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  #61  
Old 10-05-2014, 08:54 PM
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Mary Pat Campbell
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Patrick's point is not freedom of speech, per se.

But the issue is how much one has to constrain what one says about controversial topics (and in this case, a non-actuarial controversial topic) without getting a talking-to about how it makes the profession look.

You know, it's one thing when you have a pension actuary calling his work "voodoo" in the NYT. That seems like something for the professional orgs to call out (and they did.)

It's another thing when one wants to talk about hot political topics, and then you get people saying "As an actuary, you really shouldn't talk about X", where X has nothing to do with the profession, other than it "makes us look bad."

Even though you never referenced that you were an actuary you were talking about X.

Just like no "respectable" actuaries would ever post on the AO. Especially in a frivolous area like NAT. Even though the very title says "Non-actuarial topics"

Think about that one for a while, because that argument has been made and is continuing to be made.
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  #62  
Old 10-05-2014, 08:55 PM
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This is the letter that I referred to at the start of this thread, which initially the editor of The Actuary ...
I'm surprised they asked you not to publish stuff about your views if you didn't make any actuarial references, and didn't sign your name "FIA" or anything. I don't believe any of the US actuarial organizations would have intervened, unless you were the president of them or otherwise somehow "more" representative of actuaries than just some dude who works as an actuary. And I don't think it is appropriate for them to complain about your private political views. (and I see those as political, not religious, views.)

But I'm not surprised they didn't publish that letter. It is very specific to your situation, critical of the IFoA, and brings up the very topics they asked you not to write about.
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Old 10-05-2014, 09:25 PM
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I'm surprised they asked you not to publish stuff about your views if you didn't make any actuarial references, and didn't sign your name "FIA" or anything. I don't believe any of the US actuarial organizations would have intervened, unless you were the president of them or otherwise somehow "more" representative of actuaries than just some dude who works as an actuary. And I don't think it is appropriate for them to complain about your private political views. (and I see those as political, not religious, views.)

But I'm not surprised they didn't publish that letter. It is very specific to your situation, critical of the IFoA, and brings up the very topics they asked you not to write about.
Two points here:

1) The letter doesn't criticise the IFoA, in fact it praises them for the clarification. It is only subsequently (here on the Actuarial Outpost) that I have identified the source of the "you must not criticise religions" as coming from the IFoA. I have disclosed this information because the IFoA refused my request to put confirmation (or otherwise) of their stated position on free speech on the agenda for their October Council meeting, and because they berated me for saying that it was ironic that the IFoA had affirmed its commitment to freedom of speech for members, yet the IFoA's official magazine had refused to publish an article about freedom of speech. (See the start of this thread: they asked, rather crossly, to issue a correction saying that the magazine was not their official magazine, so I did, only to see that the magazine holds itself out as such! They remain unapologetic about reacting prematurely in berating me for my comment which was perfectly reasonable given what the magazine says about itself.)

2) The Actuary magazine's editorial team claims to be independent of the IFoA (and I believe they are sincere in believing themselves to be). So don't you think it bizarre that they should in effect, behave exactly as you are expecting the IFoA to behave with regard to publication? (In any case, the IFoA have recently changed their position, so, unless that change was not a real one, but only cosmetic, why should they object to my publicising their newly stated position?)
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a21c is one of the better posters on the AO. That's not saying he's good.

UK software developer, actuary, musician, atheist. All posts in a personal capacity (unless explicitly stated otherwise in the post).
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  #64  
Old 10-05-2014, 09:38 PM
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You missed two of my three points:
1) Your letter is very specific to your situation, which isn't the sort of thing I would expect The Actuary to publish.
2) It is a controversial and unpleasant topic. Not the freedom of speech part, but what you want to talk about. It also happens to have nothing to do with being an actuary. I really don't understand why "The Actuary" would want to publish stuff about this or that ethnic community doing bad stuff to children. That's not their topic.

I get why YOU, as a human being want to talk about it. And I think you should not be shackled by your profession and forbidden from doing so. But I still don't think your letter is especially appropriate for a professional publication, unless you've been formally reprimanded and the point is to tell your side, too.
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  #65  
Old 10-05-2014, 09:40 PM
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Now that is a good question, of an actuarial nature!

...

Disclaimer: I claim no expertise in insurance (my fields these days are software engineering, financial modelling and pensions, with most recent relevant expertise in the first of these). That may be obvious from my "thinking aloud" comments above ...
Okay. Suppose that your statistics showed that some religious group, say Followers of Apollo, lived longer than most. Would you support reducing their pension payments because, on average, they were a drain on the system since they live longer?
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  #66  
Old 10-05-2014, 09:49 PM
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Okay. Suppose that your statistics showed that some religious group, say Followers of Apollo, lived longer than most. Would you support reducing their pension payments because, on average, they were a drain on the system since they live longer?
I'm pretty sure church pension plans have to recognize their better-than-average longevity. at least, over time


Separately, we already know of a fairly large mortality difference: women live a few more years than men, on average. Probably a bigger impact than religious differences, in general. (unless your religion involves lots and lots of smoking)

In the U.S., though, there was a court case in the early 80s indicating female employees couldn't be given lower pension payouts under ERISA. And life (and TIAA, which was defendant) went on.

As it is now, they can't even allow for sex differences in auto insurance in the UK. They've been trying all sorts of things there to try to tease out the "crazy young men" underwriting variable theyre no longer allowed to get at directly.

so i'm saying that we already know about disallowed u/w classes, even though we know the base rates differ hugely. nothing special about religion with regards to that
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  #67  
Old 10-05-2014, 09:58 PM
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In the U.S., though, there was a court case in the early 80s indicating female employees couldn't be given lower pension payouts under ERISA. And life (and TIAA, which was defendant) went on.
Presumably you mean the Norris decision, which if memory serves was 5-4, and which was a very limited decision being based on Title XII of the Civil Rights Act.

This topic used to be covered on the exams (even CAS). It is a pity that it isn't anymore.
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  #68  
Old 10-05-2014, 10:09 PM
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Presumably you mean the Norris decision, which if memory serves was 5-4, and which was a very limited decision being based on Title XII of the Civil Rights Act.

This topic used to be covered on the exams (even CAS). It is a pity that it isn't anymore.
I only remember is the decision was from 1982, and when TIAA's too-much-time-on-their-hands customers wrote us bitchy letters about not getting higher annuity payments for being men, I'd copy/paste the reference to explain why we had to use sex neutral mortality tables though if they went out in the retail annuity market they could get better rates.

Also, I got to explain Jensen's inequality a lot. Writing letters to TIAA customers was awesome.
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  #69  
Old 10-05-2014, 10:17 PM
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Here is a quick summary based on my recollection:

Manhart was the original decision from 1977(?) outlawing pension reduction for women in state pensions.

Norris (1983? 4?) upheld Manhart, but restricted its application significantly. Interestingly, TIAA had been involved with appellate court decisions that had been on both sides (but in different districts). This made Norris's 5-4 nature even more significant.
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Old 10-05-2014, 10:44 PM
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Yeah, checking up on it, it was Norris.

There were some subsequent actions, but that had mostly to do with retroactive changes
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