9 comments on “Timmy elsewhere

  1. I’d seen this report on the BBC and, having seen you point out this nonsense before, I knew you’d be all over it. I didn’t realise that this had been produced by the professional body I’m a member of.

    The problem the actuarial profession is having to deal with is that the big insurers don’t automatically give every senior job in the company to an actuary like they used to. Industry cost-savings means that there aren’t as many actuaries required. (And probably for the first time ever, actuaries are being made redundant in fairly large numbers). They are having to get used to the idea that being an actuary is no longer a well-paid job for life, and so they need to find something else to do.

    The Institute has a big push on getting actuaries into “Wider Fields”. Essentially, the logic behind this is “we’re very clever chaps and can turn our hand to anything, so we’ll start getting involved in anything we can”. It’s a self-preservation tactic and it leads to the kind of report you highlight.

    There is a large Institute comittee looking at climate change. In theory it’s to look at effects on the insurance industry, but I suspect it’s the usual motive: there’s a barrelload of cash for research, so let’s get out paws on it.

    It is quite disheartening. I would say that the majority of actuaries still believe in intellectual rigour, bu there is a growing and vocal minority with an agenda to push.

    I’d really appreciate it if you could send a short letter pointing out the errors in this report to our industry magazine (editor@theactuary.com). We need experts in the field to point out such errors or else it will just continue.

  2. I’m writing up a longer critique for my column at The Register this week and I’ll probably do something at Forbes later in the week as well. I’ll contact said editor after those two, having already outlined in more detail what’s wrong with it.

  3. Thanks Tim.

    Minor bit of pendantry: it’s official name is the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries. (There was a formal merger and name change a few years ago).

  4. I’d better tell my petroleum architect colleagues currently working on a 25 year new development in British waters that they’re wasting their time.

  5. Actuaries haven’t covered themselves in glory in the last few decades in predicting the increase in life expectancy, so it seems a bit rash to take up weather forecasting.

  6. Like GlenDorran I am embarrassed by the IFoA publishing a report by Dr Aled Jones and co-conspirators. I was working on a major project in January 2013 so I didn’t look at it at the time because I trusted IFoA to produce good quality stuff: I have now read it and I am staggered – it is not a research report it is a political manifesto.
    I have quibbles about your ASI piece since it seems to relate to a different paper by the same propagandists. I cannot find the projections “in just over five years Britain will have run out of oil, coal and gas,”

  7. @ dearieme
    Well, that is because the 2001 Census was wrong (Westminster Council eventually won a court case because they could demonstrate that the number of people paying Council Tax was greater than the number that New Labour claimed lived in the City of Westminster. The High Court did not believe that the number of children and co-habitees in aggregate was less than zero).
    The 2011 census came up with numbers of aged individuals massively different from the projections based on the patently incorrect 2001 census and it is obvious that the smears from Alastair Campbell are unjustified and merely an attempt to distract attention from the impact of the fall in interest rates on pension received by retirees from their savings.

  8. “The Oil Drum” is no more, closed last September. It was certainly a home of peaky-doomers, but did also have some good bloggers who knew their oil very well.

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