The Actuary Documentary

The actuarial profession has not received much attention from filmmakers since these clips from a 1948 classic:
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However that may all change if the New York City Office of the Actuary (NYCOA) has its way.

According to twitter the NYCOA has started production on a mini-documentary of the agency’s work in the past 100+ years including that of Jonathan Schwartz (no, not that one), who served as Chief Actuary from 1974 to 1986. The trailer:
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Maybe editing will clear it up but this quote is bizarre:

“part of the job is to persuade decision makers – no, defined benefits are neither obsolete nor unaffordable.”

In an environment with no independent oversight and politicians making up their own contribution amounts, part of the job should be telling decision makers that defined benefits ARE unaffordable – when they actually are (using honest actuarial assumptions).

 

21 responses to this post.

    • which was partly due to this:
      http://www.actuarialoutpost.com/actuarial_discussion_forum/showthread.php?t=138868

      Originally Posted by http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/16/nyregion/16actuary.html

      Mr. Schwartz, a former city actuary, said that he routinely skewed his projections to favor the unions — he called his job “a step above voodoo” — and admitted that he had knowingly overreached on the pension bill by claiming that it cost nothing, either now or in future years. “I got a little bit carried away in my formulation,” he explained.

      “What people call actuarial science is at least as much as an art as a science,” Mr. Schwartz said.

      “Back in my days as city actuary, I would go to that part of the range that would make things look as expensive as possible,” he added. “As consultant for the unions, I go to the part of the range that makes things as cheap as possible, but I never knowingly go out of the range.”

      Mr. Schwartz resigned from his city job in 1986 after admitting he had given false testimony in a deposition in a lawsuit brought by female employees who claimed that their pension payments were lower than those made to their male counterparts.

      Reply

  1. Posted by skip3house on November 9, 2018 at 1:45 pm

    Remember MBL went bust following hot shot VP advice for Miami area investments?
    MBL had a warning though. Seems this VP insisted on all cow hide instead of paint/wallpaper in his office.
    Stunk.

    Reply

    • Posted by geo8rge on November 10, 2018 at 10:13 am

      Are US government loan programs supposed to be paid back?

      I wonder if the newly higher interest rates are going to make a ‘loan’ program a more difficult sell?

      Can the single lump sum loan be replaced by a smaller yearly appropriation?

      Reply

  2. Posted by Tough Love on November 10, 2018 at 1:19 am

    Another Off topic article (important as the NJ Society of CPAs is endorsing the Sweeney Group’s Pension & Healthcare Reform Proposals, and NOT Gov Murphy’s do-next-to-nothing-but-make-believe-we-are-because-I’m-beholden-to-the-Unions-approach)……………..

    https://www.insidernj.com/press-release/njcpa-endorses-nj-economic-fiscal-policy-workgroups-pension-benefit-reform-recommendations-path-progress-report/

    Reply

  3. Posted by Stephen Douglas on November 10, 2018 at 6:08 pm

    That doesn’t look off topic at all. Is there a similar article from a NJ Actuarial Society?

    Question one, New Jersey public health benefits… Are they the highest in the nation, or does it just seem that way?

    I had three years of retiree healthcare before Medicare kicked in. I believe the state paid less than $1,000 month for dual coverage. $10 co-pay per visit and $5 per prescription. After Medicare, state insurance is secondary, and the only difference is Medicare Advantage pays my gym membership. What do you get with Platinum? (Free Uber for appointments would be nice.)
    If New Jersey were to get cheaper medical for it’s employees, who would be hurt more, the employees or the insurance companies?

    Reply

    • Posted by Tough Love on November 10, 2018 at 6:24 pm

      The High-end Plans that most of NJ’s Public Sector workers pick has a total (employee and Taxpayer) annual premium on the underside of $35K.

      And don’t let the complainers (about how much they pay) like El gaupo fool you. That $35K is the cost regardless of age or whether active or retired. Obviously healthcare “claim costs” increase with age. If the premium was correctly reflected the insured’s age, the Plan’s total premium for older workers and those already retired (and not on Medicare) would be a GREAT DEAL higher………. split between the worker/retiree and the Taxpayers.

      As is just about ALWAYS the case when it comes to PUBLIC Sector benefits……… it’s the Taxpayers paying those incremental older-age costs. We (the Taxpayers) are always treated as the “sucker” in the room.

      Reply

    • Posted by Stephen Douglas on November 11, 2018 at 1:34 pm

      California Unit 12 healthcare costs… (Mainly CalTRANS maintenance, but typical non-safety employee.)

      a. The State shall contribute $559 per month for coverage of an eligible
      employee. (Party code one)
      b. The State shall contribute $1,125 per month for coverage of an eligible
      employee plus one dependent. (Party code two)
      c. The State shall contribute $1,462 per month for coverage of an eligible
      employee plus two or more dependents. (Party code three)

      (Effective
      July 1, 2015 through July 1, 2020)

      As I recall, CalPERS negotiates with a number of insurance companies for their group rates. They average these rates, and contribute 80 percent of that average. If the worker chooses an average plan, he will pay the remaining 20 percent per month. If he chooses a cheaper plan, he pays less. I have been with Kaiser HMO for over forty years, and usually paid less than $100 a month for employee plus one dependent. Very satisfied with the healthcare provided. I can’t even imagine what you get for $35k/year.

      Ripped off, is what it sounds like.

      Reply

      • Posted by El Gaupo on November 11, 2018 at 8:12 pm

        Excellent coverage is what you get. Offer some other options and those employees will “choose” cheaper plans. They will not as I will not, choose a plan that is 25% cheaper and is terrible(the only other option) $8000 family deductible and big co pays.

        Reply

        • Posted by Tough Love on November 11, 2018 at 9:23 pm

          Quoting ……………… “Offer some other options and those employees will “choose” cheaper plans.”

          Doesn’t matter. Those WITH a brain will select the Plan with the greatest “value” (benefits vs cost), and all Plans offered will assuredly include a Taxpayer-contribution FAR in excess of what a Private Sector worker would typically get in employer-subsidy towards a Plan with EQUALLY generous benefits.

          Reply

          • Posted by El Gaupo on November 11, 2018 at 10:33 pm

            Waaaaahhhhh….want some cheese with that whine???
            Bottom line cutie pie, I make a pretty damn good living doing this. Great benefits, great pension, lots of overtime, early retirement, six figure income. And it absolutely kills you. Jealous one. 🤑

          • Posted by Tough Love on November 11, 2018 at 10:46 pm

            Yeah ………. but ONLY by ROBBING us Taxpayers as a result of your Union’s collusion with our Elected Officials to get them to grant such oversized pensions & benefits.

          • Posted by El Gaupo on November 11, 2018 at 11:23 pm

            Us taxpayers…ya mean you and me jelly bean!?!?!?
            Collision?? Prove it

          • Bottom line cutie pie, I make a pretty damn good living doing this. Great benefits, great pension, lots of overtime, early retirement, six figure income. And it absolutely kills you. Jealous one.
            Bottom line, you have an unskilled/semi-skilled job 90% of Americans could do. Your compensation has zero to do with your skill set, and everything to do with being in a gov monopoly and buying off gov officials. You have what all gov employees have, or develop, “Entitlement Mentality”.

          • Posted by Tough Love on November 12, 2018 at 11:55 pm

            Rex ………….. nicely stated !

        • El Gaupo would you mind sharing the particulars of your health plan?

          Deductible? Out of pocket costs? Co pays for specialists? Eye care? Major medical co-pays?

          Just like to know what we are talking about here

          Reply

          • Posted by El Gaupo on November 12, 2018 at 9:32 pm

            $515 a pay period for premium share while active. Twice a month. ER visit is $100 or maybe $125. Doctor co pay is $10. Not sure about co insurance. Too be honest, thank God my family has been healthy.
            And I say a lot of that shit to get a rise outta TL (aka Rex)

          • Posted by Tough Love on November 13, 2018 at 12:04 am

            What El gaupo left out, is that while HIS PREMIUMS are certainly line with the Premiums charged for family coverage in large Corporate Plans, HIS plan has MUCH MUCH richer BENEFITS. Hence, while the BALANCE (beyond what the employee pays) of the Plan’s Total Cost …. which is about $17K for Corporate Plans (and paid for by the employer) …………….. equates to a balance of about $23K for HIS Plan (paid for by Taxpayers).

            And there is ZERO justification for the Taxpayers to contribute MORE towards the cost of HIS (and all other Public Sector Plans) than what Private Sector employees typically get in contribution subsidies from THEIR employers.

    • SD…and how about all of the millions upon millions that NJ reimburses public employees once they have to start paying for Medicare? The retirees get the reimbursement in their check Go on Medicare at age 65, get reimbursed, keep full cadilac health benefits?????

      Hmmmmmm……those publics have it soooooo bad and I wonder how many non public taxpayers are aware of this wonderful perk? So in essence they pay nothing for lifetime health care for them and their spouses

      Reply

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