the first place. But almost every wedding involves a great deal of consideration given to planning the ceremony and the reception. As actuarial businesses plan for the future, making commitments to be market leaders with strong successful financials, they should take care not to forget about the present.
Just as couples think about their wedding day, we should think about what we can do now, in this moment, for our customers and for the business. It's all too easy to strive for the 0.0001% improvement in your latest model and forget what you can implement and learn from right now. I have started to think about this recently, in order to ensure I am adding as much value as I can each day. In fact, I have also created a couple of pretty cheesy acronyms to aid my thinking process during the work I do:
TERTOIS: Time ? Effort ? Reward ? Trade-off ? Implement Sample.
TERTOL: Time ? Effort ? Reward ? Trade-off ? Live.
And yes, I have printed off images of a tortoise and turtle and stuck them on my desk to remind me.
Most of our time at work will be spent engrossed in deciphering intense 'mathy' cobwebs. But sparing an extra five minutes to consider the short, medium and long-term wins is vital to ensure we are doing the best for the business and the customer.
PS - I must make it clear that the above acronyms are to be applied to workplace practices, and are definitely not to be confused with dating or relationship advice!
Joseph Mills is joint student editor.